Superficial Movies – The Legend of Hell House


“Drug addiction, alcoholism, sadism, beastiality, mutilation, murder, vampirism, necrophilia, cannibalism, not to mention a gamut of sexual goodies. Shall I go on?”

Emeric Belasco had one hell of a party. It was the twenties so the lasciviousness probably involved women jumping out of cakes before the necrophilia. Belasco built a house to contain this experiment in debauchery. They had fun from 1918 till the late twenties when someone called the cops about the noise and it was discovered all the guests were dead and Belasco himself was missing. Now the mansion nicknamed Hell House has a reputation as “The Mount Everest of Haunted Houses.”

This is where the eccentric old millionaire Deutsch comes in. he’s offering 100,000 pounds to spend a week in Hell House and bring back proof of life after death. Deutsch has no idea that you can hire plumbers for this kind of job now. If TAPS isn’t available there’s no shortage of hunky TV hosts that will take off their shirts and investigate ghosts. Instead he hires a scientist who brings in renowned psychics one of them being a survivor of the disastrous 1953 expedition.

The house itself is what works in this movie. It’s dark and claustrophobic with lots of neat details built in. HH Holmes built himself a funhouse of death just like this in Chicago. The only difference is that Emeric Belasco decided he’d keep on having fun after he was dead. So they lock up the minimal cast and set up the age old argument is it scientific or is it a haunting. One of the psychics, the repressed Ann, gets over stimulated, and starts going the Devil in Miss Jones while the others succumb in their own way to the atmosphere of the house with the exception of Fischer (Roddy McDowell) who’s already nuts and is just there to collect a check.

Furniture and flatware fly about and someone gets possessed and we get more arguments about science vs. spiritualism. Ann just needs to get laid and things just go to hell in general and we get the idea that the Hell House is going to have a few more permanent guests. Yes it’s all a cliché and yes the book had a lot more graphic  description but this is because it’s the one that a lot of other cinematic haunted houses imitated and it was the seventies and you couldn’t put that kind of thing on the screen back then.

Where the Legend of Hell House really succeeds is with a viewer like me that loves to take the suggestion of a movie and think what if. You might find it hard to believe but something on the internet shocked me last week. When I mentioned this online people instantly began asking for the link. Are we that Jaded? It made me think of the Belasco mansion. The place could be opened as a bed and breakfast today and some of the guests would be making the ectoplasmic manifestations go “What the Fuck!”

If Deutsch came to me and offered cash to stay a week in the Belasco mansion I’d know just who to bring.  First would be Jenny and James, J&J need a honeymoon and a week in the Belasco mansion would be just perfect for two horror fans. Jenny would need someone to argue science versus spirituality with so I’d bring Acadia too and if Acadia went then Vange would have to go to keep him from getting locked in the haunted wine cellar without the right gizmo. I’d bring Patrick to help with me with the measuring because he’d think it’s cool to find all of Belasco’s gimmicks and for celebrity guests I’d bring Carrot Top and Lindsay Lohan. Carrot Top because nobody would care if the ghosts ate him and Lindsay because she could make the ectoplasmic manifestations go “What the Fuck?” See you don’t need any plot at all and if Vange plays with the pussy it’s just a big bonus on top of the 19,649.72 USD.

Is it scary? It is for me. There’s no graphic buckets of blood but there’s that niggling idea in the back of your head that it might be possible.

Sangfroid's unabashed use of punctuation and grammar has made him a literary standout on the internet. A rising star in the urban/romance/horror/science fiction/Nancy Drew fiction market, Sangfroid is the talk of the local McDonald's. His dog actually ate the first page of his magnum opus "That Foggy Night" and compared it to other great works like the weekly circular for its absorbent qualities.


  1. Patrick
    October 21, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Yep, have to find all the secrets and show what is behind the smoke and mirrors. It would be fun.. I could play the scientist and all that.. Carrot Top would say.. I’ll be right back, and him and LoHo would sneak off for the typical sex scene in the haunted house thing(it would flip out the ectoplasm!). I need a hat and a pipe and and and a magnifying glass!

  2. sangfroid
    October 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    My plan was for you and I to vanish mysteriously right away and find Belasco’s control room. Once there we could play with everyone’s minds. Especially Acadia, we could jimmy all his science with MAGIC.

    I’ve always thought I should set up a company to create haunted houses in B&B’s and boutique Inns

    • sangfroid
      October 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      We’d probably have to rescue everyone from the haunted wine cellar after they take the ouchie board down there to talk to Belasco’s son.

  3. Acadia
    October 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Stop using me to get to vange!

    • sangfroid
      October 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      Actually if we told Vange she couldn’t go Patrick and I would have much more fun creating Acadia Consternation!

  4. sangfroid
    October 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Wait is your real name Acadia Belasco?

  5. Evangeline
    October 21, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I don’t think I want to go.

  6. sangfroid
    October 22, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Well we’d put you up in the Baroque Suite. Just ignore the naughty peepholes Belasco put in. He’s dead. Really there’s nobody behind there. Oh yeah the carvings of the bed have orgies while you sleep but just ignore that.

  7. captain america
    captain americaReply
    October 22, 2010 at 11:13 am

    this was the united states in year 2004 folks.

  8. sangfroid
    October 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Actually it’s England in 1973 so the Princess of all fun is Margaret Thatcher who will be Prime Minister soon.

  9. Patrick
    October 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Maggie would tear up a place like that.. all while drinking tea and talkin to Ronny on the phone.

  10. sangfroid
    October 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Maggie would push Belasco out of his wheelchair and take over operations!

  11. Elle Diabla
    Elle DiablaReply
    October 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Hmmmm, “Hellhouse” hey? Miiight just have to check that out! Didn’t know they had anything like that on film from back then…

    • sangfroid
      October 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      It’s kind of like a paper bag. They seem ordinary till you realize the first one they came out with must have been amazing. It’s a bag….made out of paper? Wow that’s so astounding. So Belasco’s mansion is a haunted house but wait…’s a house with unexplained events in it? Wow that’s so astounding! Every ghost show and movie haunted house owes a debt to the original.

      Besides there’s a photo of a real orgy from the twenties on here and nobody noticed!

Let us know what you think. Being on-topic is NOT required.