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Rifftrax: LIVE! House On Haunted Hill [Blu-ray]
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Is there any possible downside to accepting an invitation from Vincent Price to spend an evening in a creepy mansion that was built on something called 'Haunted Hill?' If so, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000® fame couldn't find it! In fact they were so eager to join Mr. Price and his terrifying moustache that they riffed the film live, on-stage, and now you can reap the rewards from the safety of home with this Live show DVD!
Yes, horror classic House on Haunted Hill provides a mesmerizing walk down 'people actually used to find this SCARY?!?' lane. Join the RiffTrax® guys as they bring their special brand of rapid-fire comedic commentary to every skeleton-hanging-from-visible-wires, clumsy sexual overtone, and a stunningly inept test pilot whose 'heroics' typically lead him to bloody his own nose after locking himself in a broom closet!
The guys are joined by guest riffer Paul F. Tompkins, comedy person extraordinaire and quite a snappy dresser to boot! They also riff two vintage, never-before-seen shorts live on-stage: Paper and I, in which a small boy is haunted by a talking paper bag, and Magical Disappearing Money, about a supermarket witch whose main concern is that you don't spend too much on rice. No, seriously, that's what they're really about!
Join Mike, Kevin, Bill and Paul for an unforgettable All Hallow's Eve of mind-melting comedy!
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Top Customer Reviews
No! Mike, Kevin and Bill really do bother to give us a show. Not only do you get two great shorts (the grocery witch short is now one of our personal favorites, my wife quotes from it often), an actually funny guest appearance by Paul F. Tompkins (a great comedian, see his stand-up act somewhere if you can) who tags along for a short and has a brief cameo during the actual movie, but the live cut on House on Haunted Hill is very worth it in that OVER HALF the riffs are BRAND NEW! It is NOT a re-hash of the original Rifftrax, and my wife and I both agreed the new material is actually funnier, and this is coming from two people who love the regular DVD.
My one and only complaint is they play the colorized version of the movie. While the colorization here looks much better than it used to when they first started using the technology, the fact ramains that HoHH just works so much better in black and white, the light and shadow of the black and white cinematography lend a ton to the atmosphere to the film and the spook-show shenanigans just don't work very well without it.
But that's relatively minor. If you liked the original Rifftrax of HoHH, this live version is not a simple repeat of material. The two shorts are excellent, the guest star is funny, and the movie itself has a substantial amount of new (excellent) riffing. Tons of fun!
The feature film is entertaining, but the two shorts are filmmaking at its most crazed. What's not to like?
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.
As with most Rifftrax DVDs, special features are minimal and don't add a whole lot to the experience. Unlike the 2009 studio production, this disc features a colorized version of "House on Haunted Hill", but does not include an additional "un-riffed" version of the original film.
The DVD is funny but there is the live audience which can sometimes drown out the gang. And also a lot of cultural references which, while making it funny, can age it (like the rest of the MST3K flicks). In other words, this is not a gift DVD, this is a DVD for yourself. A fan DVD. So get it! What are you waiting for? Even if you have the other version this is almost brand new material. With guest riffer Paul F. Tompkins (who also starred in one of the shorts in one of my Doctor Who DVDs). Enjoy!