Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mocking Halloween: House on Haunted Hill (1999)

This was one of the first R-rated horror movies I saw on television and I was about 10 or 11 years old. I was so thrilled to see it, since my parents wouldn’t take me to the theaters, that I stayed up half the night to wait for it. When I got a little older I bought the DVD so that I can treasure that memory forever. Watching it now, on the big screen with a good sound system really puts the movie in perspective. My God Malone, that was one of the cheesiest, tackiest cornball of a movie I have seen since 2001 Maniacs. It’s obvious that this movie is heavily riddled with typical over-the-top Hollywood gimmicks and styles but this movie goes overboard with it at times.

As I sat in my chair I couldn’t help but notice how flashy and corny some of the scare tactics were in this film. Case in point: When Miss Marr is attacked by a ghost the film goes into this bombardment of obscure and surreal images that make no sense and contribute nothing to the film. It’s only there to leave the audience wondering the fuck is going on. The camera sways back and forth around the characters creating the old horror movie cliché of being surrounded by some force. There is flashy lighting, crazy camera filters, weird ghostly sounds that are struddled all over and the overused technique of the shaky headed ghosts. Even more so, the film uses a slew of one-liners and very scripted dialogue. Actually, I even remember a Scooby-Doo style montage of all the characters investigating the house.

House on Haunted Hill was made to scare modern audiences and you can tell that right off the bat with it’s flashy aspects. It doesn’t have the subtly and the charm of the original and it had Generation X written all over it. It proves that aesthetics and gloss don’t always make a good horror movie.


download movie said...

The cast are all pretty good and do `camp' when necessary but don't take away from the terror that's coming later. Rush plays nicely to the camp in his homage to Price's role in the original.

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