Take 3: House of the Long Shadows Review

Vincent Price is an actor who has become as much of a household name as the Michael Jackson song he provided the voice-over for, Thriller. Prior to my involvement in the Vincent Price Blogathon, the only film of Vincent’s I have seen is one that is very different from what he is known for: The Whales of August. Last August (me reviewing The Whales of August in August was not intentional), I reviewed that film for the A Month Without the Code Blogathon. Even though I liked Vincent’s performance in that movie, I found the movie itself to be mundane. So, for this current blogathon, I wanted to watch one of Vincent’s films that contained more horror. When I discovered House of the Long Shadows, I was intrigued by the movie’s synopsis. For those of you who have visited my blog before, you would know I enjoy a good mystery from time to time. Because of this film’s mysterious nature, I had hopes to get, at least, some enjoyment out of this project!

House of the Long Shadows poster
House of the Long Shadows poster created by London-Cannon Films and Cannon. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LongShadows.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Prior to watching House of the Long Shadows, I haven’t seen many of the projects from Desi Arnaz Jr.’s filmography. In fact, I’ve only watched his guest appearances on I Love Lucy and his special appearance on The Brady Bunch. Despite this, I was impressed with his lead performance in the film! His casual yet effortless acting style worked with how the character was written. Desi’s acting abilities fit the role of the protagonist, Kenneth Magee! I also liked Julie Peasgood’s portrayal of Mary Norton! Her expressions and emotions really highlighted the sense of urgency her character was experiencing. A scene where Julie sold me on what Mary was going through is when Mary first comes to the Manor to warn Kenneth of the unseen dangers he will face. Because this blogathon is dedicated to Vincent Price, his performance should not be overlooked. As I said in the introduction, the only other film of his that I’ve seen is The Whales of August. The great thing about House of the Long Shadows is how Vincent is given more material to work with as an actor. This allowed him and his character to have a more commanding presence!

 

The use of music: The music that can be heard in the film’s background does a really good job at keeping the movie’s tone consistent. Throughout Kenneth’s stay at the Manor, scores that sound mysterious, sinister, and even sad are played at various moments of the movie. At times when the tone changes, the music never skips a beat and adapts with the events of the story. A great example is when Kenneth is driving to the train station. When the weather is fair and the sky is sunny, light-hearted music can be heard during Kenneth’s drive. As soon as the skies turn dark and stormy, ominous music takes the place of the previous tune.

 

The element of mystery: For those who haven’t yet seen House of the Long Shadows, I won’t spoil the story. What I will say is the mystery element of the film was well-written! The narrative is presented in a way that allows the audience to solve the mystery alongside Kenneth and Mary. This creates an interactive and shared experience between the characters and the viewers. It also maintains a sense of intrigue throughout the movie. As the story unfolds, it makes the audience wonder what will happen next.

Terrified friends watching horror movie in cinema
Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A limited use of horror: Vincent Price is an actor who is known for starring in horror-esque films. This detail made me believe House of the Long Shadows would be a horror movie. While there are elements of horror to be found, they primarily existed in the film’s second half. The story as a whole placed more emphasis on the element of mystery. This made the movie not as scary as I expected.

 

Diane and Andrew’s subplot: In House of the Long Shadows, there is a subplot involving a young couple named Diane and Andrew. They are in the area of the Manor due to a vacation gone wrong. While watching this movie, I found their subplot to not be integrated in the overall story as well as the other characters’ stories. If anything, it felt like it was there for the sake of being there.

 

The limited use of lighting: I understand the limited use of lighting was adopted to emphasis the atmosphere of the Manor. Where this succeeds on that regard, it also hides the beauty of the Manor itself. One of the most striking features of this location is the grand staircase. It had visually appealing details, such as the gold ornamentations along the iron bars of the stairs. Unfortunately, it was difficult to see this part of the Manor clearly because there was little to no lighting in this space.

Vincent Price Blogathon banner
The Vincent Price Blogathon banner created by Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry from Cinematic Catharsis. Image found at https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/vincent-price-blogathon/

My overall impression:

Vincent Price: a name that is, more often than not, associated with projects featuring ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night. While this has become a part of Vincent’s legacy, it’s important to remember what he offered to the horror genre, as well as the world of film, as an actor. When I watched his performance in House of the Long Shadows, Vincent’s performance reminded me of Bela Lugosi’s performance in the 1931 film, Dracula! Even though both actors are on screen for a certain amount of time, they use their acting abilities to control the camera’s focus and command its undivided attention. As for the film itself, House of the Long Shadows is truly a hidden gem! Despite being different from what I expected, it’s a movie I think fans of mystery, horror and Vincent himself will enjoy! Maybe the final words of this review are nowhere near as memorable as Vincent’s closing monologue in Thriller. But they do have a special place in this post.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Vincent Price’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

15 thoughts on “Take 3: House of the Long Shadows Review

  1. Michael

    Nice review, Sally. There are so many great Vincent Price films. My two favourites have Price in similar roles but the films have very different styles. The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood both have Price out for revenge on those that wronged him using convoluted and absurd plans. They are more fun than horror but Price is wonderfully maniacal in both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome and thanks for letting me join your blogathon! I would definitely recommend this film, as it was intriguing and mysterious. If you do watch this movie, I would love to hear your thoughts on it!

      Like

  2. Pingback: BLOGATHON… Day 2 of the Vincent Price Blogathon has begun – Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

  3. John L Harmon

    You’re absolutely right, house of the Long Shadows is a hidden gem and you do it great Justice and your review! 👍

    I’m not sure if I have a favorite Vincent Price films, but this one is definitely in the top five!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking out my review, John! I chose ‘House of the Long Shadows’ for the blogathon because I had never heard of the movie prior to this year. I hope my review will convince someone to check the film out!

      Like

  4. House of Long Shadows is a grand title for a mysterious tale and your review has piqued my interest.

    I was aware of Vincent’s work outside of the horror genre long before I investigated that side of his career. He’s a smoothie in Laura, a hilarious businessman in Champagne for Caesar, a diabolical Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (1949), and he owns the film-noir His Kind of Woman. He impresses me as a lawyer in Leave Her to Heaven, and in The Song of Bernadette.

    I can’t let Hallowe’en pass without watching Vinnie in House of Wax, and I adore the comic-horror flicks The Raven and The Comedy of Terrors. Perhaps I’ll be adding House of Long Shadows to that autumn routine.

    Like

  5. There’s a neat generational time-stamp for how you discovered Vincent Price if you weren’t old enough to have seen him originally in theaters. There’s Sesame Street, Scooby-Doo, Michael Jackson, or Edward Scissorhands. For me, it was the Brady Bunch. Maybe someday, this blog-a-thon will be on that list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mercurie80

    I was born when Vincent Price was established as a horror star (The Raven and The Haunted Palace were released the year I was born). His guest appearance on Alice Cooper’s album Welcome to My Nightmare came out when I was 12! I was a huge classic film fan even as a kid and I was soon introduced to his non-horror work (I saw first The Ten Commandments when I was 10). Anyway, you’ll definitely want to check out some of his work, including the non-horror stuff like Dragonwyck and Laura! Anyway, you are right. House of the Long Shadows is a hidden gem! It is a great to see three horror legends (Price, Cushing, and Lee) together. I think it works quite well as an entry in the “old dark house” genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your introduction to Vincent Price’s work! As I said in my review, I have seen and reviewed ‘The Whales of August’. It was definitely different from ‘House of the Long Shadows’. I appreciate you sharing your recommendations and will watch them as soon as I can!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s