House on Haunted Hill

Dir: William Castle
Star: Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carolyn Craig, Carol Olmart

Things the Movies Teach Us, #283 (do not walk backwards in rooms containing acid pits) and #284 (women with an obvious disposition to hysteria should probably not be handed loaded firearms). Price plays an eccentric millionaire, throwing a party at which five guests get locked in a mansion, with the lure of $50,000 to be divided among the survivors. But not everyone is what they seem... Robb White's script walks the tightrope deftly between sarcasm and scares, while poor Carolyn Craig runs around, screams and gets rescued by Richard Long's square-jawed and painfully earnest test pilot. But this is Vincent Price's movie, bitchily snapping at his wife (Olmart), with neither of them bothering to disguise their hatred. While most of the scares here will fail to frighten a third millennium audience, Price drags this one up by its boot-straps, through sheer presence and you will keep watching for the most primal of movie-going reasons - to see what happens next. The recent remake added 20 minutes and digital effects, cost almost 100 times as much, and wasn't nearly as much fun.


The Price is right
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