Platform:††DVD MOVIE†Publisher:††ALPHA VIDEO†Packaging:††DVD STYLE BOX†Percival Glyde is murdered in his sleep with a wooden spike that is hammered into his skull. His killer (Tod Slaughter) steals his identity and moves i... more »nto Glyde's London mansion. The family lawyer who has not seen the real Percival since he was a boy informs the madman of Glyde's arranged marriage to the beautiful heiress Laurie Fairlie. Greed and perversion drive this lunatic to the brutal killing of anyone who attempts to unravel his secret identity.Crimes at the Dark House is one of many horror films starring British actor Tod Slaughter (Sweeney Todd The Face at the Window) and directed by George King. Based on a novel by Wilkie Collins this story was adapted a second time for the 1948 Warner Brothers film The Woman In White. Starring: Tod SlaughterDirected by: George KingScreenplay by: Frederick Hayward DVD Details: Run Time: 68 minutesNumber of Discs: 1Originally Released in 1939Black & WhiteNo region encoding; For global distribution.« less
"First of all it's written by one of the great horror writers Wilkie Collins and based on his story "Woman in White". If you've never seen a Slaughter film, Lugosi had nothing on him when it came to ham, over-the-top acting and scenery chewing. He is a madman who kills percival Glyde and then impersonates his victim to take over the estate he had just inherited. he then goes on to terrorize all those around him in a seething role of madness and says things like "I`ll feed you`re entrails to the pigs!"
This is a very atmospheric movie and the overall mood is quite chilling and a bit stifling. Slaughter is really fantastic in his portrayal of the madman. It's a fine, if rather unknown British supporting cast that lends itself to making this movie so good."
Tod Slaughter is the perfect villain
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 01/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though largely forgotten over the course of time, Tod Slaughter was one of cinema's greatest "bad guy" actors, playing the role of the villain to the very hilt. Crimes at the Dark House is a showcase of his talents-the "up to no good" expression, the gleefully evil hand-rubbing, the overt stroking of the mustache, and, best of all, the laugh. Only Vincent Price rivals Slaughter in the deviously evil cackle department. Slaughter enjoyed being the villain, cackling his way from one dastardly deed to another. Maybe he hams it up a little bit, but that was the style of the times. Nobody did it better, and I hope that Slaughter's work will continue to reemerge and be appreciated by today's audiences. Crimes at the Dark House opens with a murder. In the gold territories of Australia, Tod Slaughter's character sneaks into a tent and kills its occupant by driving a tent peg through his head. Going through the man's papers, he discovers that the dead man is Sir Henry Glyde and has just been called home upon the death of his wealthy father. Slaughter's character (we never learn his real name) goes to London and passes himself off as Glyde. To his dismay, he finds out that he has "inherited" a debt rather than a fortune, but his "father" has chosen a wealthy bride for his "son." (His marriage to the unwilling lass doesn't stop him from giving the chambermaid new "duties," of course.) Things are complicated by the fact that the real Sir Glyde married and fathered a child before leaving for Australia two decades earlier, and the fruit of that union has escaped an institution with twenty years of hatred for Glyde built up inside her. Naturally, Glyde's plans begin to unravel, and a string of murders only makes things worse. Even the reliable old "switcheroo" ruse blows up in his face. I liked the plot of this movie, despite its dependence in part on two individuals looking very much like each other. The story, based on Wilkie Collins' 1860 novel The Woman in White, was good enough to be adapted a second time in 1948 as The Woman in White. Even if the story didn't work at all, though, Tod Slaughter's performance would make this film fun to watch; he is the prototypical villain, and it is a pleasure to watch him work."
Tod Slaughter On A Rampage!...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 07/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never seen Tod Slaughter in action, I highly recommend this movie (along w/ the glorious SWEENEY TODD of course!). Slaughter truly lives up to his name, as he drives a stake through a sleeping victim's cranium in the opening scene! He quickly assumes the dead man's identity after learning that he's just inherited an estate! Once he arrives at his new home, our "hero" sets out to live the life of ease and debauchery w/ one of the cute chambermaids. Alas, his life gets complicated, forcing him to kill nearly everyone in sight! Watch as he gleefully strangles, then dumps the bodies of those who dare get in his way! Listen, as he chuckles, chortles, and cackles his way through his horrible crimes! Yes, Tod Slaughter is fun to watch. Buy immediately..."
Tod Slaughter and Delicious Taste of Evil ... and look at th
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`I will feed your entrails to the pigs!' This is one of the memorable lines you can hear in this lurid Victorian melodrama starring Tod Slaughter, whose character as ruthless killer drives a wooded spike into the skull of an unsuspecting gold digger in the Australian field. He impersonates his victim after knowing that the murdered man has inherited a large estate in England. He arrives there as fasle Sir Percival Glyde and look! he now keeps looking at one of the maids with his leering eyes!
All these things above occur in the opening 10 minutes of the film. The story takes unexpected turn at every 10 minutes, and the body counts keep rising. The acting is all hammy, often hilariously so, and the costumes the female characters are wearing sometimes look too modern. Still we enjoy watching this Victorian melodrama.
The film's centerpiece is star Tod Slaughter, who easily grabs our attention with his over-the-top acting as villainous "Glyde." The way touches his beards, or kills his victims so gleefully reminds that he belongs to the era when Bella Lugosi could be a big star in film. And sadly like Lugosi, stars like him were soon to be forgotten after the 40s and 50s.
The film is loosely based on Wilkie Collins famous classic novel `The Woman in White' (1860), but the story (or the point of view) is largely changed so as to give the central place to Tod Slaughter's villain in the film's world. In the book there is a formidable villain named Count Fosco, who is more sinister presence than Glyde, but in the film their relations are reversed. No one can manipulate Tod Slaughter, not even Doctor Fosco (his occupation is changed). Their partnership in crime leads to the fantastic sequences at the end of the film, which comes with one great quip no one but Tod Slaughter can utter with so much wicked humor.
Watch this Victorian melodrama and enjoy the delightfully evil character played by Tod Slaughter. They don't make films like this any more these days."
A chisel in the neck and strangled corpses tossed in the lak
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 10/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Think of a cross between Alan Mowbray and John Barrymore in his last, eyebrow-wagging years and you might have some idea of Tod Slaughter. He was a large, fleshy man with, when he lowered his head, a magnificent double chin. Not a man to hide his hamminess under a cloak of talent, he brought delight to evil with lip-smacking relish in any number of British movies and stage plays. As the false Sir Percival Glyde in Crimes at the Dark House, he brings to mustache-fingering and lascivious chuckling a kind of lovable, horrid fascination. We learn the kind of role Slaughter was noted for when, at the start of Crimes at the Dark House, in the year 1850, he uses a mallet to drive a chisel into the neck of the real Sir Percival, all the while snickering with pleasure.
The movie is based, sort of, on Wilkie Collins' grand old Victorian melodrama, The Woman in White. It races by in just 69 minutes, far too fast for us to be bored. Is the movie as bad as some of the acting? Not at all. In fact, like the book, it's quite a page turner, complete with lethal stratagems, a mad woman roaming the grounds of a lonely mansion, one hidden marriage and an unwelcome one, strangled women and cold cells in an insane asylum. Of course, there is love as well as death, and cleansing retribution comes in the engulfing flames of, what else, a family church.
Above all, there is the great, hammy performance of Tod Slaughter. He chisels to death the real Sir Percival Glyde in the Australian outback, then assumes Sir Percival's identity when he returns to England to his victim's' ancestral home, Blackwater Park. He expects to find an inheritance of great wealth. Instead he finds nothing but mortgages and debt. Ah, but then he learns Sir Percival and the lovely Laura Fairlie long ago had been pledged to marriage...and Laura will have her own riches when she marries. He also learns that Sir Percival may have married a woman before he left years earlier for Australia, a woman who bore a daughter...a daughter who now is mad and confined to an insane asylum...an insane asylum run by the unctuous and unprincipled Dr. Fosco...the same Dr. Fosco who...you get the idea. Laura Fairlie hates the idea of marriage to this portly, maid-groping, leering degenerate. She has discovered real love with her art tutor, a young man with impeccable upper-class enunciation. Yet she does what her guardian and propriety insist. She weds the false Sir Percival and, with her sister Marion, comes to live at Blackwater. It's not long before the mad girl escapes, Sir Percival and Fosco plan a cruel deception, and Sir Percival chortles his way through three more murders. If this sounds like lip-smacking Victorian melodrama, it is. And it's not bad for, as some critics like to say about popular melodrama, what it is.
Crimes at the Dark House is a Tod Slaughter potboiler, but my favorite in the cast is Hay Petrie as Dr. Fosco. He was a very short man and a versatile actor who caught Michael Powell's attention. Petrie played small but notable parts in the Powell/Pressburger movies Contraband, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing, A Canterbury Tale and The Red Shoes. He could give a pungent, memorable performance when it was called for. Just watch him in One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing, Contraband and A Canterbury Tale - Criterion Collection.
If you're interested in just how good a Victorian melodrama The Woman in White can be when adapted with style, you need to watch the fine, multi-part BBC production from 1997. Marion Fairlie is our narrator, and she takes us into a more restrained but just as dangerous, moody and threatening a world. You'll be impressed, I hope, with Marion's (Tara Fitzgerald) bravery and resourcefulness; you'll sigh along with Laura Fairlie's (Justine Waddell) fears and hopes; be impressed with her tutor's (Andrew Lincoln) steadfast love; loathe Sir Percival's (James Wilby) ruthless caddishness; be fascinated by Count Fosco's (Simon Callow) cruel stratagems and be captivated by the hypochondria of the Fairlie sisters' scene-stealing guardian (Ian Richardson).
The DVD transfer of Todd Slaughter's Crimes at the Dark House from the six-movie British Cinema Classic B Film Collection, Vol. 1 (Tread Softly Stranger / The Siege of Sidney Street / The Frightened Man / Crimes at the Dark House / The Hooded Terror / Girl in the News) (with two movies on a disc) looks good. That may not be the case with this movie's other cheap public domain releases, so buyer beware."