31 Days Of Horror: The Uninvited

10 Years of FearOne of my favourite haunted house movies is the 1944 horror The Uninvited.

Ray Milland and his sister Ruth Hussey are on holiday by the English coast. Their little dog runs into an old abandoned house. A grand house that despite being vacant still looks pretty good to them. They inquire in town and find out that the house is for sale. They buy it from the owner, a retired colonel. The colonel’s granddaughter Gail Russell is upset that the house has been sold but she begins a relationship with Milland. Milland has some things to do in the city before moving out to the country. Hussey stays to get the house ready.

When Milland comes back and stays the first night he’s awoken by the sounds of a woman crying. Hussey has been hearing it too. On top of that the artist room on the second floor is unnaturally cold.

Milland begins to suspect that the house might be haunted. When he inquires he finds out that Russell’s mother died from the falling off of the cliffs near the house. When Russell comes over for supper she feels a presence that she assumes is her mother. She suddenly makes a run for the cliff but doesn’t recall doing it. With the help of the local town doctor they decide to hold a seance hoping to convince Russel to stay away from the house. Then things start to get really interesting.

The Uninvited was one of the first horror movies to treat ghosts as real and scary things not just for comedy or a ruse. The movie is very atmospheric and creepy. I wrote about the first year of 31 Days of Horror. In it I mention that it wasn’t available on home video at that time. That has since changed as the Criterion Collection has released the film on blu-ray.