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Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2017 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Haunted Spooks
(1920)

 

Mildred and her husband must must spend a year in a haunted southern mansion for her to inherit it, according to her grandfather’s will, otherwise the property will go to her uncle. The uncle intends to cheat Mildred out of the inheritance by making the house uninhabitable. The trouble is that Mildred has no husband, and thus has no shot at meeting the terms of the will. Not to worry, says her lawyer, he will find her a spouse.

Harold Lloyd meanwhile has been wooing a popular socialite — along with every Tom, Dick and Harry — and comes up short romantically just as he receives her father’s blessing. Despondent, Harold tries a number of suicide attempts, including throwing himself in front of Mildred’s lawyer’s car. The lawyer arrives at Mildred’s with Harold and a minister in tow. Freshly married, Harold and Mildred set off in her auto for southern climes.

The uncle and his accomplice decide to make the house a haunted one to scare off Mildred and her husband — and the real fun begins.

This short film from 1920 shows how haunted house traditions were already well-established for movie audiences, who needed little motivation explanation for greedy family members who intend to frighten a young woman and her new husband out of her inheritance. — Carl Bennett

coverNew Line Home Entertainment
2005 DVD edition

The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection, Volume 3 (1920-1932), black & white, ? minutes total, not rated,
including Haunted Spooks (1920), black & white, 25 minutes, not rated.

New Line Home Entertainment, N8448,
UPC 7-94043-84482-9, ISBN 0-7806-5291-6.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc and one dual-sided, dual-layered (side A)/single-layered (side B) DVD disc, Region 1, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, English and Spanish language subtitles, closed captions, 5 chapter stops, two-disc standard DVD keepcase, $29.95.
Release date: 15 November 2005.
Country of origin: USA

This edition features a windowboxed video transfer from excellent 35mm film materials.

The film is presented with a music score arranged and conducted by Robert Israel, and an optional audio commentary by Suzanne Lloyd, Annette D’Agostino Lloyd and Richard Correll.

This edition from this collection is one of the best-available home video editions of this wonderful film, and we recommend it.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverImage Entertainment
2005 DVD edition

The Cat and the Canary (1927), color-toned black & white, 82 minutes, not rated,
with Haunted Spooks (1920), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID2476DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-24762-6.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, dual-layered DVD disc, Region 0, 8 Mbps average video bit rate, 224 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 3 chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $19.99.
Release date: 1 February 2005.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 7 / additional content: 8 / overall: 8.

This remastered disc looks a little better than it did in the 1998 Image edition (noted below) of this title. The video transfer of Haunted Spooks has been prepared from a very-good to excellent (and slightly abridged) 35mm print that is a little jittery in the frame, and has a light amount of dust and speckling. The slightly-windowboxed transfer appears to be the same but benefits positively from the remastering of the disc. Noticeable to trained eyes is the absence of the chromatic noise in the middle greytones of the picture that was present in the 1998 edition.

Sound effects have been added to the 1997 Eric Beheim music score that is performed on synthesizers.

The new, lower price for this remastered DVD (which includes an improved edition of The Cat and the Canary — see out Cat and the Canary on DVD page) makes this edition a great value for the high quality. This disc of Haunted Spooks is our recommended edition.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverImage Entertainment
1998 DVD edition

The Cat and the Canary (1927), color-toned black & white, 81 minutes, not rated,
with Haunted Spooks (1920), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment,
ID4387DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-43872-7.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 1, 5 Mbps average video bit rate, 192 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 6 chapter stops, snapper DVD case, $24.99.
Release date: 6 October 1998.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 7 / additional content: 7 / overall: 7.

A very-good to excellent 35mm print was used for the black & white video transfer, and the greytone ranges are well reproduced. The video transfer itself (originally prepared for a 1997 laserdisc edition) is a little dark (compared to be 2005 Image edition noted above), and has a little chromatic video noise that gives the middle greytones a slightly color-tinted look.

A music score, compiled and performed by Eric Beheim, accompanies the film. Not usually a fan of synthesizer music for silent films, to us this performance appropriately scores the film in a fun and lively way.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 1 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverImage Entertainment
2002 DVD edition

Slapstick Encyclopedia (1909-1929), black & white and color-toned black & white, 1089 minutes total, not rated,
including Haunted Spooks (1920), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Film Preservation Associates, distributed by Image Entertainment,
ID0699DSDVD, UPC 0-14381-06992-1.
Windowboxed 4:3 NTSC, five single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, 4.5 Mbps average video bit rate, 224 kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language subtitles, no foreign language subtitles, no chapter stops, five standard DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $69.99.
Release date: 7 May 2002.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 7 / audio: 7 / additional content: 8 / overall: 7.

Haunted Spooks has been added to this collection of slapstick shorts, previously released on VHS videotape, now available on DVD. This edition of the film is identical in presentation, minus much of the chromatic noise in the middle greytones of the picture, to the 1998 Image edition listed above. The slightly windowboxed framing allows most of the picture image available in the source print to be seen on most television monitors.

The Eric Beheim music score again accompanies the film.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
coverGrapevine Video
2002 DVD edition

The Headless Horseman (1922), black & white, 72 minutes, not rated,
with Haunted Spooks (1920), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated.

Grapevine Video, no catalog number, unknown UPC number.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD-R disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, PCM 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops, standard DVD keepcase, $16.95.
Release date: 2002.
Country of origin: USA
This budget edition has likely been mastered from a 16mm reduction print.

The film is likely accompanied by a soundtrack compiled from preexisting recordings.

 
This Region 0 NTSC DVD-R edition is available directly from GRAPEVINE VIDEO.
Other silent era HAROLD LLOYD films available on home video.

Other OLD DARK HOUSE FILMS of the silent era available on home video:
The Bat (1926)
The Cat and the Canary (1927)
Midnight Faces (1926)
Seven Footprints to Satan (1929)

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
 
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