Director: Jacques Tourneur
Date released: 1957
Written by: Charles Bennett, Hal E. Chester
Starring: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins
Like… I get it. A horror film about an alleged demonic haunting, with some rational sceptic psychologists. It’s what I call a “test film”, in which some generic archetype personifies or embodies a particular idea or concept and is then paired with another, to experiment with their responses or reactions to the premise or gimmick. It’s fine, but it’s also boring. The characters in these things almost always end up being broad strokes with no real, believable personality. It’s story by numbers and it brings out my snob. It’s also deceptively simple, which means that the attentive viewer can see straight through the facade. What doesn’t help is the restrictions of the time, particularly of censorship and decency, which prohibits the relationship at the heart of the plot to ever develop into something interesting. So what we’ve got here is a horror that isn’t scary or focused on its own premise, a love story that isn’t convincing and a narrative that’s beginner level. I appreciate that all of these opinions may be retrospective of something contemporary but that’s art and culture.