Movie Review: HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is a remake of William Castle’s 1959 cult classic. The movie was directed by William Malone from a screenplay by Robb White and stars Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson with Peter Gallagher and Chris Kattan. The score is by Don Davis. House on Haunted Hill was produced by Robert Zemeckis, Joel Silver and Gilbert Adler.

One night in the house, one million bucks, no questions asked. But there is a catch for anyone who accepts the offer. Murder is a way of life at the House on Haunted Hill. Geoffrey Rush plays twisted theme park bigshot Stephen Price, who’s hosting a birthday bash for his wife (Famke Janssen) at a house that was once an institute for the criminally insane. Five strangers are each offered a chance to earn one million dollars if they can survive a night in the house. But what starts out as a harmless birthday prank soon turns into a night of horrific terror.

House on Haunted Hill follows six strangers who enter a giant old house that once served as an insane asylum where some unspeakable murders occured. Stephen Price (Geoffrey Rush), this rich theme park owner decides to invite these strangers, along with his wife Evelyn (Famke Janssen), to see if they can spend just one night in the old haunted house without leaving (or getting murdered) and anyone who lasts all night wins a million dollars. He already has plans to scare them with tricks and traps that have been set up throughout the house but what he doesn’t know is that the evil spirits that dwell within also want to play along.

What happens is, it doesn’t take long for things to get super creepy for the group that ends up getting separated into small factions where they all end up encountering some kind of unspeakable horrors that shows proof that the old house is actually haunted. One by one, the frightened participants turn into unwilling victims for the sinister ghosts that not only want to scare them to death but they perform some terrifying medical procedures on a few as well. As the guest’s numbers slowly diminish, even the charismatic host and his devilish wife become victims in this nightmarish party gone wrong where only a lucky few makes it out alive and lives to cash in their winnings.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the all-new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray disc also features artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Scream Factory has given the movie a pristine 2K scan from original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition upgrade were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, this 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill was already another one of my personal horror favorites and now Scream Factory has simply added to the awesomeness of this movie. There’s so much about this remake that makes it such a fantastic watch, from the interesting story, to the cast that was fun to follow.  As great as the cast is, it’s Jeffrey Combs who steals the show with his limited amount of screen time as the deranged Dr. Richard Benjamin Vannacutt. There’s some impressive special effects (practical and visual) to help pull off the stunts and the impressive thing is that most of them are old school practicals. There’s also a lot of blood and gore to go along with that. Another standout is the fantastic score and if that’s not enough there’s Marilyn Manson‘s Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) to go with it. What William Malone did was take an old horror classic and give it a fantastic modern day upgrade that has since become a cult classic in its own right. There’s also some impressive cinematography to compliment his directing. House on Haunted Hill will be available on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on October 9th and is definitely worth adding to your Scream Factory collection. Another job well done!

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 93 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include three new interviews, some never-before-seen artwork/images, audio commentary, two vintage featurettes, three deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, two TV spots and movie stills/ poster gallery.

  • NEW Interview with director William Malone (37:30)
  • NEW Interview with composer Don Davis (09:40)
  • NEW Interview with visual effects supervisor Robert Skotak (18:42)
  • Never-Before-Seen storyboards/concept art (02:53)
  • Behind-the-Scenes photos courtesy of visual effects producer Paul Taglianetti (05:44)
  • Audio Commentary with director William Malone
  • A Tale of Two Houses – vintage featurette (19:14)
  • Behind the Visual FX – vintage featurette (07:01)
  • Deleted Scenes (12:04)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:13)
  • TV Spots (01:05)
  • Movie Stills and Poster Gallery (04:37)

 

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