For my birthday, a friend gifted me with a collection of 60 movies that span from the 1930s to the 1990s. So here we go!
When I first started watching this film, I thought, How nice! Edward Robinson and Judith Anderson get to play sweet people for a change! Robinson is best known for unsavory roles like Dathan in The Ten Commandments or dark roles like Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity. Judith Anderson, perhaps, is best known as that crazy maid in the movie that put Hitchcock on the Hollywood map, Rebecca. Here, they both seemed to be playing mild-mannered farm folk who are playing Matthew and Marilla to a doe-eyed orphan named Meg.
Was I wrong.
After watching the film, I learned that The Red House is described as a psychological thriller, and it definitely was. My fellow viewers and I were at the edge of our seats, screaming at the television: What is the RED HOUSE?! The movie keeps its secrets close. Robinson and Anderson just keep telling Meg and her boy Nath: Don’t go into the woods! Beware of the screams! It is CURSED! Gee, I wonder what the teenagers do?
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this movie. If this were a modern film, then I could easily start to assume that there was a stabby murderer in the woods or a witch or a dimensional wormhole. But this film was made in the 1940s in which special effects were limited and censors were trying quite hard to protect the children. So a LOT of the tension depends on the actor performances, which they carry through.
In the end, you do figure out the mystery before its revealed, but it’s nice when Robinson confirms your suspicions. I don’t know if I ever would’ve picked up this movie, but I’m glad I saw it!