Sunday, October 16, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews Classic Edition: House on Haunted Hill, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and The Curse of the Cat People

* House on Haunted Hill (1959)

An eccentric millionaire invites five strangers to his wife's party where they will be locked in a haunted house with no electricity and no way to communicate with the outside world for the night. IF they survive the night, they will receive $10,000. House on Haunted Hill is clever film that features Vincent Price at his best. As Frederick Loren, he is perfect as a controlling, jealous man set out to outsmart his greedy but beautiful wife. The first half of the film implies that the house is haunted with chilling figures and some unintentionally funny moments. The second half of the film is completely different. The plot has twists and clever plans that have nothing to do with the supernatural. I was very impressed with this classic film.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist are a popular exhibit at the local fair. When murders go on at night that all match the same perpetrator, suspicion is cast upon them. This film is gorgeous. The biggest impression I had was the visual aspects because of the surrealistic backgrounds and set pieces. Angles are  more extreme than expected. The sets are asymmetrical and odd, giving an unsettling but whimsical quality to the film. The uses of light, shadow, drawn backgrounds, and amalgamation of different time periods make it an artistic landmark. The only part that I didn't like was the frame story. It overly complicated the plot unnecessarily. Other than that, it's a unique and beautiful film.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* The Curse of the Cat People

Amy is a lonely girl who struggles relating to kids her own age when she meets a lonely old woman and an imaginary friend that's more real than her parents think. This film is the sequel to The Cat People, but there are no cat people and it only shares a couple of characters. Everything else is completely different. It has a beautiful fairy tale quality to it, kind of like Alice in Wonderland. Amy is the curious little girl meeting fantastical characters in old houses covered in ivy and receiving fantastical gifts. The horror element doesn't really come in until the end in a hateful woman driven to the brink who blames an innocent girl for her mother's dementia. Some of it may be a little cheesy, but it's dark Disney feel and stunning visuals made me glad I took a chance on it.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

1 comment:

Kathryn Troy said...

Brilliant choices all! I own a copy of the House on Haunted Hill poster, one dear part of the macabre collection I've been recording at

Working my way through a batch of great vintage horror for the season, keep in touch for more gruesomeness!