Sunday, December 9, 2007

house on haunted hill

We're back to continue our look on remakes with "A Bloody Good Time" After this we have one more history lesson for you and then we're moving on to other things! All of the suggestions I've received I've taken into account and will implement them over time.

Before we get back into remakes, let's see what the returning JLAJRC had to say about last week's column. I've p

Another great article. The one thing I disagree with you on is the "Godzilla" remake. I know I'm in the minority, but I liked it. I think people make the "Godzilla" movies to be more than they really are. Granted, they do raise nuclear/environmental issues, but let's be honest, people see them because they want to see a giant lizard and his friends stomp on buildings and beat each other up. That "Godzilla" remake was exactly that. If I could fault it on one thing, I thought Godzilla was too short. He should have been enormous. Instead he was simply dinosaur size. But other than that, I liked it.

But the main reason I'm writing is to tell you about the remakes you kinda forgot, mostly because you seemed to focus on 2000 on. The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill - Despite both films having big name casts, they both royally suck, and I forgive you for forgetting them. Most people probably have, too.

He also mentions The Fly and Little Shop of Horrors. Those were both excellent but I'm covering a more recent period as that's when a sort of boom with remakes took off. I'm sure I'll cover them eventually. As far as Godzilla goes, I give that movie a lot of flack mostly because of the look of the monster and the fact he doesn't behave as I'm used to. I'll give them credit for trying something new, and it was at times an entertaining monster flick, but calling it Godzilla builds up a certain expectation with me and that wasn't met.

As far as forgetting The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill…you're right! And I have no excuse as I've seen them both! So let's start this week covering them. As I did last week, I'll mention any differences as well as what I thought about it if I've seen it.
House on Haunted Hill (1999 film)
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House on Haunted Hill
Directed by William Malone
Produced by Robert Zemeckis
Joel Silver
Written by Robb White
Dick Beebe
Starring Geoffrey Rush
Famke Janssen
Taye Diggs
Peter Gallagher
Chris Kattan
Ali Larter
Bridgette Wilson
Max Perlich
Music by Don Davis
Cinematography Rick Bota
Editing by Anthony Adler
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Dark Horse
Release date(s) October 29, 1999
Running time 93 min.
Language English
Budget $19 million
Gross revenue $40,846,082
Official website
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile
House on Haunted Hill is a 1999 Warner Brothers horror movie, directed by William Malone, written by Dick Beebe and starring Geoffrey Rush as Steven Price. Produced by Robert Zemeckis and Joel Silver, it is a remake of the 1959 classic of the same name directed by William Castle, borrowing elements from the 1973 classic Don't Look in the Basement. This film was the first for Dark Castle Entertainment.

The film is often compared with The Haunting, another 1999 remake of a similar classic from 1963, based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House. Also worth noting, in comparison to the original, while William Castle's version leaves a degree of ambiguity as to the presence of ghosts in the building, the remake leaves no doubt whatsoever.

1 Plot
2 Cast
3 Deleted scenes
4 Sequel
5 External links

[edit] Plot
The film sets the action in an abandoned asylum, The Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane, where mass-murders were undertaken in the past. The head of the facility, Doctor Richard B. Vannacutt (Jeffrey Combs), performed grotesque experiments and medical procedures on the patients, killing many of them in the process. The hospital was shut down when many of the so-called "patients" escaped, killing almost the entire staff and burning the hospital. Vannacutt had rigged the building with numerous iron gates actuated by cranks and levers to serve, for the most part, as barriers to keep patients from leaving the building, should they escape. Some of these barriers are subject to huge clock-like timers that would not open for twelve hours. During the fire, he released these gates keeping the inmates, employees and the fire itself contained. After several unexplained deaths during reconstruction on the house, mostly the owners of the house, it was dubbed The House on Haunted Hill.

The story centers around the disintegrating marriage of Evelyn (Famke Janssen), a spoiled trophy wife who defines high maintenance and Steven Price (Geoffrey Rush), an amusement park mogul with a wicked sense of humor, each of whom would cheerfully kill the other. Evelyn fancies spectacular parties, so Steve leases the house from the owner, Watson Pritchett (Chris Kattan) descendant of the house's owners, for her Halloween birthday bash. Steven was supposed to send out the invitations from the two-page list of names given him by Evelyn. However, invitations were sent to only four people - Jennifer Jenzen (aka Sara Wolfe) (Ali Larter), Eddie Baker (Taye Diggs), Melissa Margaret Marr (Bridgette Wilson) and Dr. Donald Blackburn (Peter Gallagher). When the guests arrive, neither Evelyn nor Steven (seemingly) know who they are. Despite this, Price continues the party's theme, offering a million dollars to anyone who stays in the house and survives until morning, with any person not making it having his money added to the winners' pot.

Shortly after, the security gates are tripped, sealing itself shut and locking everyone inside, forcing them to remain there until the gates reopen in the morning. Initially this is a gimmick orchestrated by Carl Schecter (Max Perlich), a company employee who develops a series of harmless traps meant to scare the guests. Things swiftly become much worse than a few harmless scares. What follows is the slow, and often bloody, demise of several of the guests and hosts in various ways, courtesy of the evil spirits of the house. It is discovered that the spirits in the house created the party list to include the descendants of the five members of Vannacutt's staff that didn't die at the hospital when it burned. After Steven attempts to kill his wife Evelyn for orchestrating his murder plot, the two accidentally unleash the darkness of the house. The Darkness is a dark shape shifting creature comprised of all the spirits in the house. This force comes after and tries to kill all the surviving guests to trap them in a permanent purgatory within the house.

[edit] Cast
Ali Larter as Sarah Wolfe/Jennifer Jenzen
Taye Diggs as Eddie Baker
Geoffrey Rush as Steven H. Price
Famke Janssen as Evelyn Stockyard Price
Bridgette Wilson as Melissa Margaret Marr
Chris Kattan as Watson Pritchet
Peter Gallagher as Donald W. Blackburn
Max Perlich as Carl Schecter
Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Richard Vanacutt

[edit] Deleted scenes
One of the deleted scenes was not shown in the deleted scenes list in the bonus features of the DVD. The scene was where Melissa Margaret Marr was wandering through the first floor maze of hallways with her camcorder and went by an elaborate painting of a gothic demon done in anamorphosis. The demon attempts to grab her.

Another scene that was deleted and also not shown on the DVD was Sara and Eddie being saved by the Coast Guard at the end of the movie. It was cut because director William Malone believed it didn't fit in with the movie and didn't suit the ending.

On the DVD release of the film were 3 deleted scenes:

Sara gets the invite (both versions)
Zombies underneath the House

[edit] Sequel
Warner Premeire released the sequel Return to House on Haunted Hill on DVD on October 16, 2007. The film has some ties to the first with one of the main characters being related to Ali Larter's character. With also a few mentions to the events in the first film and the characters Sara Wolfe and Steven Price.


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