House on Haunted Hill


Stephen Price invites you to attend a celebration for his wife’s birthday. Those who choose to attend are eligible to walk away with the sum of $1,000,000 – should you survive the night in The House on Haunted Hill.

This is a remake of the 1959 movie, of the same title, starring Vince Price. As a fan of horror, there is little not to like here. The story is pretty solid, the actors are good.. with the only real weak link being comedian Chris Kattan. For 1999, the effects where pretty good.

Here’s an interesting note on the “Darkness” effect. The entity is actually formed from video footage of a nude woman dancing, the image was repeated hundreds of times, and given a “Kaleidoscopic” effect to repeat the image into a supernatural visage.

The story shares a lot of elements with its 1959 counterpart. Including the disdain the two main characters have for each other. A marriage made in hell. The guests given guns as party favors, Also Mr Pritchett as an unwilling participant in the night’s activities.

From there, the story diverges. Spoilers!!

Stephen Price, owner of Price Entertainment (a chain of amusement parks), and his wife are at each other’s throats (literally). To celebrate her birthday, she decides to have a big party at the Vannacutt Institute. An asylum for the criminally insane, which has been closed since it burned down in the 1930’s, where the mad Doctor Vannacutt used to perform illegal experiments on his patients. The established guest list is erased and altered (presumably by supernatural forces) to include descendants of the institutes surviving staff. One by one, the guests either go missing, or are outright murdered by the ghostly apparitions of the house, until only two remain and survive until dawn.

Here are a few things I have to nitpick about.

  • The “Darkness” Entity, though elaborate in effect..  relies on mirroring. So, they only really did one half of the effect. It’s very noticeable.
  • The Ghost of Pritchett saves them at the end? Nope, bad choice.
  • Pritchetts ranting is more annoying than anything else.. even Geoffrey Rush’s facial expressions toward him is like “are you kidding?”

Outside of that, good movie. Not for kids though.

Author: Jethal