“If I were gonna haunt somebody, this would certainly be the house I’d do it in.”Lance Schroeder
Unashamedly a B-movie shocker, House on Haunted Hill is a quintessential haunted house film that remains enjoyable today. Its setup is now a classic: an eccentric millionaire offers a group of strangers $10,000 each if they will spend a night in a haunted house (the exterior facade used is Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright); death ensues. As one might expect, the performances are split between overacting and entirely wooden, save for Vincent Price’s wonderfully enigmatic host. His jovially combative relationship with his wife (“Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?” he asks) provides the most compelling intrigue. By contrast, the guests are largely forgettable or ill-used. The atmosphere is midlly creepy in an entertaining way rather than ever being truly scary, no matter what thr frequent high-pitched shrieks may suggest. House on Haunted Hill may not be clever, but it knows how to have fun with its schlocky bag of tricks like floating aparitions and a deadly acid pit.