Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Internet-less House on Haunted Hill

Mindy, the Comcast High-Speed Internet phone representative sitting a world away, tried to remain calm. But you could hear a tremble in her voice. Chris had checked the coaxial connection, power cycled his modem, and restarted his computer. He’d done everything right, but it all remained so wrong. Desperately trying to diagnosis Chris’ broken Internet, Mindy shot out a last ditch communication signal the Comcast internet device located under Chris’ computer. Nothing but cold dead silence came back. The realization hit Mindy with the force of a thousand spyware-laden megabytes. “THE INTERNET PROBLEM IS INSIDE THE HOUSE! IT’S INSIDE YOUR HOUSE!” Mindy screamed.

Chris’ blood-pumper seized, his brain vomited with fear as it all sunk in. There would be no more Internets that evening. No internet for a long time. Even worse, help wouldn’t be on the way until Friday between 4 pm and 7 pm! “But I’ll be dead by then,” Chris screamed. “Worse, I have to take off work and waste my evening.”
“I know, I know…” Mindy sobbed. The problem was inside the house, mere inches from Chris’ supple neck jugular. Game over, man. He was done for. Internet failure would suck his soul dry. Tears dropping onto the phone receiver, Mindy gave Chris his last rites before giving up. “Thank you for calling Comcast, Chris. I’m sorry I couldn’t help.” (click)

And with that, all hope of Nick and Chris taking in an official Rich-Dimick Horror Project screening on Tuesday night was choked deader than the Colonel’s Chicken. Internet videophone was to be used for Project communication. Nope. Internet movie streaming service was to be used to provide that evening’s stop in horror history, 1969’s “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.” No Internet, no project. No good.

But if horror movies have taught us anything, it’s that if life gives you zombies, you need to enjoy shooting them in the head. Or, in “normal” terms, make lemonade out of yellowed fruit.

With that mindset, and the realization our planned RDHP viewing would not happen this week, Nick and Chris agreed to go old school. Nothing could stop the horror. They pulled out a strange video less device called a “telephone” and searched through their horror library. A horror movie would be watched, oh yes, horror would be enjoyed. And Nick and Chris would watch it together, with comments, Internet Monsters or not.
While Nick had the Web and its movie goodness at his disposal, Chris had to fall back on good olde fashioned DVDs and VHS. After some searching, the RDHP realized both had access to the 1959 horror classic “House on Haunted Hill.” Better yet, Nick had never seen the film, one of Chris’ all time favorites.
The boys were back in business, home-based Internet disablers be damned! DAMNED!

Mustering the courage, Chris picked up his Comcast modem and wireless router with a swift pinch and brought them crashing to the wood floor. Microchips and plastic sprayed his across his cold-stare. “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost,” Chris said, as the screams of 1,000 online voices wafted up to the ceiling. This was just the first battle of the war. The true blood would be spilled on Friday, sometime between 4 pm and 7 pm. For now, though, Chris and horror had won.“You’re in this house somewhere, Internet Error. But not for long.”

Because it wasn’t a traditional RDHP viewing, this shall not be a traditional RDHP blog post. House on Haunted Hill was a random movie screening, and as such below is a random blog post for your reading pleasure. Next week, Internet Gods willing, the RDHP will be back to our official mission of viewing one horror movie from each year in time since 1920. Only 20 movies left to go on that twisty and zany road. But here we pull over with a pit stop ruminating about “House on Haunted Hill.”


-Please see this movie if you already haven’t. And if you already have, hell, watch it again!
It is cheese-cake horror perfection.
The plot is pure fun. Eccentric Millionaire Fredrick Loren hosts a party for his 4th wife, Annabelle, at the “House on Haunted Hill,” a notorious mansion where seven previous murders have occurred. He invites five strangers to the party, luring them with the promise of $10,000 to each person who stays in the house and makes it through the night alive. Each person is given a gun and a warning about the spooks that allegedly roam the halls. But when the body count starts to rise, and the spooks crawl out of their corners, the guests begin to wonder if they had been better off declining the offer.
Guns handed out in tiny coffins! Campy 1950s style spooks! Vincent Price as a suspicious and mean husband! What’s not to love!

-Awhile back in the RDHP I made a list of my top 10 favorite horror movies. Appallingly, House on
Haunted Hill was somehow left off the list. Like Quantum Leap’s Sam Beckett, I want to right that wrong right now. Sorry Silence of the Lambs, you are a great horror movie, but you haven’t entirely won my heart. Let it be known, House on Haunted Hill will take that films place as the 10th most loved.
(Read Chris’ discussion of his top 10 horror movies and why horror is worth watching, in his write up here:

-“Geez, Chris, what makes it so great?” I’ll tell ya. Two people – Director William Castle and star Vincent Price. I’ve already mused to my heart’s content on the great William Castle in the RDHP, which can be viewed here:
So as not to tread old ground, I’ll keep it short. If Castle was Leonardo Da Vinci, the House on Haunted Hill would be his Mona Lisa. To me, both works are equally beautiful and inspired.
And Vincent Price… what more do I have to say?

-Nothing like a good scream to make a horror scene. But the perfect scream is hard to come by. I’ve heard it only a few times, and one of those is in this film. Coming out of the mouth of actress Carolyn Craig, who played perpetually “hysterical” party guest Ruth Bridgers, she boasts a crisp, single-pitch, attention snatching howl. It is horrific and beautiful at the same time. Kind of like the Mona Lisa again!

-Speaking of Carolyn Craig, she is an ironical sort of dame. She actually got her start in show business in 1955 by appearing in a series of photographs extolling the benefits of being a housewife. The photographs attempt to illustrate the health and muscular benefits of doing housework and how housewives can use cleaning tools as exercise equipment.

-Why couldn’t 1959’s House on Haunted Hill count for an official RDHP film? We already watched a 1959 horror movie for the RDHP, “Eyes Without a Face,” back in May 2010.

-Technology never works when you need it too. Just look at horror movies. A killer is chasing you, but you don’t have a cell phone signal. A killer is chasing you, but your car won’t start. A killer is chasing you, but your gun misfires. See what I mean! Guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the one time all week I needed the Internet to work, for the RDHP weekly viewing, it decides to take a huge dump on my face.
Thanks science.


-I wonder how different this film would have been had Vincent chosen different facial hair...

-A sure way to make this movie horrific is to listen to a garbled version of it transmitted to your ears via cellphone. I only recommended this to the most hardcore fans in need of truly horrific experiences.

-Tiny coffins are awesome! Who knew party favors could pack such heat?

-Why do women scream so loud in horror movies? One would think if you were that scared you'd just faint, or if not, lose consciousness from the lack of air due to the volume of the scream!

-There are some times in life where you just don't want to get ahead in this world.

-Surprising fact: blind women in the 60s could do the moon walk forwards out of a room, but only if the whole top half of her body remained frozen and while another woman screamed at the top of her lungs.

-Man! It doesn't matter how much you plan, the best laid plots never end up quite as you want them to... well, unless you're Vincent Price.

-Who's mustache would win in a fight? Chuck Norris' or Vincent Price's? Chuck's would be the obvious choice, but Vincent's would be so devious and sneaky...

-What does it take to make Price croak?!?

Tune in to find out!

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