31 Days of Ghosts: House on Haunted Hill
I took a two day break. Because it’s the long weekend, so I can do that.
Back to it with a movie review!
House on Haunted Hill, originally from 1959, directed by William Castle with a budget of $200,000. The movie was different for it’s time. The plot: invite several people who have no common link to a house that is rumoured to be haunted and stay the night. Anyone who survives until dawn is awarded $10,000 by the one Fredrick Lauren, an eccentric millionaire who has rented the house from Watson Pritchard. The five guests are informed this is part of a birthday party for his fourth wife, and are told of the rules of the game, and each given a fulled loaded .45 pistol to survive the night. Things go horribly wrong for each of the party guests ending with Pritchard breaking the fourth wall with the line “and they’ll come for you”.
Castle’s style of the movie involved a few special effects, but the best part wasn’t what he did to the movie, it was what he did inside the theatre. Each theatre that played the movie was rigged with pulley systems that made the seats lurched with each appointed scene. It was so successful, this “Emergo” style (basically a way to immerse the audience into the film) helped make the film a hit at the box office.
Starring Vincent Price as the eccentric millionaire, this helped to give the movie one of the big scares. Price has been known for his work in film, television and in radio plays that focused on the macabre.
The film was later remade in 1998, with a similar plot, save for the fact that the house was a former asylum, and the pay off was $1,000,000 for staying the night. Special effects technology had obviously been increased by that time, and a lot of CGI was used to create the feel of the movie. Starring Geoffrey Rush and Framke Janssen as the married couple, the remake did a really good job of creating a new update from the original.
That was, until the evil came out of the walls at the end.
All in all, this was a well done movie, both the original and the remake. And this one is one that should be on anyone’s Halloween movie list.
There is a sequel, a Return to House on Haunted Hill. I’ve never seen it, but I may have to change that. However, like many movies that include the words “Return to” in the title, I really don’t hold out much hope for it. There have been very few horror sequels the level of House on Haunted Hill that have been as successful as the original.