Friday, October 8, 2010

Fuck the Critics, I dug it: House on Haunted Hill.

(Excuse the profanity, but there was really only one way to say that. I thought of saying "eff" the critics, but that just wouldn't be me.)

Directed by William Malone (who's done a bit in the horror genre, mostly television); released in 1999. IMBD: A millionaire offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.


Now, don't get me wrong. There were some problems with the film, and as horror films go, it's definitely not anywhere near one of the best, but honestly? I had a great time watching this, it was fun! I can certainly understand why critics wouldn't go for it, but sometimes I get the feeling that film critics  1. hate life, humanity, and films and have no other outlet for their hate other than to bash directors (while making sure to spell out to the rest of the public how elite and super-intelligent they are) and 2. insist that every film made must be Citizen Kane, and if not, well . . . garbage. One of my favorite professors was one that wasn't put off by garbage, did a thesis on the Porky's films and their Canadian popularity, of all things.


ANYWAY.


The look of this film was cool. The house in question, the former mental institute, obviously had a very unique look to it, inside and out. That checkerboard floor (in the what, dining room?) was a nice touch, and apparently the only room in the house that wasn't mildewed, dusty, and falling apart. The examination rooms, the crazy-chamber, and the medical specimen in glass rooms were all gross and dungeony. Not exactly Jame Gumm's basement-calibre frightening, but you know, creepy enough. The actors were all exceptionally beautiful, but as one bitchy critic did truthfully point out, not actually able to claim our allegiance, personality-wise. No matter, I don't think the story required that you be invested in any one person, I mean, were we invested in any of the characters in Clue, specifically? No, we just wanted to see what happened. I was curious about the butchering surgeon's ghost, which was one sort of loose end that never really got resolved, one minute that guy is hacking people up, the next minute, Evelyn busts into a rotten wall and suddenly it's a completely different entity that's gobbling everyone up? Yeah, well, fine with me. Like I said, I had a great time. It's a good October film.






Was it scary? There were scary parts, but as a whole, I'd say it was more of an entertaining kind of fright.  There was a scene where Brigitte Wilson, alone with her video camera, sees something kind of off in the distance and then BAM, it's that surgeon, right up in her face--that was jarring. And when Price gets locked in that crazy chamber, starts seeing all that ridiculous crap and the spinning? That freaked me out more than anything else. I hate spinning. 


I'd say if you're okay with it's non Citizen Kane-ness, go for it. Oh, and there's a smoke monster.

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