31 Days Of Horror: The Uninvited

10 Years of FearOne of my favourite haunted-house movies is 1944’s The Uninvited.

Roderick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister, Pamela (Ruth Hussey) are on holiday by the English coast. Their little dog runs into an old abandoned house, which looks pretty good for a vacant place. They inquire in town and learn the house is for sale, and buy it from the owner, a retired colonel.

The colonel’s granddaughter, Stella (Gail Russell) is upset the house has been sold but is attracted to Roderick. He has some things to do in the city before moving out to the country, so Pamela stays to get the house ready.

Then things gets weird.

On Roderick’s first night back, he’s awoken by the sound of a woman crying. Hussey has been hearing it too. On top of that, the artist’s room on the second floor is unnaturally cold.

Roderick begins to suspect his new house might be haunted. He finds out that Stella’s mother died from falling off the nearby cliffs. When Stella comes over for supper, she feels a presence she assumes is her mother, and suddenly makes a run for the cliff but doesn’t recall doing it. The town’s doctor encourages a seance, hoping that will convince Stella to stay away from the house. Then things start to get really weird.

The Uninvited was one of the first horror movies to treat ghosts as real and scary. The movie is very atmospheric and creepy. I wrote about it in 31 Days of Horror’s first year, when it wasn’t available on home video. That’s changed with a Criterion Collection blu-ray.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.