The Old Dark House 1932


The Old Dark House 1932


Directed by James Whale who made Frankenstein the year before, this gem of a film manages to be creepy, funny, quirky and gothic all at once!




Starring: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton

Directed by: James Whale

Ratings: Internet Movie Data Base; 7.3/10 …Rotten Tomatoes; 100%

Our Rating; 8.5/10

Available from: Amazon and eBay







s-l225The Old Dark House 1932. Beginning with a furious storm which is almost the entire backdrop to the movie, three friends are attempting to drive through it to find some safe shelter.

They eventually stumble upon the “Femm” family home and are reluctantly let in but abruptly told that they cannot have beds for the night.


As they dry themselves by the fire they are shown some degree of welcome by elderly siblings, Horace and Rebecca Femm. Along with their alcoholic, mute butler, Morgan (Boris Karloff). It’s Morgan who initially opened the door to the unfortunate lot and who mumbles something at them which screams Twin Peaks!  

Horace (Ernest Thesiger) is immediately worried when he learns they may be holed up in their own house because the road outside has been blocked off. He’s mocked by his sister who also starts to condemn her new female guest for being so young and attractive.


Karloff Goes on a Bender!


The Old Dark House 1932

Boris Karloff as Morgan the butler

They sit down to dinner as two more desperate travellers come knocking at the door. William Porterhouse (Charles Laughton) and his lady companion are bought in and shown the same kind of unwilling welcome as the others.

The guests are soon getting to know one another when it’s announced that their menacing looking butler, Morgan is at the bottle again. And quite drunk.


In the meantime it’s explained that the father, Roderick Femm (played by a woman!) is upstairs, an invalid. So too is the family’s most shameful secret…their brother Saul. Locked up like a prisoner, it’s his potential escape that holds the family in a state of constant dread.

An escape which is imminent now that Morgan is determined to release him!




…An excellent yet lesser-known classic from Universal which has a brilliant and unforgettable cast of characters played expertly by all. Thesiger is an absolute genius as always, as is Laughton and Eva Moore (Rebecca Femm). 

Special mention from me goes to Brember Wills (Saul) as the mad brother who is downright compelling as a cunning, maniacal psychotic.

The film’s gothic atmosphere is magnificent and gives you a sense of being trapped within the house yourself… One to watch on a cold, wet, windy night!





Have you seen The Old Dark House 1932? If not, it comes highly recommended as a hugely entertaining and influential masterpiece of the period. Feel free to leave your opinion or comments in the space below.



Available Here From Amazon and eBay




  • Carlton Gonder says:

    Hi Jamie,

    Very good review of a very old movie,also great illustrations. I also like being able to see preview of it before purchasing it.I have never seen this one before this review, after this I’m going to look around on Amazon and Ebay to purchase it.

    Yours Truly,

    • admin says:

      Thanks a lot Carlton! I personally, highly recommend The Old Dark House! It has an irresistible charm to it and cool gothic atmosphere. Totally love this film! Definitely check it out!

      All the best, Jamie.

  • Neil says:

    I remember watching the old dark house once with my grandparents as a youngster, and it’s a great movie from what I remember 🙂

    Great review and clip of the movie, and has certainly brought back some good memories 🙂

    I will definitely invest in to the old dark house as a christmas gift to myself!


    • admin says:

      Wow that’s cool. It would have been a film from your grandparents’ generation maybe? Yep, fantastic film! A personal favorite! Hope you do yourself that favor and grab a copy Neil.

      Thanks for your visit! Jamie

  • John says:

    I love the effects on this site and the quality of your post here. I really brings me into the atmosphere of the genre. Did you design this site yourself. It’s awesome. Thanks for reviewing these stories. I’m gong to have to come back here more often for my horror movie fix!

    And the little video is a great touch. What would would you say is your favorite classic movie or storyline of this type?

    • admin says:

      I appreciate that positive feedback John, thank you! My site design is actually a WordPress theme called “Haunted”. One day I’d like to put some music to it…or maybe some wolves howling or thunder/lightening effects etc. Thanks for checking out The Old Dark House! This is one of the greatest films of the classic genre, for sure!

      My favorite classic horror would be Dracula 1931 but so many are right behind it! Some great classic films with excellent storylines would be…The Most Dangerous Game, Island of Lost Souls, The Flesh and the Fiends, Jekyll and Hyde, White Zombie…just to name a few!


  • Brandy says:

    Awesome review. I also appreciate the video clip.

    I am a die-hard horror fan, classic to new-school. I am definitely going to book mark your site!

    I think I definitely am going to look in The Old Dark House. I love all things Boris Karloff! Thanks for this! It made my night!

    • admin says:

      That’s great to hear that you liked the review Brandy. Thanks for commenting!

      The Old Dark House comes highly recommended! It’s such a special classic horror. The characters are terrific. And the Gothic atmosphere of the house just brilliant. I think you’ll be hooked as soon as you hear Karloff utter his first lines as he answers the front door…

      Hope you get to watch soon! All the very best Brandy.


  • Cherilyn says:

    I have been watching horror movies since I was 2 years old, yep I started young lol! though I like some of the modern horror movies, classic ones will always be my favourite.

    I am constantly searching around online for new things to watch or older ones that I may have missed and I have never found this one anywhere, this is the first time I’ve known about it!

    I am definitely going to sit down and give this movie a go tonight, it sounds pretty good to me :)!

    • admin says:

      Hey Cherilyn! Great to meet you! …Wow you really did start young hehehe! I think I would have been simply too frightened at that age!

      I cannot recommend The Old Dark House highly enough especially of you’re a big fan of the classics! it took me a while to get around to watching it too but it’s become one of my all – time favorite’s! Great acting and just a really enjoyable, iconic film!

      I’m positive you’ll love it!! 🙂

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