This is a 1932 classic, directed by James Whale, the man behind the lens of Frankenstein. As it’s 1932, it’s very pre-Code and I adore pre-Code films. Here we have the luminous Gloria Stuart changing clothes, a pre-Code staple scene, and some decidedly sketchy characters who get happy endings, which won’t be allowed when Will Hays comes in and ruins everything.
Speaking of sketchy characters, Karloff shows up as one of the more menacing roles in his filmography, a drunk, mute butler.
On the whole, this is less a horror film than a…well, it’s hard to categorize. It’s a travels take shelter in a creepy house story, a forbearer of Rocky Horror Picture Show, example. While the going’s on are much less extreme than RHPS, the basic premise is and remains to this day, the same. What’s really going on in the creepy house? Who really lives there? Who will make it through the night?
It’s stylish, it’s beautifully framed, and I’m sucker for 30s gowns so I’m here for it.