An eccentric millionaire and his wife host a party in a haunted mansion for five strangers, who'll each be given $10,000 if they survive the night. A promotional stunt was created for its release in theatres, for which a plastic skeleton was flown over the audience during key moments of the film.Written by
Geoffrey Rush was never meant to look like Vincent Price (star of the original film House on Haunted Hill (1959)). The original screenplay described Stephen Price as a regular looking businessman. Rush didn't care for this, so he suggested that his character look like the film director John Waters. The director agreed to test this look out. After his transformation, he ended up looking so much like Vincent Price the director decided to keep the look. See more »
The hospital was closed in 1931 yet much of it is lit with fluorescent tube lighting. Fluorescent tube lighting was not in commercial production until the late 1930's and not in widespread use until WWII. See more »
After the final credits, there is an additional scene that features Steven and Evelyn strapped down on Vannacut's vivisection table. The scene ends with Vannacut watching as one hears Steven and Evelyn's screams. See more »
Due to numerous circumstances (i.e. running time constraints and what not) a great deal of footage was excised from this motion picture. Three of the most important scenes were returned for the DVD release. They are:
two different versions of the same scene involving the real Jennifer Jenzen (Debi Mazar), a haughty, foul mouthed, arrogant movie producer and her assistant Sara (Ali Larter), who are on the set of a cheap drama Jennifer is producing. In one version, the set is in the courtyard of a regular house where a woman is telling a man, who is suffering from a seemingly terminal illness, to embrace life in spite of his condition. In the other version, a young couple, who seem to be medieval peasants, are frolicking on a meadow, falling to the ground and making out. In both versions, unhappy with the lack of sex and nudity in the film that could bring in the teen male audience, Jennifer curses the director out. Sara then arrives with a strange Art Deco music puzzle box that came in the mail for Jennifer. Despite Sara's advice and a warning label on the box, Jennifer arrogantly opens it the wrong way just because she was told not to, and cuts her finger on it. Sara laughs at this so vengeful Jennifer fires her on the spot and gives her the box to get rid of it. Sara however, finds the invite for the party on Haunted Hill in the box, and, although shocked by Jennifer's impromptu decision to fire her, she still tries to tell Jennifer about it, but when Jennifer refuses to hear her out, Sara just takes the invitation for herself and leaves, smiling.
a scene towards the climax when Eddie Baker (Taye Diggs) and Sara are running from the shadow demon exploding the floorboards, they are led into a dead end. Eddie jumps onto a hanging light fixture, holding onto Sara as the floor beneath them explodes. He loses his grip on Sara and she falls through the hole into a subterranean cavern beneath the house where the remains of Doctor Vannicut's victims lie. The shadow creeps into the cavern and reanimates the dead bodies causing this huge zombie attack. Eddie drops down and saves Sara and the chase continues from where it left off in the finished cut of the film (however, if you notice, in the finished cut of the film during the chase scene there is a continuity error when Sara's running. In one shot she's wearing her jacket and in the other it's mysteriously vanished, it's vanished because during the cut portion of this climactic chase, Sara loses her jacket when she falls into the cavern. Her jacket is then used by Eddie to pull her up and out to safety).
an epilogue was also cut from the film involving the real Jennifer Jenzen (Debbie Mazar) inheriting the house on haunted hill. When she goes to check it out with real estate agent Dick (played by Jeffrey Combs (who is also Dr. Vannicut!) we see her enter the house and then a horrifying scream follows. The scene was cut because director William Malone felt the scene was a bit too humorous for the film and that it did not fit what was filmed at all).
For once, a movie even scarier and more horrifying than the trailers for it. BUT......
The whole was not equal to the sum of its parts. Geoffrey Rush (what's HE doing in this movie?!) as Steven Price is actually a very interesting character, which can be attributed to either the effort the script takes to set him up, and/or the brilliance of the Oscar-winning actor in the role. Price's wife, Evelyn, gets similar treatment, but it is here the screenwriter(s?) get lazy.
The strangers in the house DO get a minimal amount of character set-up, i.e. who they are, what they do... but this information is never touched on again. One would HOPE that all ths information is being displayed for some higher purpose-- the background of these five strangers, the cat-and-mouse game played by Mr. & Mrs. Price, and Mr. Price's fascination with fear that is set up so intensely in the movie's opening minutes.
But alas, none of this GOES anywhere. It is all completely independent from the agenda of the House when I felt like it should all tie together, somehow. There are three forces at work here-- the ghosts who haunt the house, the humans who are trapped in it, and the Darkness that lives beneath it. These are all separate entities, we find, but for what purpose? This movie could have gone on another ten minutes, some loose ends could have been tied up, and I could have given it a much higher score.
Instead, what was truly an INTENSE build-up, sputters out at the very end of the movie. It didn't even feel like an end, it just felt like the movie stopped, and we're left without an explanation to what happens to the survivors-- including the most interesting character in the movie, the House itself.
7 out of 10. Fun to watch, truly terrifying, but incomplete.
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