Film Reviews, Short Review

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

3/4

Director William Castle’s two films with everyone’s favourite murderous scientist/widower/moustachioed Victorian amalgamation Vincent Price are both entertainingly preposterous campy 50s horrors right at home in that era’s B-movie aesthetic, with gimmicks and schlock aplenty. The Tingler (1959) has an edge of thematic subtlety that allows it to blossom into a genuinely brilliant film, but House on Haunted Hill is still an amusing trip. The scares are hardly more developed than your average funfair ghost train, but they’re delivered with enough of a knowing wink to make the film worth watching, particularly with Price to hold things together. Admittedly, watching it at home means you miss out on the gimmick that Castle deployed at the time: during the appropriate scene, a skeleton held up by wires would pop out of a box by the screen and start hovering over the audience. Oh the fun we’ve missed.

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