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 reputation for murder. Frederick offers them each a gun for protection. They will all arrived in a hearse and will either leave in it $10,000 richer or leave in it dead!
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…
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.…
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is a campy, strange anomaly of a movie. Part haunted house movie, part murder mystery, it is the kind of movie that opens with a disembodied head warning the viewer about the horrors that are about to happen, and closes with a character breaking the fourth wall to “frighten” the viewer. Unfortunately, not very much in the film is very scary. There are a few images that possess a thread of fear, but they are few and far between.
The film spends far more than half of its 70 minute run time setting things up in contrived and unoriginal ways. The introduction of handguns into the story is ridiculous.
The film is well cast, but the…
I think I've watched enough horror films in my life to know a really good screamer when I hear and see one - and I have to say that Carolyn Craig has one of the most brilliant screams in the history of horror films.
Ear-splitting and absolutely perfectly pitched, she gets plenty of opportunities to open her lungs in this slightly daft but ultimately entertaining old haunted house horror film. As it is a public domain film, it's been given about 7 million DVD releases over the years so it should be recognisable to anyone that has popped into Poundland, or whatever the pound shop equivalent is in whatever country…
More than a little heavy on the Evil Scheming Wife Wants to Kill Husband cliche, considering Vincent Price's character has a history with previous dead wives that the movie leaves very much unchecked as it sides exclusively with him. At times he borders on the insufferably self-righteous, for a guy with 3 dead wives. I could, of course, accept this if the style of the film weren't strictly Old Dark House / Spookshow film and had a little more of an E.C. comics' tone to it. But, as Old Dark House movies go- this is superbly visualized and full of awesome, fun classic William Castle gags that are still fun 55 years later if you're in the right mood. Though, to match Price's sometimes rotten hamminess- Nora (Carolyn Craig) is pitched much too straight-up hysterical and the film doesn't always have the right amount of wind in its sails to handle her (maybe too) intense performance.
This morning I realized that my disappointment over this movie not being what I thought was due to the fact that I'd mistaken it for The Haunting.
Who hasn't done that, guys? Right? Guys?
It has some really charming cheese. We're talking dancing skeletons, your standard-issue blankets of cobwebs, open pits of acid, and that insistent "whoooOOOOooo" wail/singing in the background. And lest you think I thought it was all laughable, I was genuinely scared a couple of times, which I didn't expect to happen.
But ultimately, House on Haunted Hill feels like a half-formed horror plus a half-formed murder mystery that just don't equal a whole. And then it just ends. So many promises of spectral horror unfulfilled, and a couple of the characters don't even do anything. Somewhere, from a dim echo of the future, I heard this gleeful shout: It's over!
December challenge - 15/100
Honestly, this is somewhere between a Twilight Zone episode and Scooby Doo.
That's not entirely bad though -- Twilight Zone, like this movie, has persisted for decades because it knows how to take a germ of an idea and present it in such a way that it stays in your head for a long time. This film did that with pop culture, and you still see references to it today. It's a classic setup of a group of strangers with wildly different backgrounds coming together in a weird setting with a few twists along the way. The ending and the mechanics of the plot leave a lot to be ... desired for, to put it nicely, however. But it's interesting seeing an origin of something, rather than a rehash of a rehash.
I'm sure this was scary when it first came out. Wildly entertaining now
Some bizarre performances make this worth watching for free on youtube!
House on Haunted Hill is a delight of 1950's horror, rife with campy performances, and a comical, murder mystery dinner premise.
Vincent Price uses his trademark voice as both narrator and host to a group of strangers picked to stay the night in a haunted house. Under the guise of a party for his third wife, Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren (Price) has agreed to pay five people $10,000 if they survive the night. Loren is joined by an unlikely band, including a secretary at one of his many companies, an airline pilot, a professor of psychology, a journalist and the house's drunkard owner. The haunting begins almost immediately, and progresses quickly to terror as the group…
This was great but the dvd i watched it on had terrible quality, due for a rewatch so i can appreciate just how spooky everything is.
Also: Skeleton - By Himself
I have always supported the importance of having fun while watching horror movies. Much too often in our modern-age horror genre, they substitute true fear for brutally bleak subject matter. Don’t get me wrong, I love some tasty torture-porn; that gut wrenching sound of a victim’s primordial squeal just as that dark red pulp that was once their face splatters against the wall. I love it. However, I also crave good ol’ fashion, enjoyably silly horror movies. Especially if they can still provide some scares along the way. House on Haunted Hill is a model example of this formula excelling on every level.
An eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, invites five people to his creepy old mansion for a Haunted House…
- Night of the Living Dead
- Night of the Living Dead
- Dawn of the Dead
- Dawn of the Dead
- Day of the Dead
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High
- Batman Returns
- Howard the Duck
- Morning Glory
Everybody has either a film star or character that they had a crush on during their formative years. So which…
- The Lost World
- The Old Dark House
- Island of Lost Souls
- King Kong
I decided not to clog this with Disney and Pixar. I imagine you see those whether you plan to or…