House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Five guests have been invited to the spooky old mansion atop Haunted Hill, despite none of them knowing their host.  They have been promised $10,000 each if they can just stay there through the night.  You see, other than being home to cobwebs and dust, the mansion is also home to seven grisly murders over the past 100 years. We are unsure of the motives of the hosts, Mr. Loren (Vincent Price) and his wife. But we do know that the couple has each tried to kill one another on multiple occations for one reason or another.  Our party guests: a typist, a test pilot, a physiatrist, and journalist and the owner of the house who is too scared to go into it, show up for what they think will be easy money.

As the night goes on, a few people believe they see ghosts, but it turns out to be the creepy old caretakers. Once those scary creeps leave for the night, stuff starts to go down on the real tip: starting with the death of Mrs. Loren.  She is found hanged in the stairway and it’s clear she couldn’t have done it to herself.  The group realizes that there is a murderer among them, and whoever it is, is planning on pinning their crimes on the ghosts in the house.

Alex’s Thoughts: Having first seen the awful 1999 re-make of this movie I thought I knew what I was in for: a campy haunted house movie with cheap scares and rubber masks. And that is exactly what I got… for the first half of the movie.  It turns from a horror movie into a ‘who-dunnit’ murder mystery very quickly.  While the ending and the killer were pretty obvious, how the movie got to that part was a nice surprise.  This is classic Vincent Price, and although dated and not very scary should be a must watch for classic horror fans. Alex Rates This Movie 7/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: This is a prime example of why Vincent Price is a legend, only Peter Lorre could pull of a character like this, and he wouldn’t have been as charming. Every time I watch this, I am drawn in by the opening credits, and I never escape. Yes it’s dated, but it’s a lot of fun, and I can imagine how scary this must have seemed in 1958. It was helped by being part of an era when gimmicks were used to enhance the viewing experience. For House On Haunted Hill, they had a skeleton on a wire that would swing out over the audience during a key scene. Not for everyone, but this is definitely for me, good classic horror movie fun. Tim Rates This Movie 9/10

“It’s almost time to lock up the house and then your party will really begin. I wonder how it will end…”

 View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue