The Original Haunted House Classic With Vincent Price!
Christopher Jackson | Halifax, Nova Scotia | 12/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently picked up "The House On Haunted Hill" at The Bargain Shop with the expectation that if the picture wasn't very good, I could at least sell it second hand and make my money back. Well, upon watching it later that night, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the picture and sound was actually very good! The plot, for those who may not have seen it yet, concerns a millionaire, Frederick Loren,(Vincent Price) who invites 6 people (played by Richard Long, Alan Marshall, Carolyn Craig, Elisha Cook Jr., Julia Mitchum Leona and Anderson Howard Hoffman) to a "party" at a haunted house, hosted by himself and his wife(Carol Ohmart)promising to pay them $10,000 each if they can survive the night. Strange and unexplainable events occur and the viewer is left wondering: who will survive? The twist ending is a masterpiece!To be honest, there were some age spots and some very mild grain, but overall I found the movie very enjoyable. Even more suprising was the addition of three original trailers of William Castle's other films (Mr. Sardonicus, Zotz! and Homicidal) as well as a text biography of William Castle. There are also scene selections as well. Overall a very pleasing presentation by Platinum Disc Corporation. Highly recommended for Vincent Price fans!"
Only the ghosts in this house are glad we're here
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vincent Price. A haunted mansion house. Spooky caretakers. And a giant pile of money to any of the guests who lives through the night. What's not to love?
"The House on Haunted Hill" is one of those rare horror movies that seems as fresh as if it were made yesterday. The script is clever, the acting is solid, and while the direction is a bit on the hammy side, the plot is clever enough to keep viewers riveted until the final twist. It's horror, myster and dark comedy all in one.
Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) decides to host a macabre birthday party for his devious wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), in the "House on Haunted Hill." He invites a test pilot, a columnist, a secretary and the house's unbalanced owner, and offers each one ten thousand dollars if they stay all night. Chandeliers fall, doors slam shut, and they get to see the wine vat full of acid.
But as the night goes on, poor Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig) begins to see specters and rotted heads. The others think she's hysterical -- until Annabelle is found hanging in the hallway, dead. The unfortunate guests start to suspect that Loren brought them there to murder them (except for the owner, who blames ghosts). But the truth is far more complex and sinister....
William Castle made a lot of slightly kitschy horror movies like "13 Ghosts" and "The Tingler," but this clever twist on haunted-house movies is probably his best work ever. Okay, that dancing skeleton is unintentionally funny, as is the gliding crone. But most of the time, it provides some in-your-face chills and great work from Price.
This movie has solid dialogue ("Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?") and some truly wicked exchanges between Price and Ohmart, as spouses who completely loathe one another. Castle's weird sense of humor shows up in the coffin-shaped boxes, the vat of acid, and the organ playing itself.
But the most impressive aspect of "House" is that it's not just another ghosts-terrify-screaming-idiots movie. It's more of a mystery, before the crime is committed. We're never quite sure if there really are ghosts haunting the place, or if the humans are the ones who are really causing all this trouble. What's really scary is that the humans are more frightening.
Vincent Price is definitely the star here -- creepy, intelligent, debonair, and he has an acid comment for every occasion ("Don't stay up thinking of ways to get rid of me. It makes wrinkles"). Ohmart runs a close second with her seductive, devious trophy wife; the other actors do solid jobs as well, although Craig doesn't do much except shriek periodically.
It's should be noted that the Platinum Movies version of this is a decent inexpensive version to buy. Many public domain movies are in rotten condition, but the print for this is a bit spotty, but clean enough for viewing without the distraction of crackles, splices and faded print.
"House on Haunted Hill" is a deserving vintage horror movie -- a twisty plot, and Price at his finest. A must-see."