I remember catching the eerie little chiller ‘House of Mystery’ many years ago on television, and being very creeped out by it by the very end. With a short running time that crams in a lot of plot and a few surprises, it’s a memorable addition to the ‘cosy old house at a bargain price’ genre.
After finding the home of their dreams in the country, a pair of newlyweds (Ronald Hines and Colette Wilde) are told by the mysterious housekeeper, stories of haunting’s and tragedy that occurred to the home’s previous owners.
While it’s a rather talky supernatural tale, ‘House of Mystery’ does become increasingly tense, and leads to a pretty surprising conclusion that can send genuine shivers up the spine in the films dying seconds.
The excellent cast consists of various familiar British faces of the Sixties. Real-life husband and wife Peter Dyneley and Jane Hylton, as well as Nanette Newman and Maurice Kaufmann, play previous occupants in the creepy flashback sequences, while little-known Ronald Hines and Colette Wilde appear in the present day as the young couple who are at first unfazed by the home’s haunted history. The film is very well lit by Ernest Steward (photographer of many ‘Carry-On’ movies), and is expertly directed by master mystery director Vernon Sewell.
The movie makes good use of various modern appliances such as television sets and telephones, which play an important part in the story, as does the clever use of shadows and close-ups of specific characters. Some may find the final scene fairly predictable, but I remember it blowing me away on my first viewing.
Throwing in clairvoyants, scheming relatives and vengeful husbands, ‘House of Mystery’ can become a bit complicated, especially with the amount of scientific chit-chat in the script. But with its cleverly worked out plot and air of genuine unease throughout, it’s a gem of a supernatural tale that can stay with you long after the TV is switched off!