The defendant is charged with impersonating a classic movie, Felony murder of 81 minutes of human life, grand larceny (after review of the film’s sales figures this charge has been reduced to petty larceny), and aggravated assault to my intelligence. The court will show that director Victor Garcia did willfully and with malice and forethought create a sequel to an inferior remake of a classic motion picture. The evidence will clearly show that the film lacks any tangible resemblance to the original film and therefore has fraudulently engaged in a plot to lure the original film’s fans to the video store with false promises of quality and entertainment. The evidence will also show that writer William Massa did in fact commit these horrid lines to script, and in collaboration with others masquerading as actors, did inflict harm on this reviewer and several innocent bystanders. These defendants conspired to take money from unsuspecting DVD renters under the guise of entertainment. I present the following:
People’s Exhibit # 1: The Plot
Calling this a plot might be stretching it a bit, but here it goes.
Ariel (Righetti) is the sister of the lone survivor from the last encounter with this haunted house. Her sister killed herself after spending time in a mental institution.(It was rumored she was forced to watch this film.) Ariel is also the editor of a magazine and is in search of a mythical idol called the Baphomet. That name alone should be a crime. The house happens to be where the idol was hidden. Once there she finds that she has been duped, and a rather ruthless group of tomb raiders have set her up to claim the idol for themselves. The house goes into lock-down, and a game of picking off the teens one by one has begun. We learn that everyone who has died there has been trapped by the idol. The idol must be destroyed to free the tortured souls. The plot makes no mention on how to relieve the torture of the audience.
People’s Exhibit # 2: The Acting
Every one of these characters is played by unknown hacks who ought to be barred from ever appearing in a film again. The performances are stereotypical and wooden. I’ve seen Al Gore put on a more animated performance than these guys. There is nothing sympathetic about any of them, and we couldn’t care less when they are picked off. In fact, it couldn’t have happened quickly enough for me. The only thing approaching a solid performance was put in by Jeffrey Combs, who is seen in some flashbacks. The people request he be granted full testimonial immunity for his part in these crimes.
The people stipulate that the film’s 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation is at least average. This is obviously shot on digital video, and the no-budget amateurish quality oozes off the film more than blood on the house’s walls. Colors are actually pretty solid with at least average black levels. There are no print defects or compression problems with the film.
Witnesses for the Defense: The Special Features.
Deleted Scenes: There are four scenes which add absolutely nothing to the story. The witness is incoherent at times and was likely coached.
Simply Survival: This is a music video of, I guess, the film’s theme song. The witness communicates loudly, presenting himself as unprofessional and highly lacking in originality. This witness should be considered as suspect and could well be a coconspirator.
The Search For An Idol: This witness continues the impersonation begun in the previous feature as we get a look as to possible motive for the crime. Steven Pacey testifies that he put a lot of work into this character and attempts to manufacture evidence to that effect. I’m sure the jury saw right through this hollow attempt to look innocent.
In 1959 showman extraordinaire William Castle gave us The House On Haunted Hill. The film stared Vincent Price. Price had a sleepover and challenged his guests that they would each get $10,000 if they survived the night. What happened then is completely irrelevant to the case at hand, but let’s just say there wasn’t a huge payout by the film’s finish. It was glorious fun and mayhem like only Castle and Price could deliver. Today everything that ever made a profit, and even a few things that didn’t, have to be remade. I ask you, have we lost all our ability to be original? Certainly many remakes brought something new to the table, but these new House On Haunted Hill films are exploitation pure and simple. Finally, my gentle reader, I ask you to vote with your dollars and to find these defendants guilty as charged on all counts. I ask that they be sentenced to life in the discount racks and used video stores. If you honestly think this film is even equal to the 1959 classic, you “should be on Prozac”.