Sunday, March 13, 2011

#219. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

DVD Synopsis: Vincent Price stars as a millionaire who invites a group of people to spend a night in his house. If they survive the night they ll get $10,000

















Released in 1959, House on Haunted Hill was produced by William Castle, and for those not familiar with this flamboyant producer, Castle was as much a showman as he was a filmmaker. Many of his “promotions” have since become legendary. For example, he once handed out certificates for a $1,000 life insurance policy in case anyone in the audience “died of fright” while watching his movie. Of course, Castle didn't really need any gimmicks with House on Haunted Hill, because he had a pretty strong draw already in it's star, horror legend Vincent Price, who delivers one of his juiciest performances. 

Millionaire Fredrick Loren (Price) has invited 5 people to join him and his wife (Carol Ohmart) at a party being held in what Loren's been promised is a genuine haunted house. The guests are Psychiatrist Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), newspaper columnist Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum), test pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), The house's owner, Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr), and Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), an employee in one of Loren's companies . As an added bonus, Loren has promised to pay $10,000 to anyone who can spend the entire night in the house (which is bolted shut at midnight and not re-opened until 8 am).  All of the guests, with the exception of the house's owner, believe they're in for an easy pay-day, but the House on Haunted Hill holds a few surprises for them, and when the doors re-open in the morning, some of the guests won't be walking out. 

Trust me when I tell you this is one creepy house. It's owner, Watson Pritchard (played with genuine gloom and doom by the always reliable Elisha Cook Jr.), warns everyone that they're in for the most terrifying night of their lives. “There's been a murder almost everywhere in the house” he says at one point, and claims time and again that the ghosts of those killed are now the real owners. Pritchard begs Loren to cancel the party, and implores any of the other guests who'll listen to leave immediately. It's not long after the doors are bolted that some of them wish they'd heeded his warning. The ceilings drip blood, doors slam closed by themselves, and there's even a pool of acid hidden below a portion of the floor in the basement. But this isn't even the half of it. Crammed into 75 short minutes, House on Haunted Hill has a number of scenes that will simply scare the hell out of you. 

Vincent Price is at his most mysterious in House on Haunted Hill. Shielded at all times by a sarcastic temperament, we're never really sure what his character knows, and what he doesn't know. It's obvious he's assembled these people for a reason, but is the house getting the better of him, too? Is he the one pulling the strings, or is he as helpless as everybody else? House on Haunted Hill keeps us guessing right up to the end, yet this mystery is but a single piece in what turns out to be a very scary, very entertaining puzzle.











34 comments:

Anonymous said...

ooo baby a vincent movie sweet doctor i cant wait to hear your review on it. just dled the audio will be listening during work hours hehe
swanson

Dave Becker said...

Swanson: Yeah, I figured it was time for another Vincent Price film, and this is one of my favorites.

Enjoy the show...there are a few surprises in this episode!

Thanks for stopping by, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Sir,

What an amazing episode, God you guys are so entertaining it is such an enjoyable listen and I can't get enough.

I know you guys rated Countess Dracula low but I have to get it to see this "Gihugantic Sponge." LOL

D.A.B.

Anonymous said...

shock i must know what you said during the beeping on the satanic rites????? this is my favortie episode so far i was ROFL!!!!! great mate!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shock; I loved the Price clip you added from the movie, that alone got me excited to go back and see HonHHill. What a soothing voice and brilliant actor. Mr. Shete is sure a great ad-libber and funny as hell. Mr. Hunter is really coming into his own, he was really funny on this podcast. Mr. Hunter has come a long way since the start. Amazing from Mr. Henrikson that was cool. I could keep going on&on; well done.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for the comments.

D.A.B.: Thanks for the kind words. they are appreciated (and yes, that sponge was ENORMOUS. LOL).

Anonymous: I'll leave the (BEEP) to your imagination (but it really DID need to be edited...this was a horrid movie). Thanks so much for the compliments. I appreciate them more than you could know.

Anonymous (2): Thank you so much for the kind words. I couldn't agree more about Vincent Price's voice (which is why I just HAD to get a clip of it out there). I also couldn't agree with you more regarding my co-hosts. We've all started to gel really well together, and have a great time recording the show. Glad to see you enjoy listening as much as we enjoy making it!

Thanks again, everybody...your comments are appreciated! And thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

congrats on number 1 and thank you for the 2 week special of horror i will be keeping an eye on your blog - previto/italy

Dave Becker said...

Previto: Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for the congrats on Planet Macabre reaching #1. It's a great thrill. And yes, I'll be dedicating the next 2 weeks here to horror films.

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Super show no.8 and now I have to wait 2 more wks for another. :( Bring us more dr. 5 easter movies next holy cow cant believe there is that many in horror.

Rich
Nebraska

Dave Becker said...

Rich: Thanks for stopping by.

Glad you enjoyed ep. 8 (and sorry about the wait between eps). As for the 5 Easter movies, I can honestly say I've seen NONE of the 5 we're covering, so it should prove an interesting show.

Thanks so much for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

great show again another huge hit-buying this movie and the remake from '99 to compare and contrast-f.buckner

Dave Becker said...

f. Buckner: Thanks for stopping by.

I haven't yet seen the remake of HOUSE ON HANUTED HILL, but I'd be interested to see how it measures up against the original. When you've seen both, please stop back and let me know what you thought.

Thanks again, and thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

fab show dave (docshock?) getting the luvers+circus on your rec

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by, and please let me know what you think of the movies after you see them!

Thanks also for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

You know Dr.Shock this would be my favorite horror film ever if it wasn't for Hitchcock. I would of liked to hear more about the movie on the podcast, but I am sure your limited on time and it is truly nice of you to post more details here.

I actually have this on DVD in sealed plastic I saved when it was released on DVD in 1999, then in 2008 they came out with a dual-disc a color and B-W version, that's wrapped too. Such a scary movie for the time.

For your fans, you can rent this on demand for $2.99 but please listen to Dr.Shock and buy this one you will not be disappointed.

Bryan Reed

Anonymous said...

Fun episode on the Planet Pod Doctor. I will be seeking out House on Haunted Hill. During the Easter episode is one of the reviews going to be Donnie Darko? That is the only horror movie I even know of that has a Bunny even though it is really not Easter related.

Meg - Virginia

Anonymous said...

OUTSTANDING reviews of the Hammer Horror Films. The most detailed talk covering movies of this type I have heard. A huge POSITIVE!

Dave Becker said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by.

Bryan: I'm glad you also enjoyed HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, and thanks for the info about it's on-demand availability. And I agree completely: this movie is surprisingly spooky for its time (Thanks also for backing up my 'buy' recommendation. I appreciate it).

Meg: As far as I know, the movies chosen actually have an Easter theme, which I think excludes DONNIE DARKO (a movie I really, really like, BTW). Thanks for listening, and please let me know what you think of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL when you get a chance to check it out.

Anonymous: Thanks so much for the kind words. I only wish we were covering a different period in Hammer's history...I know I would have had more recommendations if we had!

Thanks for listening, everyone!

Anonymous said...

doctor shock,

just grabbed the track on itunes already lookes like a huge success with all the comments. glanced over the ratings and looks like you were out on a limb on a few. cant wait to hear the discussions.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy the show! Please stop back, and let me know what you think once it's finished.

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre

Anonymous said...

i knew the macab pod was special when i found it on google & now knowing there are 75 thousand fans is impressive. congratalation on that top dog position and i can only imagine the fans ever more increasing once they listen.

my friend has this movie and i am going to borrow it since you rated it so high.

one of your fans from the uk

Dave Becker said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, and we're happy you found us! It's excellent having so many loyal listeners.

Please let me know what you thought of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL when you get a chance to watch it.

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Excellent episode, bought this movie at the store yesterday and was very good. I was quite surprised at the quality. This is the first of the Chills DVD's I have purchased and I can tell you I will be getting more. Thaddeus:Germany

Dave Becker said...

Thaddeus: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

I'm glad you enjoyed House on Haunted Hill. It is an entertaining film. Hopefully, I'll be able to give you more picks to match the quality of this one.

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doctor,
There was only 1 horror movie that avg'ed 6 or above rating and that was Vampire Circus, at 6.1, barely, I am getting the Blu-Ray on that and I am also picking up the Uninvited and the Horde on Blu-Ray, a few of the hosts pick.
Excellent show btw.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Yeah, it really wasn't a good selection of films if you're looking to buy them (though I definitely recommend the VAMPIRE CIRCUS Blu-Ray), I'll be picking up THE HORDE myself (seeing as I already have THE UNINVITED).

Thanks for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

i got this 1 per your yesteryr dvd and is good even creeped out the little lady a few times. a+

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for stopping by.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the movie (and I've had some fun creeping out my wife with horror movies over the years as well!).

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre

Anonymous said...

Great "Chills" DVD.

Seen it. Loved it. Udaman.

Dave Becker said...

Udaman: Thanks for stopping by.

I'm glad you enjoyed the movie. Hopefully, I'll have another one you'll like just as much on the next show (which posts one week from today).

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre

Anonymous said...

Super episode Dr., I admire Hammer Productions like you so I was a little surprised of some low ratings on a few by you. I don't think any Hammer Horror deserves a "1" but that is just me.

Your DVD this week is a good one. I even watched it twice over the last week really studying it. A great horror movie indeed.

Sweet T's I really like the "Signature" black design. Well done.

Keep on rolling with the oldies Dr., I will be listening.

Sebastian - England

Dave Becker said...

@Sebastian: Thanks so much for stopping by.

I'm a Hammer fan, but unfortunately their output in the 70's (save a few) was way below the standard they themselves had set in the years prior. I, too, would have never believed I would have given a Hammer film a "1", but then I saw SATANIC RITES...

I'm glad you enjoyed HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, and thanks so much for the kind words. They are appreciated.

Thanks for the comment, and for listening to Planet Macabre.

Anonymous said...

proud 2 b a fan of the podcast ' good dvd selection this wk ' ready 4 more ' wei xuan'singapore

Dave Becker said...

@wei xuan: Thanks so much for the kind words. They are appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed the Podcast, and I'm also happy you liked HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL.

Thanks for listening to Planet Macabre.