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The House That Would Not Die (1970)

Not Rated | | Horror | TV Movie 27 October 1970
A woman and her niece move into an ancestral house in the Amish countryside haunted by two ghosts from the Revolutionary War.

Writers:

Henry Farrell, Barbara Michaels (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Ruth Bennett
Richard Egan ... Pat McDougal
Michael Anderson Jr. ... Stan Whitman
Kitty Winn ... Sara Dunning (as Katherine Winn)
Doreen Lang Doreen Lang ... Sylvia Wall
Mabel Albertson ... Mrs. McDougal
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Storyline

This movie centers on Ruth Bennett and her niece Sara Dunning. They move into the house of Ruth's recently deceased aunt and shortly thereafter they learn the house is possessed by two ghosts of the original owners who were from the time of the Revolutionary War. Shortly after arriving Ruth discovers a family Bible hidden in a secret compartment of a roll top desk. Contained within is the name of the original owner which includes the name of his deceased wife and also a name that has been crossed out in ink. As the movie progresses we learn the identity of this person and the reason for it being obliterated through the possession of niece Sara and Pat McDougal. Written by Kelly E.F. Wiebe <senhue@mts.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Geisterhaus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The German poster features an image of Jessica Harper from Suspiria (1977). See more »

Goofs

A boom mic is briefly visible on the windshield of Richard Egan's car when he meets Barbara Stanwyck and Michael Anderson Jr. outside the Hall of Records. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Biography: Barbara Stanwyck: Straight Down the Line (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Never Fear, Babs is Here!
26 January 2013 | by PutzbergerSee all my reviews

As any fan of classic film and cheeseball TV knows, Barbara Stanwyck was one durable dame. The woman who conquered the corporate world in 1933's "Baby Face" and blasted gun-toting outlaws on "The Big Valley" is more than a match for the wind machines and bad actors who challenge her in this cheapo 1970 made-for, which is why it's ultimately not that scary or suspenseful. It's also hampered by a cobwebbed ghost story plot -- a maiden aunt and her dewy young niece move into an old house only to learn (oh no!) that it's haunted. Still, it's always fun to hang out with Babs, so "The House that Wouldn't Die" isn't a complete waste of time. It's like decaffeinated coffee, a short, mild indulgence that won't keep you awake at night.

Miss Stanwyck plays Ruth, a career Washington bureaucrat who takes a sabbatical (Civil Service rules must have been a lot more relaxed during the Nixon administration) and moves to a late distant relative's house near where her fluttery niece Sarah, played by Kitty Wynn, plans to attend college. If Stanwyck is above this sort of downmarket Gothic, Wynn is perfect for it since she seems born to play wide-eyed, helpless young ingénues -- the only time her voice rises above a quivering whisper is when she screams, which she does enough to wake the dead. The dead, however, don't seem to appreciate the intrusion so they start possessing various characters and making them act homicidal. Having apparently exhausted the budget on Babs' salary and nifty wardrobe (the cranberry pantsuit she dons toward the end of the flick is particularly chic), the producers could only afford a single special effect -- a megawatt wind machine which gets switched onto high every time one of the undead makes an appearance. This motif is a bit too indicative, but it's also the only way you'll know that Richard Egan, who plays Babs' romantic interest, has transformed from gentlemanly anthropology professor next door to malevolent spirit. His facial expression doesn't change otherwise. Rounding out this intrepid quartet is someone named Michael Anderson Jr. as Professor Egan's swishy grad student and Kitty's chaste love interest. The movie could be unwatchably dull but isn't, thanks to Babs' stalwart presence. However, it could be atmospherically creepy but isn't, thanks to Egan's granite stiffness and a script that sounds like it was penned by the "Scooby Doo" staff during a prime time writers' strike ("try and open up this old writing desk . . . these things are usually crammed with old letters and papers" declares Babs, perhaps unaware that she's channeling Velma Dinkley). Still, Miss Barbara Stanwyck offers a primer on how to maintain your dignity during the twilight of your career. Someone should have forced Bette Davis to watch this movie.


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