Details from IMDB:
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Physicist Lionel Barrett and his wife lead a team of mediums into the Belasco House, which is supposedly haunted by the victims of its late owner, a six-foot-five serial killer.
I am sometimes in the mood for older movies and as I enjoyed the book Hell House by Richard Matheson (and he wrote the screenplay for this) I decided to give it a try.
This is an unusual movie. There is no preamble, no introducing characters or setting, the story just starts and soon enough they are at Belasco house (Hell House) to determine if there really is life after death. It’s a weird thing, when I read the book I found the beginning was too slow but this movie just goes way to fast. A lot of the interesting/creepy/scary details and scenes are just skipped over. I know this film is considered a classic but I just don’t see it. The book was controversial at the time (for good reason, the rape scene and a few other scenes are disturbing) and with the movie all of really scary stuff has been taken out.
The acting is good and there are some parts I enjoyed but overall I just found myself bored and wishing this had been done with an R rating in more recent years. With good special effects, good acting and a willingness to put in everything in the book I think this could be a great film but this one just seems like rushed effort for those involved to make some money.
If you’ve never read the book and would like to see some (by modern day standards) very tame horror, then maybe this is for you. I can only give it a 6.5 out of 10 though, I hope it is remade and someone does Matheson’s story right. Yes I know he wrote the screenplay for this movie but I’m certain he was constrained by the movie studio/budget/special effects at the time. In terms of age, while I don’t think little kids should watch this, ages 14+ is fine.