I’ve swooned over the original charmingly vintage macabre posters for the 1959 House on Haunted Hill for years, and finally sat down to watch the actual movie for the first time this week. Granted, I streamed the Rifftrax version, so I was giggling more than squirming with scares; but despite the unintentional laughs and expected campiness, this classic horror has some genuine creepiness and a surprisingly steady plot to offer.
A mysterious millionaire, played by horror icon Vincent Price, gathers a group of five strangers to attend a “party” for his estranged wife in an allegedly haunted murder house where they are each promised $10,000 if they stay locked in the entire night. One of the guests, the nervous and wimpy owner, professes the doom and gloom they’re all in for, claiming a murderous spirit and ghosts of the murdered linger within the house. As to be expected, characters wander off and find themselves screaming back to the group with wild allegations that set the story in classic whodunit motion. House on Haunted Hill is a fantastic little low-budget horror full of the right amount of camp and thrills, and a double twist at the end, to make it a highly recommended watch for both horror fans and appreciators of classic black-and-white cinema.