06. The Old Dark House (1932): There Once Was a Young Fellow from Sparta


On this week’s episode of What’s in the Basket, have a potato and join us for our discussion of The Old Dark House (1932). We delve into director James Whale’s reign as Universal’s king of horror, explore the film’s role as progenitor to the genre that took its name, trace the origins of Melvyn Douglas’s mustache, and bask in the poetry of renowned artistic phenom Charles Laughton.

Show Notes

Theme music by Kevin MacLeod: “Dark Hallway (Distressed)” and “The Show Must Be Go

In researching for this episode, we consulted the following sources:


  • Hollywood in the Thirties by John Baxter
  • Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film by Harry M. Benshoff
  • Open Secret : Gay Hollywood 1928-1998 by David Ehrenstein
  • Classics of the Horror Film by William K. Everson
  • Horror Film Directors, 1931-1990 by Dennis Fischer
  • The Men Who Made the Monsters by Paul M. Jensen
  • Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenics, and Classic Horror Cinema by Angela M. Smith
  • Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931-1946 by Tom Weaver, et al.


  • “James Whale” by Ken Hanke, in The Fearmakers: The Screen’s Directorial Masters of Suspense and Terror (ed. John McCarty)
  • “The Subconscious: From Pleasure Castle to Libido Motel” by Raymond Durgnat, in Horror Film Reader (ed. Alain Silver and James Ursini)
  • “James Whale” by Michael Williams, in Fifty Hollywood Directors (ed. Yvonne Tasker and Suzanne Leonard)

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