Dangerous Houses


Dir. Curtis Harrington, 00:21:00

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Imaginative dream voyage thrusts hero into ambiguous adventures in his search for a mysterious goal.

[Source: Cinema 16: Documents Toward History of Film Society]

Is a DVD in the works that will bring together your earlier experimental shorts, such as FRAGMENT OF SEEKING, PICNIC, THE WORMWOOD STAR and DANGEROUS HOUSES?

Curtis Harrington: No. And DANGEROUS HOUSES will never be released in any form. It never has been released and it never will be. It is what the French call a film maudit (a cursed film). DANGEROUS HOUSES was shot in London in 1952, in an area of the city that had been bombed during the war. So I used a lot of bombed-out houses. The plotline is based on The Odyssey, where Odysseus encounters Circe the enchantress. Richard Johnson (who later went on to star in THE HAUNTING, BEYOND THE DOOR and ZOMBIE) agreed to be in DANGEROUS HOUSES. That was my first experience working with a professional actor. He was all wrong for the film, though. All my short films were made with non-professional actors. When a director like me works with non-professionals, they have no problem following minute physical instructions, while a good actor always has his own ideas. This is fine in a conventional film, but for the kind of experimental films I was making then, a good actor was unsuited. I’m not blaming the film’s failure on Richard Johnson. Everything is wrong with DANGEROUS HOUSES. It was just a misfire from the beginning, because I was pushing myself to make another film, but I had nothing in mind. I learned a very valuable lesson: that I must only work when I am inspired to work. I must never push myself. DANGEROUS HOUSES was completely artificial and the wrong direction for me to go.

[Source: Harvey F. Chartrand]