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Author Topic: The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton  (Read 298 times)

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Offline Paul Pain

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The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:32:45 AM »
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  • http://www.busterkeaton.com/Films/B05_The_Haunted_House.html
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/The_Haunted_House_%281921%29.webm

    Watch THE HAUNTED HOUSE in the link above.

    Well, another Keaton film equals another masterpiece.  There are two basic themes here: glue and engineering tricks.  And does Keaton play them to perfection!

    The thing I always ask is "How does he do it?"  The actual stunts are amazing, but engineering behind the devices is incredible and, sadly, limited to these first 10 years or so of his career.  Without these devices, his films lose much quality; and he's always is convincing with conveying familiarity or fear with these things.  Add in the acrobatics, and you have a good film regardless of humor.

    Humor comes in such bizarre ways for Buster though.  He slams his *CENSORED* on a banister rail, traffic directs "ghosts," gets money stuck to his finger, visits heaven and hell (by the way, nice touch with the Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin turning into a chute just like the one in the haunted house) while wearing his signature porkpie, and makes some of the best scare reactions you've ever seen.  And I love Buster's scare reactions because he reacts just as I really do.

    Compared to the previous shorts, this one sucks.  It's going to be a while before we find a legitimate stinker.

    10/10 [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke] [poke]
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    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 12:27:56 PM »
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  • This is another short that's good at combining laughs with tricks by Keaton. Most of the laughs in the first half come from problems with glue, which works very well. The glue sticks to everything in sight, including the customers, and their frustration as well as Keaton's is what keeps it funny despite it going on for a while.

    The second half consists of tricks and confusion upon Keaton's expense. One trick that particularly fascinates me is when Keaton observes the two skeletons putting a living man together from body parts. There's also the running gag with the stairs that continue to disappear and Keaton continually falling for it. Even though the second half is not hilarious, one gag that really had me laughing was when Keaton acts as a traffic cop for the ghosts.

    Again, it's not his best comedy-wise, but the combination of humor and effects still makes it a very fun short to watch.

    10 out of 10

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #2 on: June 11, 2017, 10:55:16 PM »
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  • Anyone who likes this but disses my stooge fave Spook Louder, well, we have to talk.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 10:20:43 AM »
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  • Anyone who likes this but disses my stooge fave Spook Louder, well, we have to talk.

     [thumbsup2]
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    Offline metaldams

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    Re: The Haunted House (1921) - Buster Keaton
    « Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 12:21:39 PM »
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  •       The weakest Keaton solo short to date....but still good.  As I've stated in the past, scare comedies that don't involve Bud and Lou or Bob Hope generally don't tend to be my favorite comedies.  It's pretty much a one note genre of well...people being scared and not much else.  Keaton, hardly a reaction comic, is not ideal for this genre.  Really just lots of Keaton running around once we get to the second reel haunted house stuff.  What makes it all at least bearable is the fact the film always remains visually stimulating and Keaton takes some good falls.  The best part of the haunted house part is when Keaton finally stops and directs the fake ghosts like a traffic cop.  That has a bit of wit to it and gives Keaton a chance a chance to do more than being frightened by spooks.  The sense of relief I felt when Keaton did that scene is telling.

          OK, bad stuff out of the way, there's still lots of good, mostly in the first half.  I'm not going to do a blow by blow description, but please watch again the scene at the beginning that involves the key Keaton uses to get in the bank.  Incredibly witty, unexpected, and funny.  Love the scene where the pretty girl convinces Keaton to get her money an hour before the bank opens and the glue stuff, which could've been tedious, actually works because it makes a fun mess, extends to a few other characters, and once Keaton gets his hands in his pocket, plays a role in the story.  Love the subtle gag of Keaton knocking himself on the head to numb himself so him pouring hot water on his hand to get the sticky money off doesn't hurt.  I also enjoy the way Keaton gets away from the police as they find him sleeping stuck in the door and the part in the chase where bizarrely, Keaton stops, the man fires a rifle at Keaton, misses, and Keaton continues running.

          The best part of this short, though, is unquestionably Keaton being denied entry into Heaven and going down the chute to Hell.  Love the way he tips his hat to angels on the way up and the long trip down he takes.  A great image and definitely the most iconic part of this short.

    8/10