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The Old Dark House is a Universal Horror movie from the year 1932. It is based on the 1927 novel Benighted by J.B. Priestley. It was directed by James Whale and features Boris Karloff among its cast. Both men previously contributed to the 1931 Frankenstein.
In the countryside of Wales, several people are caught upon a raging storm and seek shelter from a mansion they encounter. There they meet the dysfunctional Femm family and their brutish servant, Morgan. As the night continues, the troubled past of the Femm family starts to threaten our heroes, mainly in the form of the locked-up and dangerously crazy Saul.
In 1963, William Castle directed a comedic version of the story, which wasn't so well received as the original.
It was a Dark and Stormy Night, and the following tropes made themselves apparent:
- Axe Before Entering
- Bertha in The Attic: Saul.
- Chairman of the Brawl
- Crusty Caretaker: Morgan, the alcoholic butler.
- Drop What You Are Doing: Done by Horace when he hears that the storm has cut off the roads.
- Everybody Lives: Debatable in Saul's case, but still highly rare for a horror film.
- Failsafe Failure: Morgan was brought into the servitude to stop Saul if he ever would escape. Morgan befriended him instead.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The scar on Morgan's nose.
- Hostile Weather
- Knife Nut: Saul.
- Land of My Fathers and Their Sheep
- Laughing Mad: Saul.
- Look Behind You!: Roger attempts to trick Saul with it.
- Old Dark House: The Trope Namer.
- Pieta Plagiarism
- Pyromaniac: Saul.
- Railing Kill
- The Unintelligible: Morgan, who can communicate only by mumbling and growling.
- Window Pain: When the drunken Morgan sees Gladys outside, he breaks a window while trying to grab her.