House On Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price was released in 1959 is considered by just about everyone to be Classic. I’ve read that the profits from this film lead Alfred Hitchcock to create Psycho. If that was indeed the case then I owe this film a huge thank you. House on Haunted Hill is also one of a two picture collaboration between Price and Producer/Director William castle with the other film being The Tingler.
House on Haunted Hill tells the story of Millionare Frederick Loren (played by Vincent Price) who throws a party for his wife Annabelle (played by Carol Ohmart) and invites 5 guests. The party is to take place inside a haunted house and to any guest that’s brave enough to stay the whole night wins 10000. Each Guest is given a loaded .45 caliber pistol to defend themselves. But during the tour two of the guests get attacked escalating leading to a Annabelle hanging her self. The party members are scared in a state of hysteria leading to the climax the houses wine cellar.
Vincent Price is perfect in the role of Frederick Loren. He’s a character I really love to hate. While not the films antagonist which I found surprising. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of Vincent Price. Now before anyone gets up in a tizzy over that statement. I have great respect for the man and his life’s work but there’s something about him I normally just don’t like and quite put my finger on it. But Price is simply glorious in this film and I have no complaints about his performance.
But I do have complaints to level against this film. First is that everyone is locked in so after its later relieved that Annabelle faked her hanging who did she get outside? I know this could be explained away as easy as saying that the house was never truly locked or that there’s was an exit that Prices character didn’t know about. It doesn’t seem like something he would over look and its never explained in the film so I can’t help think it’s a blatent goof.
Another is the end of the film gets a bit to campy for my tastes. The skeleton looks beyond fake and I have a hard time seeing how anyone no matter the state of mind they’re in could mistake it. Loren is loaded so I can’t imagine he would skimp on the skeleton when hes giving away 50k at least for this party.
Most of the supporting cast isnt as memoriable. They fit the function that their characters are required to perform just fine. But no one can stand up the Price’s charisma in this film so they all come off bland. Some key memebers of the supporting cast are also guilty of the sin of over acting. Not campy just overacting and that’s something that always grinds my gears.
So at the end of the day what do I think of House on Haunted Hill? I liked it and found it worth the watch. I also concur its a classic and is superior to its much bloodier 1999 remake. So I would defiantly recommend it to be watched. But the Over campyness and its plots no mater how tiny they may be in this case drag the film down a bit. So all in all I give House on Haunted Hill 7/10