As a first post, let’s hit on something I find randomly nostalgic. House on Haunted Hill is a 1999 remake of a Vincent Price classic. It was also the horror movie that made me into the scare-seeker I am today. The very first horror film I could sit through and not want to run and pray to the porcelain gods. I believe I was fourteen or so, and my brother had rented it for us to watch after school. I knew something was up when I saw that mischievous twinkle in his eye, the arched eyebrow (ala Ace Ventura–he did a killer impression), and the curled upper lip.
What I hadn’t planned for was a movie that would become a huge part of my life for years. I watched it over and over until I could recite each line of each character. I even wrote a short story about it later on, including some of my own characters that I made up. The film even inspired me into a short-lived career of paranormal investigation. Yes. You read that correctly. But that’s a story for another time.
The film stars Geoffrey Rush as a business tycoon named Steven Price who makes a living building amusement park rides. But his biggest thrill is scaring the ever-loving hell out of anyone and everyone. Famke Janssen plays Price’s wife in the film. Janssen’s character seems like a perfect match for her hubby as her character wants nothing more than to have her yearly birthday bash at the most haunted location she can find. Thanks to Peter Graves, she finds an abandoned asylum on top a hill where the inmates one day rose up and murdered the entire staff. A guest list is made, but after “mysterious circumstances,” four people arrive to the party who are unrecognized by both Price’s.
Understandably, wife is upset and hubby is only mildly-amused, thinking she’s pulled another of her odd tricks on him. Price decides he’d still like to have a little fun, however, so he takes down the names of the other four guests and promises them each $1 million if they can survive the night in the asylum. Once he explains this, however, an ancient mechanism kicks into gear, covering each door and window in steel plates. Everyone is trapped.
I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t seen the film yet, but it’s great for cheap scares and thrills. I wouldn’t say it’s the best movie out there, but it holds a special place in my heart. And upon re-watching it last night, I felt an odd sense of unease. And that’s possibly because my investigations into the paranormal have lead me into some questionable locations where I may have been victims like the characters in the film (without the $1 million, of course).
Either way, it’s not as great as the original film (which I also suggest watching), but it does its job as a decent remake by upping the horror and gore factor to a modern scale.
Is there another film you can think of that had a decent/bad/amazing remake? Let me know your thoughts.