THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969) Reviews and overview

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‘Only the killer knows why and how and who is next!’

The House That Screamed is a 1969 Spanish horror film in which a mysterious murderer is killing young women in a French boarding school. Also known as The Boarding School.

Directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador (Who Can Kill a Child?) from a screenplay he wrote pseudonymously as “Luis Penafiel” based on a story by Juan Tébar.

The movie stars Lili Palmer, Cristina Galbó, John Moulder-Brown, Maribel Martín, Mary Maude and Cándida Losada.

Plot [contains spoilers]:

In a 19th-century French boarding school for ‘troubled’ girls, Headmistress Madame Fourneau (Lili Palmer) forbids her teenage son Luis (John Moulder-Brown) near any of the girls, finding none of them good enough for him. A series of murders begin taking place after the latest arrival of a new student, Therese (Cristina Galbó) and Fourneau’s assistant Irene (Mary Maude).

Fourneau investigates these deaths eventually leading her to the attic where she finds that Luis’ frustrated desires have forced psychotic urges to the surface, compelling him to stalk the hapless girls to acquire body parts in order to create his own “ideal woman”. Luis then locks up his mother with his new creation so that his mother can get acquainted with his future “daughter-in-law”…


“The ending to the film, which easily transforms the movie from thriller territory to full-blown horror, is a little silly in comparison to the powerful and oppressive atmosphere the movie has exuberated so far, but it is still delightfully wicked […] A great movie and highly recommended by yours truly…” At the Mansion of Madness

The House That Screamed is a seminal work that’s inspired surprisingly little critical analysis, or even fanish coverage, at least in the US. Yet its prescient conceit (an unseen slasher in an all-girls boarding school) adumbrates both Suspiria (likewise set in an all-girls boarding school) and a decade of slasher-in-a- sorority films.Communist Vampires

” … excellently captures the oppressive sexual needs of the girls with erotic artsy intercutting.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“Serrador’s take on the subject [girls’ schools] benefits from his expert manipulation of suspense and a hothouse atmosphere of adolescent desire that could be cut with the proverbial knife. It’s an atmosphere that, notwithstanding Serrador’s international aspirations, had obvious significance for Spanish audiences under Franco. Mme Fourneau is a repressive despot who runs the school with military precision…” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic

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“The expert scope photography makes marvelous use of the baroque settings, often filing the girls across the screen with each one’s expression perfectly conveying where she lies in the academic food chain.” Mondo Digital

” …the slaughters are excellently conveyed and the film’s approachable characters and Samson-like-in-strength performances make this something of a cinematic treat. It’s nice to see a movie where every shot has been painstakingly planned to perfection and the net result is a visual masterpiece that excels from start to finish.” A Slash Above…


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Pressbook images courtesy of Zombos’ Closet


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Cast and characters:

Lilli Palmer … Madame Fourneau
Cristina Galbó … Teresa
John Moulder-Brown … Luis
Maribel Martín … Isabelle
Mary Maude … Irene Tupan
Cándida Losada … Desprez
Pauline Challenor … Catalina
Tomás Blanco … Pedro Baldié
Víctor Israel … Brechard
Teresa Hurtado … Andrea
María José Valero … Elena
Conchita Paredes … Susana
Ana María Pol … Claudia
Mari del Carmen Duque … Julia
Paloma Pagés … Cecilia

Filming locations:

Comillas, Cantabria, Spain

Original title:

La Residencia

Technical details:

1 hour 39 minutes
Audio: Mono

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