Your house is your castle, your sanctuary, that is until some evil ghost decides to take up residence. Modern cinema tells us to watch out for things that go bump in the night, to check behind those doors, to lock the windowsbut does it work, of course not and we are greeted by some ghoul telling us to "Get Out." and do we do it, of course not, why, because we are morons. This week I'm going deep into the basement and dig out some favorite Haunted House flicks.
William Castle gives us our first tale of ghost, 13 ghost to be exact. This is the original and not the total gore fest hack that came out in the early 2000's. The story centers around a family inheriting a haunted house from a distant relative . The house comes with 12 ghost (I won't spoil it by telling you who the last ghost is) that you can only see with special goggles. William Castle was a master at gimmicks and this one does not let you down. Castle incorporated a technique called Illusion-O, which allowed only the brave to see the ghost while the weak only saw the actors. The ghost were tinted in blue and could be seen with special "goggles" that were sold at the theater.
Another William Castle favorite is The House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. Price plays an eccentric millionaire who plans a "party" for his wife with several unsuspecting strangers. As the night progresses there are disappearances, murders and ghost. This time William Castle's gimmick was floating skeletons on pulley that came down and flew through the audience. His gimmicks made this movie and other movies a huge success.
Getting away from the campy gimmicks and for a real scare, we have The Innocents. The story starts with a governess who is hired to take care of two orphans. She slowly finds out that the children have a abnormal hold on the staff of the house. Disturbing manifestations, ghosts, and suicide have the governess second guessing her new surroundings, is it all in her mind or is it reality. If it is real, what kind of pact have the children made with evil and thus a struggle ensues with a devastating ending.
Okay, getting back to my campy self, I end our little tour with pure raw silliness and the movie House. A Vietnam vet moves into his dead aunt's house to work on his memoirs and strange things start happening. His child goes missing, he ends up in Vietnam again, strange zombies attack-all the things you expect when going for a little visit to auntie's. House can be kind of gory but is certainly ridiculous and over the top. Just do me a favor and DO NOT watch House 2.
I hope I haven't scared you too much kiddies with these tantalizing tales of homely terrors. Pleasant dreams, don't forget to plug in your My Little Pony nightlight, oh,...and don't forget to check under the bed. Did you hear that? Did that just come from the basement?