Ahh, another fun foreign horror movie that has been dubbed to English. Now this is an interesting one because I have seen this movie years ago, only it was part of Elvira’s Movie Macabre. Now while I know that I have seen it, I honestly don’t remember much of the movie so this will be kind of like watching it for the first time. So now that I have the opportunity to do so, let’s see exactly what this movie has to offer as I watch The House That Screamed.
The plot: In 19th century France, Pedro Baldie takes his granddaughter Teresa to be enrolled in a boarding school for troubled girls. At the school, Headmistress Fourneau is teaching a class when one of the students refuses to do her work and so Fourneau has the girl escorted to an isolation room. When Pedro and Teresa arrive, Fourneau meets them and starts to show them around but as the head through the rooms, Teresa notices someone trying to watch them. As Fourneau continues their tour, she has Teresa wait in the dining room and have some tea while she gets some information from Pedro concerning Teresa’s parents and she discusses with him the details about her school and how she runs it. Meanwhile, Teresa is sitting and having tea when she notices the far door opening but when she goes to inspect it, she is distracted by the maid and sits back down. That night after dinner, the girls head up to the dormitory but Fourneau calls three of the girls to come with her. When they leave, the other girls swarm around Teresa to ask her questions and go through her luggage and clothes. Meanwhile, Fourneau takes the three girls with her to the solitary room, where she offers Katherene, the troublemaker, a chance to apologize but when she refuses, Fourneau orders the girls to strip Katherene and she is beaten across the back, and after dismissing the girls, Fourneau tends to her wounds and says that it is her own fault. She then leaves and heads to another room, where she chastises her son Luis for following Teresa all day and says he needs to stay away from the girls, as none of them are good enough for him. The next day, Teresa is told to help make the beds by Irene, the head girl, and she learns about some of what goes on at the school. Meanwhile, after the music/dance class, one of the girls, Isabelle, sneaks away and heads up to an unused room to meet with Luis. Later during the day, Teresa is pulled from class to see Fourneau but instead finds Irene waiting for her, who tells Teresa that she can make things easier or more difficult for her. That night, as the girls get ready for bed, Isabelle finds a note from Luis and a set of keys, telling her to meet him that night. Isabelle sneaks out of the house and heads to meet with Luis but she ends up being killed. The next morning, Fourneau is furious about Isabelle being gone, with everyone thinking she ran away. Fourneau sends her assistant to get a locksmith to change the locks while she escorts the girls to take their showers. Luis sneaks into the boiler room to spy on the girls but he ends up being trapped in his tunnel and ends up calling out for Teresa, who was the last girl in the shower, to help him. Some time later, Irene calls Teresa and tells her that she knows she has been secretly seeing Luis and threatens to tell Fourneau unless she meets with her that night. Later during their sewing class, the woodcutter arrives with the supply of fire wood and the head girl, who organizes and arranges for girls to sneak down and meet with the man, sends one of the girls to meet with him, with the girl using the pretense of checking on some food and the greenhouse for class as her excuse. Later, Fourneau chastises Luis for being out in the yard while the girls were in music class and says she knows he meets with one of the girls but doesn’t know which one but she will find out. That afternoon, Teresa heads to meet with Irene, and she is led down to a secret room, where Irene manipulates and mentally tortures Teresa into performing a cabaret act. After dinner, when the girls go to bed, Teresa sneaks out of the dorm and heads to see Luis, telling him that she is leaving but wanted to say goodbye to him. She then tries to open a window to sneak out but ends up being caught and killed by someone. Irene, who had gone looking for Teresa, finds the pillow case that Teresa had dropped when she snuck out of the dorm and when she heads inside the house and checks the dining room, she finds a wet patch on the floor where someone had recently cleaned the floor. Irene goes to tell Fourneau about Teresa’s disappearance and when they are alone, she questions what is going on as 5 girls have now gone missing in the last 4 months. When Fourneau chooses not to do or say anything, Irene decides to leave the school that night, getting her friends to help her get her things ready. That night, Fourneau summons Irene to her room but she uses the opportunity to try and escape from the house but her planned route is sealed so she tries to find another. Hearing the movement around the place, Fourneau goes looking for Irene and finds her slumped in a corner but when she checks on her, she finds that she is dead and her hand is cut off. Hearing a door creaking, Fourneau heads to the a room and finds Luis there and discovers that he has been killing the girls and using their body parts to build himself the perfect girl in his own image. Fourneau is horrified to see what Luis has done and screams out as Luis locks her in the room so she can get to know her “future daughter-in-law”.
This was a pretty confusing movie and I think a lot of that is due to the cuts and edits made to the movie. The acting was ok, but the dubbing was pretty atrocious at times, with sometimes words being spoken though the people’s mouths weren’t moving. The story was interesting, kind of stealing a little bit from Frankenstein for the end reveal, though you never really know what is going on. The edits in the film were really weird, as stuff would be hinted at but you never really see it occurring, such as Teresa helping Luis get free and spending time with him but you never see that, as it goes from Teresa hearing Luis’ voice in the shower to Irene confronting her weeks later. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and while Teresa’s death was done pretty well, with the knife slitting her throat as the scene freezes, Isabelle’s death wasn’t that good, as the camera kept shaking as if to imitate her struggling while the scene would switch between her being killed and the nearby bushes with random blood drops falling on them. Yeh, it’s a mess of a movie and honestly a little disappointing because it had potential to be a lot better.
Rating: 2 out of 5