House On Haunted Hill (1999)
The original black and white version of this film is an underrated classic. This 1999 remake was appropriately rated. It was bad. But cheesy bad so it’s you can bear it. It was in the thick of the late 90’s-early 00’s wave of teen focused horror movies. In my opinion, a very unique time in horror cinema that produced the most memorable forgettable films. They often were either remakes or borrowed heavy from classic, and successful, films.
House on Haunted Hill is no exception. A cast including hot at the time actors Famke Janssen (X-Men), Ali Larter (Varsity Blues), Taye Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back/The Wood) and the fabulous Geoffrey Rush (Would appear earlier that year in the summer super hero flop ‘Mystery Men’) and Chris Kattan who was a darling of Saturday Night Live. How could it go wrong?!
Easy: bad writing, lukewarm effects and a plot executed so cheesy, it’s no wonder the movie was a total bomb. Except for me. I happen to love it and I think it’s hilariously spooky for mostly the wrong reasons. You can bet your last bag of candy I’ll watch this every time it comes on!
Spoopy Fact: There is a common belief that the production of the film was haunted. Because of course it was, right?
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Three big names at the time were attached to this project. Tony Shaloub (Wings, the popular tv series), Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) and Matthew Lillard (Scream and various teen flicks) were supposed to be the selling points of the film. Hey, at least they tried.
This film is a remake of the 1960’s original which, by most accounts, wasn’t that good either. But the gimmick of the original was that movie-goers were given special 3-D glasses that allowed them to see ghosts on screen that allegedly you couldn’t see without the aid of the lenses. The remake pays tribute to that in the story and for the most part, it plays smoothly.
Overall, the story is a mess and yet it leaves you wanting more background information. So much about all the characters goes unexplained and we are supposed to just take everything at face value. But hey, it’s a horror movie. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing? Just sit back, grab a drink and watch Matthew Lillard get killed by a ridiculous ghost.
Spoopy Fact: The original DVD release gave more backstory on characters and the ghosts but this was not a universal feature across the globe.