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  • 11 Post By Buboven
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  #1  
Old 5th September 2015, 12:20 AM
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Default House That Screamed, The aka La Residencia (1969)

The House That Screamed aka La Residencia




After previously watching Who Can Kill A Child, I thought I had already seen Serrador's masterpiece. After watching this I immediately changed my mind. This most definitely is his masterpiece.

Arguably its 19th century boarding school - almost acting as a antiquated version of the camps and sorority houses that 80ís American slashers would use as their prime location - helmed by cruel headmistress Miss. Fourneau, is its dominant character. It both reflects Franco's conservative and oppressive regime, which the film was made under, and how suppressed desires will eventually manifest themselves. In the end the only way the girls can escape is through a violent death.

As Fourneau, Lilli Palmer gives a suitably strong and domineering performance that holds the viewers attention. Fortunately her fellow actresses, particurlarly Mary Maude as head girl Irene, support her well. Clever writing from Serrador allows them to project engaging and 3-dimensional characters who we feel for.

Due to his direction and a truly eerie score by Waldo de los Rio an increasing sense of dread, as we become aware of the sadistic nature of the schools grip, permeates the film. As we see in one scene even the headmistress canít suppress her desires, much less her curious but suffocated son; their maternal relationship being one of the films most perverse elements. Due to this pervasive atmosphere the murder scenes are all the more effective. Using techniques such as lap dissolves, Serrador crafts moments of striking violence. Yet, they are as subtle in their imagery as they are captivating and unsettling. Throughout, the use of widescreen cinematography and convincing period detail helps to maintain this atmospheric tone through to the films satisfying, if somewhat predictable ending. Yet, arguably, the ending very simply and quite powerfully communicates the perverse, tragic and often inhumane consequences obedience to a dictatorial entity like fascism breeds.

Despite being much more of a cult than classic horror film it ultimately has the best traits of the genres most acclaimed examples. It can be described as a gothic horror film while well deserving a place in the context of the slasher/giallo sub-genre - neatly fitting in between such films as Pyscho (1960), Mario Bava's early giallo's and Black Christmas (1974).

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Old 5th September 2015, 10:37 AM
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Awesome review, Bub!

I can't say I've seen this film before, but I'll definitely will have to check it out now. It sounds like something that would be perfect for Shameless too.
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Old 5th September 2015, 10:44 AM
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Fantastic analysis of a criminally under-seen gem, Bub!

I've also wanted a quality DVD of this one since I first watched the film several years ago.
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Old 5th September 2015, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs View Post
Fantastic analysis of a criminally under-seen gem, Bub!

I've also wanted a quality DVD of this one since I first watched the film several years ago.
Thx guys, this film is crying out for a James White restoration at Arrow.
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Old 5th September 2015, 02:25 PM
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Nice review, and I also rate highly this movie, but can't say I prefer it to Child, that's the Citizen Kane of spanish horror for me.
But I guess a nice presentation of it could change my perception, it's happened in the past.
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Old 5th September 2015, 05:31 PM
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Nice review, and I also rate highly this movie, but can't say I prefer it to Child, that's the Citizen Kane of spanish horror for me.
But I guess a nice presentation of it could change my perception, it's happened in the past.
That is a brilliant film swell. I have said it before on Arrow's Facebook page, an Arrow release of both films in a special edition boxset would be amazing, but I don't see it happening.
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Old 5th September 2015, 09:24 PM
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Apart from Franco, spanish horror hasn't been getting much love on BD
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Old 6th September 2015, 09:24 AM
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Apart from Franco, spanish horror hasn't been getting much love on BD
Recently, the [REC] films, The Orphanage, Julia's Eyes, The Skin I Live In and those by Guillermo del Toro have more than remedied that. Even The Others (2001) and Mama are classified as Spanish horror films, being a Spanish-American and Canadian-Spanish productions, respectively.

However, there are quite a few from the 1960s and '70s, particularly the Blind Dead series, which are long overdue high definition releases.
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Old 7th September 2015, 01:40 PM
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Great review Bub!

SOLD!!
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