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The Haunted House (1921)

In The Haunted House, Buster Keaton gets framed for a crime he didn’t commit and so must go and clear his name. In a haunted house.

This one starts slowly, with the first ten minutes mostly being devoted to Buster Keaton being covered in glue.. So it’s not until the action switches to the haunted house of the title that things really get going.

The haunted house is actually just some bank robbers den, which they’ve rigged up as a terrifying haunted house to foil any would be spies/intruders/the police/etc. It’s probably the most convoluted elaborate plan to cover up a crime I’ve seen in a film (or at least since I watched Vertigo recently).

From here until the end, The Haunted House is utterly brilliant in almost every way, and I loved it. Ghosts, skeletons, haunted armchairs, staircases turning into a slide, Buster Keaton looking absolutely furious occasionally, a finale set in heaven and hell. It’s got basically everything you could want from a film.



1. I watched this on blu-ray again, and gathered the screenshots form this version on youtube.

2. I genuinely wasn’t expecting just how funny the second half of this would be.

3. Which was nice.

4. I think the first half had set my expectations quite low.

5. Especially as the elongated glue scene played like some sort of extended anxiety nightmare.

6. Or at least did for me.

7. Obviously I suffer from some sort of repressed glue fear.

8. And also money and bank fear, perhaps.


Film Information

Title: The Haunted House
Directors: Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline
Year: 1921
Runtime: 22 minutes
Watch: youtube