The Old Dark House 1963 Blu-ray Review – Castle or Hammer?

It’s time to take a look at Powerhouse Films William Castle boxset volume 2 starting off with The Old Dark House (1963). This one’s also a Hammer film which is supposedly a remake of the classic 1932 James Whale film. I say supposedly as the two films have little in common. The script of the original film and this remake are based on the novel J. B. Priestley.

However this Hammer and William Castle collaboration seems to re-write most of the story. But is it any good? Let’s take a closer look, so without further ado here’s my The Old Dark House 1963 blu-ray review.

  • The Old Dark House (1963)
  • Part of the William Castle Volume Two Boxset
  • Genre: Comedy Horror
  • Directed by William Castle
  • UK Rating PG
  • Discs: 1
  • Released By Powerhouse Films aka Indicator
  • Blu-ray Released: 10 December 2018


When American Tom Penderel agrees to deliver a car for his eccentric roommate Casper Femm to an old rundown mansion on Dartmoor he finds it populated by a rather strange bunch of people. Furthermore he soon discovers his friend Casper has died, but how? The Femm’s have all gathered but what do they want from Penderel?

Style / Direction

The film is directed by William Castle with the cinematography handled by Arthur Grant.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is composed by Benjamin Frankel.

Acting / Characters

Tom Poston plays Tom Penderel a rather bewildered soul that finds himself caught up in the Femm’s affairs. To be fair he plays it rather well and most of the cast put in good enough performances with Janette Scott and Fenella Fielding standing out from the women whilst Robert Morley is the pick of the men.


  • Tom Poston as Tom Penderel
  • Robert Morley as Roderick Femm
  • Janette Scott as Cecily Femm
  • Joyce Grenfell as Agatha Femm
  • Mervyn Johns as Potiphar Femm
  • Fenella Fielding as Morgana Femm
  • Peter Bull as Caspar/Jasper Femm
  • Danny Green as Morgan Femm
  • John Harvey as Club Receptionist

Conclusion: The Old Dark House (1963) Film Review

Castle/Hammer create a light hearted comedy that is easy to watch without ever being close to being a classic. That said I found it enjoyable enough. There not much in the way of horror which is my main criticism with only Robert Morley as Roderick Femm providing any real eccentricity.

The film was a collaborative effort between Hammer Films and director William Castle and probably fails to showcase either’s talent for the genre. But as I just said it’s not a terrible film, in fact I think its well worth a look.

The Old Dark House 1963

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Conclusion: The Old Dark House 1963 Blu-ray Review

Powerhouse delivers yet another excellent Bluray release with picture quality we are becoming accustomed to being simply flawless. I didn’t note any marks or issues throughout the films 86 minutes.

Another highlight of a Powerhouse boxset release is those excellent extras and this one is no different. I strongly recommend watching “Not Too Spooky” with Jonathan Rigby in which he gives a highly detailed overview of the making of the film.


  • Alternative Black & White US Version
  • Cut-down A Certificate UK Version (84 mins)
  • Audio Commentary
  • Not Too Spooky (29 mins)
  • House and Castle (8 mins)
  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible Sleeve
  • 40 Page Booklet

Popcorn Cinema Rating: The Old Dark House (1963)



The Old Dark House (1963) is available now on Blu-ray from

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The Old Dark House (1963) Blu-ray Review

The Old Dark House (1963) Trailer

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the blu-ray version

That concludes The Old Dark House 1963 blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:

What Do You Think?
The Old Dark House (1963) Blu-ray Review
The Old Dark House (1963) Blu-ray Review

Movie title: The Old Dark House (1963)

Movie description: Hammer Films comedy-horror from director William Castle

Duration: 86 mins

Director(s): William Castle

Actor(s): Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott, Joyce Grenfell, Mervyn Johns, Fenella Fielding, Peter Bull

Genre: Comedy, Horror

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras


Hammer & Castle create an light hearted comedy-horror thats worth a look.