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Default House On Haunted Hill



Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: October 13, 1999

Released by: Warner Brothers
Release date: 10/26/1999
MSRP: $19.98
Region 1, NTSC
1.85:1 aspect ratio - letterboxed | 16x9: yes | P&S: yes - Side B



Campy 50's horror film starring Vincent Price gets a standard DVD release from Warner Brothers.

The Story

Five people are invited to a party by millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price. If the guests are able to stay the entire night and survive they will each be paid $10,000 dollars. Once midnight hits the guests cannot turn back, they must stay the night. The five guests range from a psychiatrist to a typist. The one thing they all have in common is the need for the $10,000 they'll get for successfully making it through the night at House on Haunted Hill.

Strange things start to happen once the guests arrive at the house. Norra Manning (Carolyn Craig) gets the worst of these strange events. First a chandelier almost falls on her head. Next she sees a "ghost" appearing in the form of an old woman. A severed head is found in her bedroom. She is the only one who sees these things and the others begin to suspect she is becoming hysterical.

By the time midnight nears Norra decides she will not stay the night. Unfortunately, the caretakers leave early and it's too late - she's locked in the house for the entire night. Soon someone turns up dead and the remaining group realizes that no one can be trusted. They must survive the night armed with handguns which were given to them as "party favors" held in small caskets. Are there really ghosts in the house responsible for the death or is this an elaborate scheme planned by someone(s)?


This was an entertaining film. My wife and I watched the film together for the first time and we both enjoyed it. It's full of cheap scares which I've come to expect from some of these 50's films, but nonetheless it's still an entertaining film. It didn't scare me or creep me out at all, but I can certainly see that it could've scared quite a few people during its theatrical run of the 50's. There's lots of plot twists that I found enjoyable. It was nice to see a film that wasn't easily predictable.

Any film starring horror icon Vincent Price is worth seeing at least once. Probably not something I'd recommend everyone go out and buy but it's definitely worth a rental.

Image Quality

House of Haunted Hill is presented in its original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen TVs. A P&S transfer is available on side B of the DVD. The image was clear throughout the film and the blacks and whites were solid. There were some speckles showing up throughout the film and I also saw a number of nicks and scratches appear. Given the film is 16x9 I expected a cleaner transfer. Still, the film is over 40 years old so one can't complain too much. Overall it was a fair transfer and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any fans of the film buy it. The few problems that exist don't warrant not purchasing it all together.

Sound

House on Haunted Hill contains Dolby Digital mono sound. Dialogue was clear as well as the music and sound effects.

Supplemental Material

Theatrical trailer. Nice trailer; narrated by Vincent Price.



Final Thoughts

I have no doubt this is the best presentation of House on Haunted Hill that exists today. However, I know Warner could've done a little better with this transfer. For any fans I'd definitely recommend buying it. For anyone who hasn't seen I'd it's worth the cost of a rental.

Rating

Movie - B
Image Quality - B
Sound - B+
Supplements - C

Technical Info.
  • B&W
  • Running Time - 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Not Rated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter stops
  • Mono sound
Supplements
  • Theatrical trailer
Other Pictures

 

 

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