HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983) Reviews and Blu-ray release news

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House of the Long Shadows will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Fabulous Films on March 28th 2022. Special features:

Audio Commentary by Director Pete Walker and Derek Pykett
Pete Walker’s House of Horror House of the Long Shadows….revisited
Photo Gallery
Double-Sided poster with all-new Graham Humphreys artwork

Meanwhile, here is our previous coverage of the movie:

‘Room for every nightmare… A nightmare in every room’

House of the Long Shadows is a 1983 British comedic horror film directed by Pete Walker (The Comeback; Schizo; House of Mortal Sin; Frightmare; House of Whipcord; Die Screaming Marianne) and produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus for their Cannon Group.

The film is notable because four iconic horror film stars, Vincent PriceChristopher LeePeter Cushing and John Carradine are together in one feature. The screenplay by Michael Armstrong (ScreamtimeThe Black PantherMark of the Devil) is based on the 1913 novel Seven Keys to Baldpate by Earl Derr Biggers.


Kenneth Magee, a young American writer, bets $20,000 that he can write a Wuthering Heights-style novel in twenty-four hours. To get in the mood for the undertaking, he goes to a deserted Welsh manor house.

Upon his arrival, however, Magee discovers that the manor is not as empty as he was told. Lord Grisbane and his daughter, Victoria, still reside there and have been maintaining the mansion on their own.

As the stormy night progresses, more people come to the mansion, including Lord Grisbane’s sons Lionel and Sebastian, Magee’s publisher’s secretary, Mary Norton, and Corrigan, a potential buyer of the property.

After much coaxing, the Grisbanes reveal that they are here to release their brother, Roderick, who was imprisoned in his room for forty years because he seduced a village girl when he was fourteen and killed her when he found out she was pregnant. When they go to release him, they find the room empty and conclude that he broke out recently by breaking the bars in front of the window…


“Until 10 minutes from the end, House of the Long Shadows is a fantastic film – and not just because of the awesome cast. Unfortunately, the ludicrous ending, followed by another ending, followed by another one, ruin the previous 90 minutes utterly.” British Horror Films

“Director Walker, probably England’s most recognized exploitation filmmaker, delivers his most toned-down picture in terms of pure sensationalism and onscreen gore (though the film does deliver several gruesome – albeit PG level – moments) but his style properly fits the ghastly candlelit uncoverings of decades-old betrayal…” DVD Drive-In

“The set-up is sort of hokey, and Arnaz is playing it like he’s in a completely different, and much more shouty, movie, but it’s a really fun premise and features some great, whodunit-style murders, especially once a vacationing English couple show up as well. You probably know the outcome early on, but it’s fun watching it get there.” Nerdist

” …major surprise, and disappointment, is that the film should waste these Grand Old Icons on an entirely superfluous remake of Seven keys to Baldpate […] “Armstrong and Walker display an appalling contempt for the audience.” Kim Newman, Monthly Film Bulletin

” … Michael Armstrong fashioned a script of wit and substance, playing with ideas about genre, performance and dramatic truth, much as Shaughnessy had done in The Flesh and Blood Show. It was a fitting elegy for both a version of Gothic melodrama that faded away in the 1970s and for Walker’s own career as an astringent genre revisionist.” Steve Chibnall, British Horror Cinema

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“The plot is utterly trite and was recycled from a 100 plus-year-old English stage production. Walker never manages to get his picture in stride and as a result, the tone is constantly changing from a mystery or thriller to some sort of half-assed tongue in cheek comedy. The ending is a dreadful cop-out…” Rare Horror

“Some of the staging in the last reel is luridly effective and the stars essay their respective roles with gusto, but none of this is compensation for the fact that the story is a con trick which held considerable appeal for audiences in 1913 but was felt to be arcane and annoying by the more sophisticated filmgoers of 1983.” Denis Meikle, Merchant of Menace: The Life and Films of Vincent Price

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Shadows is horrendously slow, marred further by shoddy production values. …and the horror greats are sadly wasted with inadequately scripted parts.” Video Movies

“… In Long Shadows the ‘fearsome foursome’ all get short-changed – as did audiences. The reviewers saved their sharpest knives for Desi Arnaz, Jr., who doesn’t give the impression here that he’s capable of reading (much less writing) a book in 24 hours.” Tom Weaver, John Carradine: The Films

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Choice dialogue:

Lionel Grisbane [Vincent Price]: “Like all of us, locked in the past forever.”

Lionel Grisbane [Vincent Price]: “Don’t interrupt me while I’m soliloquizing.”

Cast and characters:

Vincent Price … Lionel Grisbane
Christopher Lee … Corrigan/Roderick Grisbane
Peter Cushing … Sebastian Grisbane
Desi Arnaz, Jr. … Kenneth Magee
John Carradine … Lord Elijah Grisbane
Sheila Keith … Victoria Grisbane (Doctor Terrible’s House of Horrible; The Comeback; House of Mortal Sin; House of Whipcord; Frightmare)
Julie Peasgood … Mary Norton (The Snarling)
Richard Todd … Sam Allyson (Asylum; Dorian Gray)
Louise English … Diane Caulder
Richard Hunter … Andrew Caulder
Norman Rossington … Station Master (Frankenstein: The True Story; Death Line)

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Filming locations:

Rotherfield Park, East Tisted, East Hampshire, England

Filming dates:

9th August 1982 – September 1982

Technical details:

1 hour 40 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1


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