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RiffTrax: House on Haunted Hill - from the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000!

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

If an eccentric millionaire were to offer you a large sum of money to you spend a night in a haunted house, you might think to yourself, "How did I wind up in an episode of Scooby Doo? Or perhaps a Simpson's Halloween special? Or any one of the countless other TV shows or movies that have employed this hackneyed plot device?"

But every cliche has its origins somewhere, and House on Haunted Hill may be the very first movie where a random assortment of guests are summoned to a haunted house. In this case, the haunted house just happens to reside in the Haunted Hill district of town, and it's presided over by a ghoulish master of ceremonies played by Vincent Price. Murder, mayhem and clumsy romance ensue. Fortunately, three of the guests at this party are Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax.com and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, on hand to heckle the House on Haunted Hill!


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart
  • Directors: William Castle
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026KJP76
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,145 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As a fan of old black and white "B" horror movies, I've always loved "House on Haunted Hill." It's pretty lame by today's blood & gore standards, but I saw it as a kid and found it scarey. I have quite a few DVD's of this movie, bought for a mere $1 during Halloween. That said, I'm also a fan of the good-ole MST3K nitwits, and this was my first Rifftrax rental. Don't expect the MST3K stuff like skits, shadows of the guys watching the movie, or even an introduction! The movie starts and the guys immediately riff in the background. You simply just HEAR, but never see them! When the movie ends, they sign off. I thought the riffing was good, especially for the two lame-brained leads who (of course) always place themselves in danger. "Lance", the clumsy hero, is always just one step away from the next concussion. "Nora", the terrorized woman, runs away from the horror by going into empty dark rooms. They barely touch Vincent Price, but he's such a good actor and one of my favorites, so that's okay with me. I'm happy to hear the guys, even if I can't see them. That's probably why the Rifftrax DVD's are more affordable.
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This is a nice high-quality DVD of House on Haunted Hill. It was touch spartan; there's no subtitles of either the movie or the riffing, there's no MST3K-style video introduction (which would have been nice; would it have been hard to put a five minute pre-movie warmup, using whatever set came to hand), there's no shadows on the screen (which I've seen done with just subtitles, on the Ghostbusters DVD, IIRC), and there's not even a coming/available advertisement. There's just the movie, and two soundtracks, one with and one without riffing.

As for the meat of the material, House on Haunted Hill is a fairly classic old movie and moderately riffable. I'd place the riffs here about average for an MST3K and there was enough classic horror movie shtics and movie-specific jokes to make it worth my while.

But it is a good classic horror movie, and well worth your time watching it unMST3Ked before ruining all the surprises in the comedic mode. If you've got the DVD and haven't seen the movie, take the time to watch the original first.
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The original 1958 version of "House on Haunted Hill" may not exactly cry out for the RiffTrax treatment, but, I have to say, after watching Nelson, Murphy and Corbett do their thing, it probably had it coming. The William Castle-directed Vincent Price vehicle has lost a good deal of its original shock-value over the decades--let's face it, we're just not as easily scared as we used to be--but it does have its potentially funny moments, mainly because it tends to take itself just a wee bit too seriously. None of the actors are outstamdingly bad; they're just stuck with a stilted and rather cheesy script, and are doing what they can to make the best of a thankless gig. Vincent Price is watchable in whatever he's in, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that he brings "dignity" to his role, he nonetheless plays it with such oily charm and schmaltzy menace that we can almost imagine him winking at us, letting us know he really does get how silly this stuff is. (Heck! Given Price's legendary sense of humor, you can almost imagine his ghost joining in on the riffing.) Elisha Cook, Richard Long, and Carol Ohmart aren't too terrible either, but, like the characters they portray, are simply trapped for the duration.

"House on Haunted Hill" has been a perennial Halloween favorite of mine, so I was delighted to find out about this RiffTrax send-up. I've been a huge MST3K fan since its early Comedy Central days; so much of a fan, in fact, that I've actually caught myself riffing on Shakespeare. (Help! Is there a twelve-step program for this???) This 2009 riff was done in a studio, and isn't quite as sharp or manically off-the-wall as the 2010 live version, filmed before a theater full of roaring fans.
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Firstly, The House on Haunted Hill is actually a pretty good movie and generally delivers some solid thrills. To have Mike Nelson and Co. providing laughs is almost an embarrassment of riches. You get a terrific little Vincent Price movie about a handful of invited guests who must survive a night in a huge haunted house to collect some serious money AND you get some of the funniest riffing that the crew at RiffTrax can provide. It's like watching the Saturday Night Creature Feature with three of your best invisible friends. For a night's entertainment, you can't do better than the price of this disc.
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The guys have done it again! I remember watching this movie years ago with my dad and it's always been a favorite of ours. He actually saw it when it came out in theaters and remembers the promotional poster for it. So when I saw that there was a riff version of it I just had to have it. It is hilarious. The guys make you see a whole other side to the movie; the funny and irrational side. This DVD comes with both the original and extra side-splitting versions of the movie. If you haven't seen the original House on Haunted Hill, I would recommend watching that first, just to get a feel for it. You may even be able to incorporate your own riffs while you watch it. Maybe you can tell which is actually supposed to be haunted.
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