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House on Haunted Hill [Import]
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
sure,but i wouldn't say it was scary,but it is a nifty little
mystery.the basic premise is that a group of people are invited to
spend the Night in a reputed Haunted House.if they survive the
Night,they are given $10,000 each.naturally strange things happen with
no apparent reason.there is a bit of overacting here and a few things
are a bit overdone,but that just adds to the fun of the movie.the
special effects are very quaint by today's standards,but i have no
doubt they were effective back then.there isn't a lot of music in this
movie,and i think it could have benefited a bit from more,to heighten
the mood.all in all,though,a pretty decent film.for me,House on Haunted
Hill is a 3/5
I watched both versions on my traditional 4:3 square television set. I also pulled out my 1997 Warner VHS and compared many scenes on it with the two versions on the DVD. The comparison leads to disappointing conclusions.
The "widescreen version" shows the usual black bands on the top and bottom, but the ratio (I measured the screen image with a measuring tape) is only 1.65:1, not 1.85:1 which was the original theatrical ratio. It's not a huge difference, but I think Amazon customers should know this. More important, the for some reason I cannot grasp (it makes no sense geometrically), even with the 1:65 to 1 ratio, the widescreen version shows virtually *no* information at the sides of the picture that is not shown in the non-widescreen DVD or in the VHS; and since I bought the DVD for the purpose of getting the full image as shown in theatres, I felt ripped off by Warner.
And it gets worse. In addition to showing virtually no more width than my old VHS version shows, the widescreen version shows much less at the top and bottom; in one scene several pictures high on the wall in a room are completely cut off in the widescreen DVD, whereas the VHS shows them; and in several other scenes things near the bottom (parts of people's hands, table legs, etc.) are cut out in the widescreen DVD version. So basically, for "widescreen" I got the same picture I already had on VHS, only cut off at the top and bottom.Read more ›
"The House on Haunted Hill" is one of those rare horror movies that seems as fresh as if it were made yesterday. The script is clever, the acting is solid, and while the direction is a bit on the hammy side, the plot is clever enough to keep viewers riveted until the final twist. It's horror, myster and dark comedy all in one.
Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) decides to host a macabre birthday party for his devious wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), in the "House on Haunted Hill." He invites a test pilot, a columnist, a secretary and the house's unbalanced owner, and offers each one ten thousand dollars if they stay all night. Chandeliers fall, doors slam shut, and they get to see the wine vat full of acid.
But as the night goes on, poor Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig) begins to see specters and rotted heads. The others think she's hysterical -- until Annabelle is found hanging in the hallway, dead. The unfortunate guests start to suspect that Loren brought them there to murder them (except for the owner, who blames ghosts). But the truth is far more complex and sinister....
William Castle made a lot of slightly kitschy horror movies like "13 Ghosts" and "The Tingler," but this clever twist on haunted-house movies is probably his best work ever. Okay, that dancing skeleton is unintentionally funny, as is the gliding crone. But most of the time, it provides some in-your-face chills and great work from Price.
This movie has solid dialogue ("Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?") and some truly wicked exchanges between Price and Ohmart, as spouses who completely loathe one another.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The storyline in this DVD was great as was the final dénouement (outcome). The all star cast makes it even more interesting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jean-paul N. Mertens
I love all of Vincent Price's films - he was an excellent actor. A good horror story without too much superfluous bloodshed as we get in today's movies.Published 10 months ago by William Griffiths
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 morePublished on Sept. 28 2012 by P. Hobin
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 morePublished on Aug. 3 2007 by E. A Solinas
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 morePublished on Feb. 22 2007 by E. A Solinas
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... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2004 by Christopher Jackson
This movie is over all scary, the opening scene sets the stage for a film that was way ahead of it's time. Read morePublished 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 morePublished on March 19 2004