What sets Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s LA RESIDENCIA, aka THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED, apart from most boarding school horror is its authentic nineteenth century setting, several interesting themes to explore, and an ambition for exploiting violence and odd sexual themes that seemed ahead of its time for 1969. The ambiance as well as the characters' costumes and mannerisms effectively transport the viewer to a different and melancholic world in an older era. The film’s body-count may be a little low, but things are exceptionally macabre and grim, with a certain character’s late night demise in a greenhouse being unexpectedly crowd pleasing and so beautifully and artistically filmed that Dario Argento would likely be impressed. Void of pomposity while having a lot of interesting character interaction and depth, and surprisingly little faults to identify, LA RESIDENCIA is a really well-made, classy, and high-quality movie. It did get the Elvira treatment, though, but we won’t go there.
Something unusual but commendable is the manner in which the film proceeds after the protagonist attempts to escape the school. Due to a particular event that occurs, the final twenty-two minutes roll on in a way that is a very bold and risky move by the filmmakers and is usually something that is generally avoided in storytelling. I’ve only ever seen it happen in one other movie, which I won’t name because I don’t want to give it away, but it definitely adds to the unique flavor of the film.