ANDREW GARVEY reviews The House that Bled to Death, the fifth episode in Hammer House of Horror TV Series
Title: The House that Bled to Death
First televised: October 11th 1980
Director: Tom Clegg
Screenplay: David Lloyd
Starring: Nicholas Ball, Rachel Davies, Brian Croucher, Pat Maynard, Emma Ridley and Milton Johns.
Plot: William, Emma, their adorable daughter Sophie and cat Timmy move into a dilapidated house with a gruesome past. Bought at a bargain price, William plans to renovate the place and sell it on. However, it seems the house has other plans for them.
Where Have I Seen Them Before?
Nicholas Ball starred in late 70s TV crime drama Hazell and appeared in mid-1980s sci-fi/horror film Lifeforce and TV soap Eastenders from 2007 to 2009. Rachel Davies appeared in 1980 Dr. Who story State of Decay, mid-80s TV comedy-drama Boon and in dozens of other TV roles. Brian Croucher appeared in over a hundred episodes of Eastenders in the mid-90s, as well as having science fiction roles in Blake’s 7 and Dr. Who. Pat Maynard has played small roles in TV soaps Coronation Street and Eastenders, Dr. Who and was in acclaimed 1971 BBC miniseries Last of the Mohicans. Emma Ridley’s short, and on nightclubs throughout the 1980s. Milton Johns has had many TV roles and also appeared as an Imperial officer in the Empire Strikes Back. very promising, acting career was eclipsed by her infamous, (and eagerly tabloid-reported) underage drinking and partying in London.
Best line: “It’s our house and it hasn’t done anything to us.”
Review: A lurid warning to all those who dream of buying and renovating a house whose murky, bloody past makes it a bargain, this episode features the series’ most famous scene – a blood-drenched children’s birthday party – using what looks like a few gallons of Hammer’s famously vivid fake blood. There’s also some great jump scares (including the most disturbing set of false teeth you’re likely to have seen in some time), strong use of music and by far the best ending of the series so far. Mostly filmed in an actual house in High Wycombe, there’s a real sense of creepiness to proceedings that’s greatly helped by solid performances all around and a payoff that should make you want to go back and re-watch it. The best yet, without a doubt.