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House on Haunted Hill

Vincent Price , Carol Ohmart , William Castle    Unrated   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 46.36
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House on Haunted Hill + House of Wax (1953) (Bilingual)
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William Castle's gimmick-laden comic thriller is not so much a horror movie as a fairground funhouse come to life. Vincent Price stars as a deliciously silky millionaire married to a greedy gold digger (Carol Ohmart) who refuses to divorce him. When he turns his wife's idea for a haunted-house party into a contest--$10,000 to whoever will spend the night in "the only truly haunted house in the world"--it seems he may have found an alternative to divorce. Five strangers gather to test their stamina, Price hands each of them delightfully twisted party favors (loaded handguns, delivered in their own tiny coffins), and the spook show begins. Blood drips from the ceiling, zombielike apparitions float through rooms, severed heads and skeletons suddenly appear, and then a guest is found hanging in the stairwell. Full of screams and things that go bump in the night, House on Haunted Hill isn't particularly scary and often makes little sense, but, like a Halloween haunted house, the spectacle of spook-show clichés is quite entertaining, and Price makes a sardonic master of ceremonies. The original theatrical presentations featured a typically outrageous Castle-engineered gimmick: Emergo, which was nothing more than a skeleton that appeared to fly out of the screen and over the audience on a guide wire. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars a Vincent Price classic March 19 2004
what we seem to have is a battle between the unknown. this is classic horror, done in a melodramatic way, much like the Universal horror classics of the early '30s where all you needed was mystery, atmosphere, and an outrageous plot. now, sadly, everything apparently has to be realistic and not fantastic? that's a shame. This 1958 classic is about a man who allows several people the chance to compete against one another: the game is that the people have to survive a night's stay at the house and whoever does wins a fortune. Vincent is his suave best in this, appearing the way he would become stereotyped: tall, wearing a suit, having a thin mustache, and those beady eyes ready to pierce into someone's soul with that classic Vincent stare. William Castle directed this movie. It's campy, of course. 1958 horror, and nearly every horror film afterward was geared toward teenagers at drive-in's and this film is one of Price's best. His icy dialogue to his nagging, arrogant wife is great and she gets what she has coming to her...by way of a hilariously campy skeleton who's coming toward her with a gun. the senseless remake was un-called for. even though it brought some publicity for this 1958 original, the remake didn't have Vincent's heart and soul nor did it have much camp value. this 1958 version is the one you should look for...a must-have for ALL Vincent Price fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old Price Classic is that pure fun! Oct. 29 2003
William Castle at his gimmicky best! A Classic, spooky Black and White, with deliciously devilish Vincent Price as millionaire with a bored gold-digger wife. She wants a Halloween party with her friends, Price tosses a party all right, but not with the people of her choosing. He offers $10,000 dollars to five stranger if they will join him and his wife in spending Halloween night in a truly haunted house. One of the 5 is a young Elisha Cooke, family of the former owners who died in the house, and he leads them on a murder tour. To jazz things up, Price passes out "party favors" - guns. And it's a race to find out whether Price of his wife will be the last one standing. This movie is a grandfather of nearly every clichés, blooding dripping from the ceiling, dark mysterious corridors, a witchy woman floating around and vanishing - and the topper that organ music!! This is more like a Halloween Fun house ride than a movie! Price is campy and has great fun with the role, with super lines, especially when fussing with his less than happy wife.
Castle originally devised this movie with "special touches" for the audiences, like ghost on wires gloating through the audience of people in costume sitting down beside you to enhance the fun house feel.
Just plain fun and a wee trip down memory lane.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the night. Aug. 25 2003
Five people are challenged to spend the night in a haunted house. As you can see, this flick just oozes with original ideas. This fright festival of 1959 vintage has a treasured place in the realm of "so bad, it's good" nostalgia that keeps aging baby boomers going. Schlock director William Castle pulls out all the stops in this hilarious re-working of the "haunted house" cliches. The humor is no doubt unintentional, but who cares? It's still funny 40 years later. Vincent Price mugs his way through the script looking pained and worried in all the expected places. The obligatory vat of acid in the basement serves its usual purpose. As the screaming Nora Manning encounters the dead woman hanging in the stairway, a monstrous hand reaches around the corner and grabs for her. This tidbit of terror goes otherwise unexplained. Another thing that leaves the viewer wondering is the spot on the ceiling that drips blood. It's spooky, but the script takes it nowhere. The house itself looks more as an ancient Egyptian temple than the Victorian manse that typically populates haunted house stories. Elisha Cook hangs around as the descendant of the original owner. When he is drunk enough he gloomily foretells doom. The old lady who floats through the basement is a great funhouse moment. Put it all together and it is fine fun, in a reverse sort of a way. Watch it on Halloween or any time that Saturday matinee nonsense is warranted. The cleaned-up DVD version is more palatable than the lower grade VHS edition that previously haunted our movie shelf. Recommended for multiple viewing. ;-)
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Quality So Bad It's Not Worth It
With over 500 DVDs and BluRays in our collection this is the first where the technical quality is so truly awful I would rather not have had the movie than put up with this. Read more
Published 23 months ago by P. Hobin
4.0 out of 5 stars Only the ghosts are glad we're here
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? Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2009 by E. A Solinas
3.0 out of 5 stars entertaining ,if a bit overacted
i found this movie entertaining.it has some spooky moments,to be
sure,but i wouldn't say it was scary,but it is a nifty little
mystery. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2008 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars "House on Haunted Hill (1959) ... William Castle ... 20th Century Fox...
20th Century Fox present "HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL" (released: February 17, 1959) (75 mins) (B&W/Color Versions) - Under William Castle (Director / Producer), Robb White... Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2007 by J. Lovins
5.0 out of 5 stars The ghosts are waiting
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? Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2007 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Schlocky yet creepy
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? Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2007 by E. A Solinas
4.0 out of 5 stars The classic that's fun and scary.
This movie is over all scary, the opening scene sets the stage for a film that was way ahead of it's time. Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by Drums
I absolutley loved this movie. The script writting is wonderful,the acting is treamendous and the surprises you will see in this movie keep you at the end of your seat. Read more
Published on March 19 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Stupid!
This film was a bit basic, as it is such an old film it lacks realistic quality, i would recommend this to people who very much like black and white movies, this is not one for the... Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Holds up today.
This b&W horror movie featuring Vincent Price is a gem. It's suspenseful, features some decent acting, and is fun to watch.
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by NHgboy
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