Greetings my Movie Ghouls!
Welcome to another feast of festering film flesh. Tonight it’s the turn of horror legend Vincent Price and the classic House on Haunted Hill. Beware of Spoilers!
House on Haunted Hill
This film is brilliant. It begins with a scream, a blood-curdling scream that made me and my 1-year-old pay attention. It goes out of its way to show you how scary it is by having a guy tell you. The story and characters are introduced by Price’s silky voiceover and we discover that complete strangers are invited to a party in the house on haunted hill. If they can survive the night, they will get $10000.
But this film is so much more than that. As soon as they enter the house, chandeliers are falling, and there’s blood dripping from the ceiling. It’s brilliant, and in a way kind of reminds me of Murder By Death (if you haven’t seen that then go watch it). The house has been set up to be spooky and atmospheric for the guests. The hosts are Vincent Price’s Frederick Loren and his wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart).
What I like about this film is the Lorens hate each other. They bicker and talk about killing each other in every scene they’re in. Frederick mentions he has already been poisoned by Annabelle once already. Later on he tells the guests that yes, he has thought about killing his wife, as all men have!
Frederick hands out guns to the guests, as this is what Annabelle had wanted. One man states that they don’t work on the dead, moreover they work in the living. As a result one of them ends up dead. Hanged and Frederick is the suspect.
As for ghostly goings-on, they have all been centred on Carolyn Craig’s Nora, a woman who works in Frederick Loren’s firm. She is basically there to see the ghosts and scream. She gets attacked, believing Frederick was the culprit and gets so worked up she begins to carry a gun around with her.
I am stopping now as this film relies heavily on the twist. This film is a clever one that makes you believe from the title that we’re in for your regular haunted house horror movie, but it’s so much more than that. It’s well made, for the time, and doesn’t keep you hanging around (pun intended). It makes you ask, were there any ghosts?
In summary, watch the film. Don’t worry that it’s black and white and slightly dated, it’s a great film that filmmakers today would (and did) struggle to make now.
The 1999 remake was utter sh…
Coincidentally this movie is in the Public Domain and can be watched for free!