The House Across the Lake (1954)

The Horror Hothouse

Image sourced from kultguyskeep.wordpress.com Image sourced from kultguyskeep.wordpress.com

So, what did Hammer films do before rebooting classic horror with The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957? Yeah well we all know about kickstarting the Brit Horror boom with TV spinoff The Quatermass Xperiment in 1955, but throughout the early 1950s Hammer produced a series of B-movie thrillers in a co-distribution deal with American producer Robert Lippert.

The House Across the Lake, which has just been reissued by Network, is an atmospheric thriller, which is perhaps closer in spirit to the Hollywood noirs of directors like Howard Hawks than their later Kensington gore drenched shockers. In fact it even opens with a Raymond Chandleresque narration from the American lead Alex Nichol.

Nichol plays Mark Kenrick, an American (Lippert always insisted on American leads for these co-financed pictures) author who has rented a cottage on Lake Windemere. Kenrick’s working idyll is shattered when he receives a phone call from Carol Forrest (Hillary Brooke) who lives in…

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