MY WORLD DIES SCREAMING
TERROR IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE
My Word Dies Screaming holds your interest with the unusualness of its premise it opens on Kathy ODonnell recounting her recurrent dream to her psychologist, after which she heads to the US with her new husband Gerald Mohr only to find that the house he has rented is the exact same one that she has been dreaming about. The situation is constantly being compounded by a series of plotting twists that leave you unsure what is going on Kathy ODonnell suspecting that husband Gerald Mohr is up to something sinister and finding guns and parts from the mysteriously disabled car in his suitcase, the abrupt arrival of the real owner of the house William Ching. Certainly, these plotting novelties hold the interest in the film when Harold Daniels dully prosaic direction fails to. Indeed, you suspect that the subliminal gimmicks are there because the film fails singularly to achieve haunted atmosphere by any other means.
The theme of the precognitive dream was used in a number of other films of this era such as Fear in the Night (1947), Nightmare (1956) and William Castles later The Night Walker (1965). My World Dies Screaming follows the path of every single one of these in [PLOT SPOILERS] revealing that it was not a precognitive dream after all but that something else was rather improbably the cause. (Genre cinema of this period seemed to go to enormous lengths to create haunted or supernatural-seeming plots and then find the most ridiculous reasons for rationally explaining them away). Anything initially haunted and fantastical seeming is quickly forgotten and the film becomes a mundane psycho-thriller. (In fact, the retitling Terror in the Haunted House is a false description as, even aside from the mundane explanations, there is never anything done to suggest that the house is haunted). The initially promising atmosphere transpires to be nothing more than a torrid antebellum soap opera.
Harold Daniels was a minor director in film and television during this era. He also made the B movies Port Sinister (1953) about adventure seekers finding a lost land filled with giant animals; the occult film House of Black Death (1965); and an obscure version of Edgar Allan Poes Annabelle Lee (1974). Screenwriter Robert C. Dennis was prolific in television throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, writing episodes of classic shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-62), Perry Mason (1957-66), The Untouchables (1959-63), The Outer Limits (1963-5), I Spy (1965-8), The Wild Wild West (1965-9), Batman (1966-8), Hawaii Five-O (1968-80), Kojak (1973-8) and The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-8), among others.
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