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YMMV / Hell House

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • As noted under Foe Yay below, and the fact that Belasco's ghost can have sex with living people, is it possible that Ben was sexually abused in some way by the spirit? While nothing is said, a lot of Ben's characterization does parallel that of an abuse victim.
    • Florence's determination to save 'Daniel' - is she just an All-Loving Hero who wants to help anyone in distress? Or is this a female version of The Dulcinea Effect?
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  • Awesome Music: The film's electronic score by Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson is one of the creepiest ever committed to film, and it's a real shame it will never see an official release, as the original masters have long since been lost.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During a second sitting, under "scientific circumstances", the spirit forms an ectoplasm around Florence and Lionel has it leave a sample in the jar. The spirit never displays this power again in the film, it's never mentioned afterwards (apart from one line where Florence complains about Lionel's Agent Scully attitude) and the sample never comes into the plot.
  • Complete Monster: Emeric Belasco, The Roaring Giant, was a short man who wished to be "bigger" by sawing off his legs and replacing them with lengthy prosthetics. Becoming an occultist, Belasco turned his house into a den of depravity and horror, eventually murdering his guests during a particularly horrific evening to channel their energy and allow himself to become a powerful ghost. Haunting what is now known as Hell House, Belasco murders or drives those who set foot in his home insane, possessing others and using them to rape and murder their companions. Belasco rapes a spiritualist, also forcing her to experience acts she finds deplorable while forcing her to enjoy them, before murdering her and leaving her corpse in a profane position for her companions to find, before trying to murder them all as well.
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  • Fair for Its Day: The two female characters in the story are a rather pleasant surprise, especially in comparison to a lot of Hammer Horror pictures featuring Distressed Damsels who were usually used for Fanservice. Both females serve as actual characters with defined roles in the story. Florence is a Plucky Girl who is determined to stop the haunting and lay a spirit to rest. All her decisions are done out of a desire to help someone she believes to be in danger. Although she dies before she can do anything, she's still the one who figures out the truth and paves the way for Ben to save the day. While Ann remains a Neutral Female in the climax, her earlier moment of becoming lustful does not objectify her and places emphasis on how distressing and upsetting it is for her. She does not become a Screaming Woman - and sticks by her husband in spite of everything.
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  • Fanon: A large amount of fans believe that Ann and Ben become a couple after the events of the end.
  • Fetish Retardant: In the film, there's Ann disrobing in front of Ben. The fact that she's terrified when she comes out of her trance removes any Fanservice the scene may have had.
  • Foe Yay: From Belasco while possessing Florence to Ben - "you may have been hot stuff when you were fifteen..."
  • Iron Woobie: Ann/Edith, who is the non-paranormal member of the group and only there to support her husband. She sticks by him even when the hauntings are getting worse. She then has to find him dead, but continues on for the greater good.
  • Narm:
    • The reveal that Belasco was sensitive about being short is seen as a little too ridiculous a motivation for a Big Bad - for some viewers at least.
    • The subsequent explanation that he preserved his body in a room full of lead to amplify the energy is equally laughable. Some viewers claim it ruins the entire film.
    • During the second sitting, an ectoplasm forms around Florence. Lionel asks it to "leave a sample in the jar" and it does, like a well-trained dog.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Early in the film, Lionel asks Ben how tall Belasco was. Ben responds that he was called "The Roaring Giant". This makes a lot more sense after The Reveal.
  • The Woobie: All four of the main characters but especially Florence. All she wants to do is help the spirit move on. She ends up possessed, raped and eventually killed after discovering that she has been fooled.

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