House On Haunted Hill

Today we have the film that introduced me to the 3rd master of Horror, Mr. Vincent Price. A classic, low budget Haunted House film that is hugely enjoyable from start to finish. William Castle’s ‘House On Haunted Hill’ from 1959!!

The only thing you need to know about this film is that Vincent Price is an acting genius and he has such a good time in his role as Frederick Loren, a mysterious millionaire who invites a group of people to a newly rented manor and dares them to stay a night for $10,000. As you can probably guess by that premise…events transpire.

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Elisha Cook as Watson Pritchard giving the simplistic, chilling opening monologue to the film

The entire film is an absolute blast, I can’t stress that enough…it’s definitely one of the most fun, entertaining horror films I personally own and Price is the main reason why. Any film he is in can be enjoyed so easily due to his incredibly charming and hugely likeable prescence…not to mention the man’s voice is one of the finest in cinema history.

But there is more to the film than Price of course.

Other notable performances come from Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren, Frederick’s wife who is the one who decides to throw the haunted house party for these people and chooses the 5 of them specifically. And from Elisha Cook, the owner of the manor who brings a chilling and murderous backstory to the house with him that begins the night with a macabre tone.

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Annabelle Loren cornered in terror by a ‘risen’ skeleton

Macabre is the perfect word to describe this film…it’s chilling atmosphere and the unpredictability of it’s twisty-turny story perfectly create a film that is both incredibly entertaining and edge-of-your-seat intense. I honestly think that the least you know about this film before you go into it, the better. It’s just such an unpredictable ride that giving you anything more than a simple premise and assuring you that it’ll greatly entertain you would be too much.

Of course, like I said, this is the film that introduced me to the great Vincent Price so I hold it in high regard due to that aspect too but that’s not to take anything else away from the film…I’d never watched anything with Price before my first viewing of this and I still very much enjoyed it. My now developed love for Price as a horror actor and master of the macabre simply add enjoyment to repeat viewings.

House on Haunted Hill is just one of many highly notable horror films that Price starred in around this time, making him a genre great. These other films include: House of Wax (1953), The Tingler (1959), The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) and a film that will feature later on our journey, Witchfinder General (1969). Sadly, I do not own nearly as many of these films as I want to but have strong plans to add them to my horror collection.

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Master Price, the legend himself, as Frederick Loren

Vincent Price is a true delight and House on Haunted Hill is one of his better films…a must watch for any horror fan.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss what is unofficially, the first slasher film, possibly my favourite of the sub-genres. From 1960, this film has gone down in history as one of the great films of all time and it’s director, a short, portly Londoner will forever be recognised as a true genius of cinema…I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Let me know your thoughts on this film in the comments and contact me at morgan@thepurpledon.com if you have any inquiries or suggestions for improvements to posts!

The Journey Continues Tomorrow

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