Film Archive · horror

House on Haunted hill (1959)

house_on_haunted_hill posterA classic horror film from 1959 directed by William Castle, starring the great and late Vincent Price. Mr. Price plays the role of Frederik Loren, a millionaire fascinated by ghosts. Along with his fourth wife Annabelle, Frederik invites five people to a haunted house only to promise each and every one of them a generous amount of ten thousand dollars if they were to last an entire night.

Vincent Price is as horrifying as always. In House On Haunted Hill he manages to take charge over a situation he didn’t necessarily create, and he does it  profoundly well. Just hearing his voice gives me the creeps, and for that I admire him even more. Whether the cruel villain or the aristocratic unpleasant man, Mr. Price claims his thrown as king of horror. The role of Frederik Loren suits him well, as he is constantly teasing his wife on her failure of trying to murder him and get all his money. He is oozing with confidence that he’ll get his way no matter how slim chances might seem to be. The final laughter is always his.  Now that is a classic Vincent Price.

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Vincent Price as Frederik Loren

I loved watching this film for the second time. I forgot the plot, and I was surprised all over again. I always wander… if someone offered me to stay an entire night in a haunted house, would I do it? mmm… I probably would, only I would be scared shitless. Ten thousand dollars is something I could definitely use at any time, ghosts or no ghosts. I appreciate the idea behind the effects made in this film. Not many of them make sense, and you can often see the string that holds the moving skeleton… The screaming sounds are over the top and everything is so freakin’ dramatic. That’s exactly why I love old horror films! I didn’t even realize this film was available on Netflix, but I guess my odd selections kind of led me to it.

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House on Haunted Hill had a remake in 1999 by director William Malone with Geoffrey Rush as the rich millionaire. Was that a coincidence that he was named Stephen H. Price in this film? What a nice tribute to the genius who can never be replaced. No offense, Geoffrey, I love you too.

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