House On Haunted Hill

1958, Movie, NR, 75 mins

Review

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Horror producer-director William Castle churned out a series of well-made little creepies that used outrageous gimmicks to pull folks into the theaters, and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL was no exception. At a specified terrifying moment theater owners were supposed to release a full-sized skeleton that would "leap" from the screen and zip over the heads of the audience suspended on an invisible wire. It may have worked the first time, but clever moviegoers soon got wise, waited for the skeleton to appear, and pelted it with candy, prompting theater owners to bring a quick halt to the in-house "special effects" nonsense. Luckily, Castle's films are okay even without the gimmicks. In this one, Vincent Price stars as Frederick Loren, the owner of a haunted mansion who offers $10,000 to anyone dumb enough to attempt spending an entire night there. Price is delightfully hammy as he hands the brave guests little coffins that contain handguns for their protection. While Loren happily tries to scare the wits out of his guests, his wife (Carol Ohmart) and her lover (Alan Marshal) attempt to arrange things so that Frederick will be shot "accidentally" by one of the guests. Silly, but good fun. leave a comment

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