House on Haunted Hill ★★½

The Price is right, but the product's disposable. I realise audiences were more delicate in 1959, back when people still came equipped with the full range of human feeling, but there was a reason they swung a skeleton through the auditorium in the finale — nothing in the film itself is even mildly unnerving. Actually let me correct that — Carol Ohmart's lung capacity is truly freakish. If she weren't busy in the movies she'd have made an excellent civic early warning system. Vincent Price is the ringmaster of this cirque du camp, and whether he's suavely dispensing a revolver to each guest at the commencement of festivities, slapping down Pritchard with "I've had enough of your spook talk!" or petulantly smashing a champagne coupe after a setback, he's the MVP. I wish the alcoholic journalist had had more of a role — she was charming with her laconic calls for a "scotch and", but she seemed to simply disappear from the plot, possibly caught in a clutch of artfully-festooned cobwebs while in search of Price's private whisky stash.

yarb liked these reviews