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The Legend Of Hell House (1973)

This classic British haunted-house-and-horror movie has a lot in common with The Haunting, which preceded it by a decade. Both movies feature groups of paranormal investigators who take up quarters in an old mansion where disturbing deaths have occurred, and ghosts are reputed to roam. In addition, both feature protagonists who are haunted at least as much by sexual frustration as they are by the spirits of the dead.

However, in Hell House, many of the the supernatural manifestations are more theatrical than in the earlier movie, which largely avoided explicitness in favor of reproducing the dark psychological ambiguities of the Shirley Jackson novel (The Haunting Of Hill House) on which it was based. For instance, in the Hell House scene excerpted here, poltergeists completely trash a dining room after two of the ghost hunters get into an argument.

Of additional interest in The Legend of Hell House is that two of the investigators are “mediums;” in fact, one is a Spiritualist medium, for whom contacting the spirits of the dead constitutes a religious experience.

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