Plot Twists: 7/10
Vincent Price’s Moustache: 10/10 + A Gold Star
I was skeptical at first as to whether this movie deserved to be on here. After all, could I really claim that Vincent Price made a bad movie? Short answer: Yes. True, it is a classic in every sense of the word, but it still crosses that line into “why-did-you-think-this-was-a-good-idea” territory. Does that mean that I love it any less? Let me answer that question with another question(and bad analogy): do you have a favorite child or pet that you love more than the others? Of course you do, so of course it is fair to say that I love this movie less than my other children(children=reviewed movies….i think)….and since that logical argument is sound, you can understand why I still love Vincent Price, and why he has found a home here on the Island of Misfit Movies(totally should have named my blog that…).
Vincent Price plays millionaire Frederick Loren, who has invited several random people to a party at a haunted house(on a hill). He has offered to pay each one $10,000 dollars to attend, provided that they can stay the whole night and be alive in the morning. I think $10,000 back then is like $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 today(according to Wikipedia), so all of the guests were extremely willing to oblige, despite the ominous tone of the invite. The party was the idea of Frederick’s wife, Annabelle, who seems to have a strange sense of humor, and doesn’t even want to actually attend the party. We see right away that their marriage is fragile due to Frederick’s temper and Annabelle’s disinterest, and as they joke about killing one another(both actually completely serious), the story takes on a heavier tone(since a creepy haunted house isn’t heavy enough).
The guests are introduced one by one, and include various people from the owner of the house to a pilot, and from a poor old gambler to a young and attractive employee of Frederick’s. As they begin to mingle, strange noises and occurences prompt them to believe that the house really is haunted, so they do the only logical thing: begin to split up and explore the house. Frederick joins them to add terror and class to the conversations, allowing each person to gain their own opinion of his true motives. He shows them various rooms where different murders have occurred, and even reveals that the house is equipped with an acid pit that dissolves everything except bones(and fishing line). Where is Annabelle during all of this?
It would seem that she has a sinister plan for her husband, whom she openly dislikes. She wants him dead, but wants his money as well, so a straight up murder would be out of the question. She wants to have it look like an accident, so she arranged this party in the hopes that she could frighten someone so badly that they would accidentally shoot Frederick, leaving her a rich widow. The worst part of this plan is that it works. The young employee gets left in the dark holding a gun, and when Frederick comes into the room, she is so startled that she just shoots him on sight(or lack of sight with the darkness and all….). She runs away screaming, and Annabelle’s secret lover comes out of the shadows to dispose of the body. When Annabelle goes to the scene of the crime, Frederick’s skeleton rises from the pit of acid(so convenient I might get me one), and chases her around the room. She falls into the acid pit herself, and it is revealed that the skeleton was a puppet controlled by…..Frederick! He knew his wife would try to kill him, and so he masterminded this whole thing to kill her! All of the guns were loaded with blanks! The acid pit was real enough, though…
I have to say that I laughed a lot at the end. Vincent Price comes out wearing a ridiculous puppeteer rig, and it makes absolutely no sense as to how he would have been able to make that work. He is Vincent Price, though, so you have to give him some props(did I use that word correctly?). If you like the old-school black-and-white movies that move more like theatrical plays, this one is going to be solid gold. If you like to fall asleep listening to Vincent Price’s voice(apparently I am in that group), then there’s another reason to watch this movie. All in all, give it a chance, you owe it to horror movies.
Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next time, boys and girls! Let me know if you find a bad movie that I need to watch!