House of Harrington


Curtis Harrington.

House of Harrington is a short documentary from 2008 about the late filmmaker Curtis Harrington which has just been posted to YouTube by its makers, and by a curious coincidence this appearance occurs in the week of Dennis Hopper’s death. Harrington gave Hopper the lead in his debut feature Night Tide (1961) at a time when the actor was ostracised in Hollywood after a falling out with director Henry Hathaway. Hopper’s diligent performance in Harrington’s film, a low budget horror, is a long way from the histrionics one usually finds in works of this sort and is a good reason to seek it out.


Marjorie Cameron in The Wormwood Star.

Also in Night Tide in a wordless role is the enigmatic occult artist Marjorie Cameron who drifts around looking spooky and mysterious. Cameron had earlier appeared with Harrington in Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), he as Cesaré the Somnambulist from Caligari, she as Aleister Crowley’s Scarlet Woman. That encounter led to Harrington making her the subject of one of his experimental shorts, The Wormwood Star in 1956. I’ve wanted to see this film for years, if only to sate a persistent curiosity, and House of Harrington contains a few tantalising glimpses. With luck it may turn up on YouTube (or even DVD) in the future.

Lastly, Automat Pictures, the makers of House of Harrington, also have a lengthy filmed lecture in their channel, Queer for Fear, which “explores gay and lesbian subtext in the horror film, and examines the intertwining of queer history and monster movies.”

• House of Harrington: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Previously on { feuilleton }
Curtis Harrington, 1926–2007
The art of Cameron, 1922–1995
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally

4 thoughts on “House of Harrington”

  1. Excellent post John, I’ve wanted to see Night Tide and the Wormwood star for years myself. This has made me determined to at least track down the Night Tide DVD. I saw the trailer on YouTube last year and felt it had a similar vibe to Carnival of Souls. Spooky him dying at the same time as Hopper.

  2. Nathalie: I had to check to see which font you were referring to.

    Dave C: Yes, Night Tide is very similar in atmosphere to Carnival of Souls. The former has the better acting, the latter is weirder. They make a good double bill. BTW, it was the film which was coincidentally posted this week; the director died in 2007.

  3. So glad to see your post about Harrington and the reference to Wormwood Star. I’ve also been wanting to see Wormwood. I’ve been hoping that since Harrington died that it would be released on DVD along with some of his other short films.

    Last Summer I attended a short lecture in Seattle on the occult and cinema – they showed about one minute of Wormwood Star. Since then I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with Cameron.

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