La residencia (1969)

Spain, 1969
35mm film, Franscope, Eastmancolor, 2.20:1
mono, Spanish

A Spanish horror film directed by Narcisco Ibañez Serrador.

Plot Summary

Sra. Fourneau runs a boarding school for delinquent girls and tries to keep her adolescent son from them in case they lead him astray. But the girls are mysteriously disappearing…


Directed by: Narcisco Ibañez Serrador
Depósito Legal: M-17075 1969
Regia Films, Arturo González present an Anabel Films, S.A. production
Executive Producers:
Produced by: Manuel Pérez
Screenplay by: Luis Peñafiel
Based on a Story by: Juan Tébar
Director of Photography: Manuel Berenguer
Editor: Mercedes Alonso
Music Composed and Directed by: Waldo de los Ríos
Sound Engineer: Enrique Molinero
Costumes: Carmen de la Casa
Make-up: Carmen Marírí
Hair Stylist: Julián Ruiz
Special Photographic Effects: Estudios Moro S.A.
Special Effects: Baquero
Art Director: Ramiro Gómez

Lilli Palmer (Sra. Fourneau)
Cristina Galbó (Teresa)
John Moulder Brown (Luis)
Maribel Martín (Isabel)
Mary Maude (Irene)
Cándida Losada (Srta. Desprez)
Pauline Challenor (Catalina)
Tomás Blanco (Pedro Baldié)
Victor Israel (Brechard)
Teresa Hurtado (Andrea)
Maria José Valero (Elena)
Conchita Paredes (Susana)
Clovis Dave (Enrique)
Ana Maria Pol (Claudia)
Francisco Braña
Maria del Carmen Duque (Julia)
Gloria Blanco (Regina)
Paloma Pagés (Cecilia)
Juana Azorín (Lucía)
Sofía Casares (Margarita)
Elisa Méndez (María)
Blanca Sendino (cook)
María Elena Arpón (Alumna)
Maria Gustaffson (Ingrid)

Alternative Titles

The Boarding School – English language title
A Casa dos Desejos – Brazil
The Finishing School – USA
Fruktans skrik – Sweden
House of Evil – USA
The House That Screamed – English language title
Internato de Raparigas – Portugal
Internato Derradeiro – Brazil
Gli orrori del liceo femminile – Italy
La Résidence – France
La residencia – Mexico
Der Skrekken bor – Norway
Das Versteck – West Germany


Variety 11 March 1970 p.24
Spain’s spook and horror king, Narciso Ibanez Serrador, has gone his popular tv serial, “Historias para no dormir” (Stories Not to Sleep By), one better by putting together a weird, gripping tale of love, murder and repression in a girls’ boarding school which is proving the b.o. smash of the season in Spain. Though the film relies heavily on the classical trappings of the genre for its spine-chilling effects, “La Residencia” is nonetheless a breakthrough in Spanish film production for its professional expertise and its wider appeal. Its success is greatly aided by Lilli Palmer’s acting skills. Even hardboiled horror buffs are apt to squirm in their seats through multiple knife murders, flagellations (pointedly alternating with prayer readings) and lugubrious sequences during which the suspense is skillfully built up. […] There’s a harrowing final scene, after mother has found out what sonny was up to. It is to Ibanez Serrador’s credit that no one laughed. Music by Waldo de los Rios contributes greatly in building up the horror. As a whole the pic should do well internationally, thanks to it’s tight story, good direction and competent acting. – from a review by Besu

Los Angeles Times 26 March 1971
That The House That Screamed should receive a mild ‘GP’ rating is ironic proof that there lingers in some minds a crazy kind of puritanical logic, the evils of which are so morbidly epitomize in this grisly horror film set in an a 19th-century French boarding school for ‘difficult’ teenage girls. It is altogether shocking that the MPAA would rather protect children from the tasteful depiction of normal sex, in the care of Truffaut’s ‘R’-rated Stolen Kisses, than a film which shows a 15-year-old boy who has literally created a woman in his mother’s image from the dismembered parts of five of her pupils – not to mention some very obvious intimations of a wide range of unhealthy sexual behaviour. […] A sadist’s and masochist’s delight, this release is a thoroughly convincing, even elegant exercise in evil. […] All this depravity has been served up with considerable skill. The rich period settings and costumes are unusually authentic, the acting is polished and even the dubbing is done with more care than usual for such films. Miss Palmer works hard to give humanity and tragic dimension to her part, but The House That Screamed is a picture that unhesitatingly exploits rather than indicts what it so lovingly depicts. – from a review by Kevin Thomas

New York Daily News 22 July 1971
The House That Screamed is a deadly little number (and I mean deadly) about a boy who’s told he must marry a girl just like dear old mom. Who tells him? Dear old mom herself. It so happens that she has him stashed away in a gloomy school for not very nice young ladies with orders not to look at any of then […] In the meantime mom, who is headmistress, looks at one of them with a pained expression that more than hints at her lesbian tendencies. (The director milks the lesbian thing for all it’s worth.) Being an enterprising young lad, the boy finds the perfect match for his mother. We’re not going to tell you how he does it because, believe me, it is too ridiculous to bear repeating. Poor Lilli Palmer manages to retain her dignity in this dubbed piece of gibberish but what a tragic waste of her talent. – from a review by Kathleen Carroll

New York Times 22 July 1971
Unfortunately, this [lesson] in abnormal education merely adds up to tepid, not divertingly chilling fare. […] In The House That Screamed, Lilli Palmer, operator of a turn-of-the-century French school for teen-aged girls, is faced with a variety of strange problems. Her pupils obviously can’t be blamed for wanting to break out of the gloomy manse, since several of their classmates already have mysteriously disappeared. […] ‘I want you to live a normal life,’ he anxious but suspicious Miss Palmer fervently assures her son. However, it gorily turns out, young John Moulder Brown is far from the normal, placid, handsome teenager he seems to be. Miss Palmer and the moviegoer deserve all the sympathy they can get. – from a review by A.H. Weiler

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.459 (April 1972) p.77
The House that Screamed seems calculated to infuriate anyone who cares about the horror cinema. Although a glossy, comparatively high budget production, obviously put together with some care, its script hinges on a variation of the much-plundered Psycho, with a repressive mother-son relationship resulting, with the usual quota of victims and red herrings, in a series of murders at a plush but disciplinarian girls’ boarding school. The theme is developed mechanically, with no real sense of mystery and with little concentration on anything except a few desultory sado-sexual episodes which appear to be the sole reason for the setting. The distinguished cast put up a brave showing, but their efforts are fruitless and the film drags along miserably for most of its length. The pattern of events becomes increasingly predictable; and if the climax retains a certain amount of evil power, it is only thanks to John Moulder Brown’s well-placed performance. – from a review by David Pirie



  • Bianco e Nero vol.16 no.1/2 (January/February 1955) p.108-109 (Italy) – credits
  • Cinema TV Today no.9970 (4 March 1972) p.29 – credits, review
  • Cinestudio no.84 (April 1970) p.56 (Spain) – credits
  • The Dark Side no.206 (2019) pp.24-27 – illustrated interview with Mary Maude (Come into the gore den Maude! by Jim O’Brien)
  • Filmfacts vol.14 no.10 (1971) p.226 – reprinted reviews
  • Filmfax no.75/76 (October-January 2000) pp.46-53 – review, interviews with Narciso Ibanez Serrador and Mary Maude (La residencia: a classic of Spanish horror cinema revisited by Michael Orlando Yaccarino)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.215 no.46 (21 April 1971) p.3 – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.39 no.459 (April 1972) p.77 – credits, synopsis, review (by David Pirie)
  • Photon no.23 (1973) pp.9, 47 – credits, review (by Larry Richardson)
  • Variety 11 March 1970 p.24 – credits, review (by Besu)


  • Los Angeles Times 26 March 1971 – review (by Kevin Thomas)
  • New York Daily News 22 July 1971 – review (by Kathleen Carroll)
  • New York Times 22 July 1971 – review (by A.H. Weiler)


  • American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography by Rob Craig pp.200-201
  • American International Pictures: A Filmography by Robert L. Ottoson pp.211-212 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.191-93, 194, 235, 251, 255, 355, 393
  • Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures by Mark Thomas McGee p.313
  • Film Review 1972-73 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.222
  • Fright Night on Channel 9 by James Arena pp.158
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.260-261
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.205 – credits
  • Sex, Sadism, Spain and Cinema by Nicholas G. Schlegel pp.93-99 – illustrated essay
  • Unsung Horrors by Eric McNaughton & Darrell Buxton (eds) pp.166-169 – illustrated review (by Peter Fuller)

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide October-November 2017 p.62 – illustrated listing