The Legend of Hell House (1973)

The Legend of Hell House poster

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
 Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt
Directed by: John Hough

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Adapted from the book Hell House by the original author Richard Matheson.  Three experts are hired to either prove or disprove the possibility of survival after death by doing experiments in a notorious haunted house.  They include physicist Dr. Barrett (Clive Revill) and his wife (Gayle Hunnicutt), young psychic Florence Tanner (Pamela Frankin) and the only surviving member of a previous investigation into the house, Benjamin Fischer (Roddy McDowell.)  The team soon realizes they may have underestimated their ability to cope with the evil in house itself.

Bad Kitty: It seems every haunted house needs a black cat to somehow participate, usually as a means to attack someone, and this movie lives up to the cliché.  Twice when we are shown an establishing shot of the house we see a black cat sitting outside and walking along a wall.

The Legend of Hell House black cat outside

The Legend of Hell House black cat outside walking on wall

The cat moves indoors when Florence is suddenly attacked by the animal one night in her room.  It’s never fully explained what the cat is doing in the house or why it is being used as an instrument of violence by the powers within.

The Legend of Hell House black cat screams

Kitty Carnage Warning! At a later point Florence hears a shower running and goes to investigate.  She sees a silhouette of what looks like a woman behind the glass door but blood is running out from underneath.  When she opens the door the shower is empty except for the black cat, which is lying dead in a pool of blood on the tiles.

The Legend of Hell House black cat dead in shower

And as if the team needed final evidence of survival after death, the cat is once again seen outside the house at the end of the film!

The Legend of Hell House black cat outside house again

Final Mewsings: Cats are the ultimate survivalists.

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