|OpenFlix > House on Haunted Hill|
As for the plot, Mr. Loren (Price) is an eccentric man of wealth throwing a haunted house party for his wife--wife number four, and she is as anxious to kill him as he is to kill her. Five strangers make up the party guests--a former test pilot, a society newspaper columnist, a psychiatrist, an unassuming, vulnerable young lady, and the house's owner Pritchard, who incessantly tells the story of the murders having taken place in the house and continually warns everyone (in between drinks) that the ghosts will never let them survive the night. Each guest has been promised the incredible sum of $10,000 if he/she can survive the night inside the house. Naturally, weird things start to happen, and then all of the party goers find themselves locked in the house prematurely with no hope of escape until morning. Loren distributes the party favors--handguns housed in little miniature coffins. Naturally, rather than stay together, the houseguests end up wandering around on their own, and Norah is especially traumatized throughout the evening by what she sees and experiences. Mrs. Loren is soon found hanging above the stairwell, and the night really starts going downhill after that for everyone else. There are games afoot, the full extent of which are not revealed until the ending of the film. In its original theatrical release, the ever so fiendish director William Castle had a skeleton rigged inside each theater that would appear above the audience's heads at the appropriate time...
This is definitely one of the finer horror movies ever made. The effects may seem somewhat silly to modern audiences, but the simplest frights are often the most effective. The ending is not altogether disappointing, which is another plus. The plot itself is gratifyingly complex and twisted. Anyone with an interest in the horror genre should find this Vincent Price gem to be quite a hoot.
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