House on Haunted Hill
The idea of ghosts may frighten people, but the idea behind it can also become a floating light of hope. Hope that there is an afterlife after death, and therefore, God exists. Going from my background, I know there is a god and ghosts are out there; I just have yet to seen one. I have certainly felt the presence of one or two back when I was a kid staying at a haunted hotel. While my parents were going to a wine party in Riverside, we would stay at the Mission Inn where my brother and I would do our own thing in the next four hours of no supervision.
It was my cousin Aaron who told me about the hauntings and that the hotel is one of the most haunted in the nation. As most children are skeptics, I vowed to proved such nonsense. I grabbed a video camera and went from floor to floor looking for something out of the ordinary. It was not until I arrived on the fifth floor when I found a disturbing incident with a mirror. At first, it was clean and untouched. But when I turned a corner, I heard a crash and turned around; the mirror had cracked without a visible violation. I ran back into my room and kept the TV on the Disney Channel until my parents returned. If that experience came to life for me, then how will the group of people do in House on Haunted Hill.
Somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles, an eccentric millionaire named Frederick Loren (played by Vincent Price) is getting ready to hold a different kind of party. His forth wife Annabelle worked with her husband to arrange a night in a haunted house where they and five random strangers would stay for the night. The place had seen many deaths before and the bet is if the strangers can make it though the evening until six in the morning, then each would be paid $10,000.
The five guests are test pilot Lance Schroeder, newspaper columnist Ruth Bridges, the house's owner Watson Pritchard, psychiatrist Dr. David Trent who specializes in hysteria, and Nora Manning, who works for one of Loren's companies. They are given a tour of the house, which includes a wine cellar with an acid pit and are locked up before midnight. With a pistol in each hand of the guest, who will make it out alive?
Though we don’t see it much these days in cinema, movies about people going into haunted houses were a lot more common. Along with The Haunting, this is one of the more famous ones. House on Haunted Hill takes a more campy approach with it’s not so impressive sets and cheap gags. But you know what? That is the point of stuff like this. While it’s not meant to be bad, it’s not supposed to be the best horror movie of the year either. It’s a tough one to talk about, as its audience is very limited to those that seek out these kinds of movies; camp-cult style fans.
I don’t know if I’m the right one to be discussing this, but I can understand why a lot of other people like this. The one thing that does manage to be creepy is Vincent Price who is the king on playing spooky but fun characters. This is no exception as his Frederick Loren character in charming, yet unnerving under his expensive suit. He rarely lashes out, managing to keep control over his party guests. While as a haunting movie, I don’t thinks it’s effective, the camp factor makes it worth the watch. I kind of want to listen to the Mystery Science Theater 300 commentary for this.
I’ll give this four dangling skeletons out of five. As long as you sit well aware your watching for the camp and not the spooks, then you ought to have a fun time.