Sunday, October 5, 2014

Halloween Movie Month: House on Haunted Hill

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Netflix instant

House on Haunted Hill is a classic, so most fans of horror are probably already familiar with the plot (even if they haven't actually seen it).  But, if you haven't seen it, it's about a millionaire that invites five guests to his haunted house.  Anyone who is able to make it through the night will receive $10,000.  Among the five people who were invited, one of them is allegedly the only person who had ever survived a night in the house.

I saw the remake with Geoffrey Rush several years ago, but this is the first time that I had ever seen the original.  It has been several years since I saw the remake, so I can't remember too much about the quality of the film.  I remember thinking that there were some good parts, but I don't remember being terribly impressed with it (if I get a chance to rewatch the remake, I will post my review).

Even though I don't remember the remake being terribly good, I really enjoyed the original.  There is something about classic horror movies that are just plain creepy!  Rather than relying on blood, gore, and cgi to provide the scares, classic movies rely on practical effects and play on more base-level fears that stick with you after the movie is over.  The first time there is a genuine scare in House on Haunted's creepy.  Even though some of the dialogue is presented in a somewhat cheesy manner sometimes, the stories about the ghosts are presented with a level of conviction that draws you into the story.

The biggest downside about this movie is the sound quality.  The dialogue is pretty quiet, so I kept turning up the volume.  But, anytime anyone would scream, it would almost be deafening.  I was constantly turning the volume up and down every few minutes.  It wouldn't have been much of a problem to leave the volume up, if it weren't for the fact that I didn't want my neighbors to get the wrong impression of what was happening in my place.

House on Haunted Hill started out a little slow, but as it goes along, Vincent Price's character becomes increasingly creepy.  His portrayal is one of the biggest factors that helps gives this movie it's scares.

Rating:  3.5/5

Recommendation:  This is a definite watch!  Whether you are just a casual fan of scary movies and only watch them during Halloween, or you are a hardcore horror fan, I think that House on Haunted Hill will help get you ready for Halloween.

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

-The Gargyle


  1. William Castle directed this golden goose. What a character this dude was! He used silly gimmicks to attract his audiences to the theaters. 13 Ghosts and The Tingler! Were some of his more remembered features as well. Gotta check that guy out. Neat guy, that Castle.

  2. Check it out!