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House on Haunted Hill

by on Jun.02, 2010, under Daily Review

1958 this fella and quite a fine film directed by William Castle. The basic story is one of strangers invited to a big spooky house, all paid 10k to spend the night. Once the guests arrive, they question the reason behind the event, the host and his cold wife. They also mention the rumours of the ghostly goings on in the house.

This is quite good and fun to watch, but for me, no where near as impressive as say, Elliot Nugent’s Cat and the Canary, which has a similar plot. Vincent Price is great here as always, and the rest of the cast are pretty damn good too, but there is something missing really, something which points more towards the film focusing more on the guests and the cash rather than the house and the hauntings. It’s obvious from the outset that this isn’t really gonna be a ghost film which leads the viewer down the track of intrigue as to why the guests are there for the night and why the sum of cash will be paid. There are some pretty good moments, some very spooky scenes too, but for the most part, it’s characters face off and shout a fair deal in New Jersey accents.

A few highlights. The finale is brilliant. The whole skeleton and the vat of acid is perfect. Another fine moment is when Ruth (Julie Mitchum) finds a head in her suitcase. The look on her face would be worth 10k of anyone’s cash. Later, Lance (Dick Long) finds a head in a wardrobe and runs down a corridor, holding it by the locks. Stunning stuff.

The most impressive thing about this film though, is the casting of Fred Loren’s (Price) wife, Annabelle played by the amazing Carol Ohmart last seen in one of my all time favourite movies, Spiderbaby.

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