Chandler’s Trailers: “House on Haunted Hill” (1999)

0000house“House on Haunted Hill”  (1999)  William Malone’s “House on Haunted Hill”  is a reworking of the William Castle 1959 spook house thriller which is mainly notable as starring the memorable Vincent Price and by its use of theatrical gimmickry with Emergo-  a system whereby a skeleton would go flying over the audience at inopportune moments  -though, despite its cult status, the original film is not very good, a fact born out by even the most liberal scrutiny:  in other words, the ideal kind of film which might serve a reasonable candidate for a remake if one were so inclined. What becomes immediately apparent in the remake is that it takes the fullest advantage of the intervening liberalization of  sensory shock (thanks Dolby Stereo) and gratuitous violence, while becoming less reliant on the all important sense of dread which informs the greatest of horror films, while one might achieve the same level of shock if another audience patron’s suddenly claps their hands loudly behind your head: it may momentarily make you jump, but there’s no pretense of artistry in the action.  Five strangers with no apparent connection are invited (with the promise of a million dollars each for suffering through the evening) to celebrate the birthday of the shrewish wife (Famke Janssen) of eccentric millionaire theme park designer Steven Price (Geoffrey Rush clearly channeling the moustache if not the courtly gentility of Vincent Price), whose specialty seems to be producing needlessly elaborate roller coasters whose thrills are ridiculously designed to only fool patrons for a single use. 

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in Film, Film Reviews, ghosts, horror, movie remakes, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, vincent price and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Chandler’s Trailers: “House on Haunted Hill” (1999)

  1. beetleypete says:

    I saw this in the hope that it might improve on the so-so original. Waste of a ticket, they are both pretty lame.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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