Let’s chat about the dramatic lengths two characters in The House On Haunted Hill were willing to go to, in an attempt to be together.
I’ve been a fan of this film for years now, however it’s one of those movies that I think in the beginning I enjoyed just because it was the type of horror movie I love. Regardless of how scary or not, I love a good haunted house story and will watch it! The more I have rewatched House on Haunted Hill though, the more I pick up on things that went over my head the first few times I watched.
The set up of the film is: a group of five strangers are driven to a mansion where a millionaire, played by Vincent Price, offers them each $10,000 if they can spend the entire night in the house with him and his wife (Carol Ohmart). The millionaire is Frederick Loren and his wife Annabelle Loren who have a really weird relationship. Frederick is convinced his wife tried to poison him for his money, but she denies it. Their relationship is a hot mess.
Nora, one of the people invited to the house is haunted the most and driven close to ‘insanity.’ I was so annoyed by her initially but the more I rewatched the film, I was able to recognize how key to the structure of the plot within the plot, her character is and how driving her crazy was so crucial to the inside plan that initially you have no idea is coming!
You as the viewer witness Nora and the moments she’s being ‘haunted,’ but we also see the moments she tries to get her counterparts to see and understand what she’s seen and there’s nothing there. She is deliberately being targeted. Someone or something truly tries to convince her she’s gone mad.
Nora is a ploy in a scheme. The idea is to drive her mad so she will commit murder and two people can be together. The idea is genius but you have to watch to see if it actually works. Really, it was the last two or three times of watching this movie that I actually put things together. The ability to drive one character so mad, that once she walks into a certain trap and commits murder so that one person is removed from the picture…It sounds crazy when you read it or put it on paper but in the movie it is genius.
There is also something really frightening about a good haunted house story. Some stories don’t need a monster. The idea of not knowing what may be lurking around the corner, or what may be in a box when you open it on your bed..this film captures the feeling of being unsettled.
Treat yourself to a cozy night of blankets, lit candles, a warm drink and House on Haunted Hill this October. I promise, Nora’s screams and Vincent Price’s unforgettable voice will stick with you for days. Such a classic movie.