Horror movies are by far my favorite, so I've decided to make a list with all of them I remember…
House on Haunted Hill
Consult your doctor! Bring your seat belts!
Frederick Loren has invited five strangers to a party of a lifetime. He is offering each of them $10,000 if they can stay the night in a house. But the house is no ordinary house. This house has a reputation for murder. Frederick offers them each a gun for protection. They all arrived in a hearse and will either leave in it $10,000 richer or leave in it dead!
A funny, silly, goofy, gimmicky, playful, atmospheric, creepy, campy, wacky, and jokey classic. William Castle's House on Haunted Hill revels in the loony as it opens doors with the squeakiest of squeaks and as it flows along according to Vincent Price's devilish grin. The writing is tricky, resembling a typical haunted house tale but friskily dancing around with snappy one-liners and obvious reveals. It's just a fun film all the way through, and I always love returning to its mischievous pleasures.
It also makes a great companion piece to Clue.
In William Castle's HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, Vincent Price plays an eccentric millionaire who invites six strangers to a notoriously haunted house, gives them each a loaded gun (as a "party favor!") and offers them all $10,000 apiece if they survive the night.
That's one of my favorite set-ups for any movie ever, and the film is ALMOST entertaining enough to live up to it. Despite the flurry of twists (here's a hint: the people in this house have as much to fear from each other as they do from the ghosts) and a running time of just under 80 minutes, the pace lags in the middle. But there's more than enough goofy, spooky fun here to make HOUSE ON…
Watched on the big screen at my ninth annual Halloween party at the beautiful Crest Theatre, and probably the last one, seeing as the theater will most likely change management at the end of this month. The management team who renovated and re-opened this gorgeous 975-seating Sacramento landmark (which has stood for nearly 100 years) almost 30 years ago and have run it successfully ever since, are being intentionally priced out of their lease by a greedy, shortsighted building owner who wants to take it over for himself.
But enough about all that. I watched this hugely entertaining, classic haunted house mystery/horror film, packed with entertaining twists and turns, among friends and family, inside one of the last remaining true movie palaces, and it was awesome.
For a film I had absolutely no expectations for, I found an absolute masterpiece. There's only been one horror film that ever scared me in my life and that was Carpenter's Halloween. Now I can make it two, with House on Haunted Hill.
This movie had it all. Creepy sound effects, a really spooky set design (I'm easily scared by early 20th century interiors). It was atmospheric with tons of disturbing imagery. There were jump scares. Of course, there was a fascinating plot, that kept you hooked. Not only that, but it had Vincent Price - whose voice alone makes this film worth while.
The plot is fairly well known. But I need to talk about it, because it's so…
What husband hasn't, at some time, wanted to kill his wife?
For what the 1950s horror films lacked in technology they made up for with imagination, the opposite could be said with many of today's horror offerings. While the end result might be a little overambitious for what they could actually accomplish, it's still highly entertaining despite a few bumps along the way.
The film being in black and white uses shadows to great effect in setting the mood. It does resort to a lot of "jump out scares", but when they're highlighted by the screaming talents of Carolyn Craig you can't help but enjoy them. It's by no means a cerebral psychological thriller,…
In this most unusual house - where terrible secrets are kept - there is a great scheme being played. You see, the owner of this house - a crazed millionaire - has proposed a game. And to a few money hungry gents and gals he has offered to pay. A rather big sum, if they're willing to play. But you see, there's a catch. if they want the cash, they'll have to spend the night. Everything seems alright, until the first fright...
One of the guys and gals has gone missing. The rest of the guests figure they've gone ghost fishing. They're poking around in the dark hallways of this spooky and forbidding place. He goes off and leaves her.…
I really want to rate this higher but I can't... I just can't. I watched these movies as a kid growing up, my dad showed them to me. I remember as a kid jumping up from the couch at the end of this movie and others like it and telling my dad "I'M NOT EVEN SCARED!"
That wasn't a little kids exaggeration.
I wasn't scared and shouldn't be. This is the type of movie from days gone by and it shows. I respect it but it's just not even that fun to watch. I used to think it was me just disliking older movies but Eyes Without a Face, made in 1960, proved that even during a simpler time you can create an effective and moving horror movie.
This isn't one of them.
I love that, for all of the chutzpah William Castle demonstrated in marketing his movies as the ultimate experiences in terror, they're actually quite tame. Even compared to the Hammer or Roger Corman productions from the same period, House on Haunted Hill is positively cozy. It's the perfect horror movie for a lazy, rainy afternoon.
Pulpy fun, but has legitimate mystery and a strange, eerie atmosphere along with its laughs.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
My first Vincent Price film as a film student, and I believe my first William Castle film. Yes, it looks quite cheaply made in places. Yes, outside of Price, the cast aren't great and a few of them have very little to do. Yes, the ending comes rather abruptly. House on Haunted Hill is not a great film, but it has moments of greatness.
Castle uses the historic and famously unique looking Ennis House for his exteriors, which renders the titular house both memorable and unsettling. Framed against the California night, the house looks like it grew from nowhere rather than being built. Castle and cinematographer Carl E. Guthrie shoot it at odd angles, using its architectural novelty to enhance…
Not quite as fun as I remembered it being, I'm surprised to say. Vincent Price makes anything and everything compelling and fun, but does this really amount to much more than folks just opening doors for an hour and change?
"It was my wife's idea to have the guests arrive in funeral cars." One of Vincent Price's best! The B-movie production level only adds to the classic movie magic charm.
Delightfully sweet and tacky and filled to the brim with Vincent Price nostalgia. Chock full of dated scares and scream queen satisfaction.
This is all the right sorts of corn. Twilight-Zone-y with as much murder-mystery elements as it does hooror. Great old school haunted house fx and cinematography, fabulously dark setting, and just the right amount of macabre.
3.5 out of 5 (B)
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…
they try to bury them under mountains of "popular on facebook" junk, but there is actually a ton of old…