Written by Fantasma el Rey
Eight years ago House On Haunted Hill was remade and a new storyline was added whereby the house is an old insane asylum that had been run by a demented, torturous, mad Doctor. As in the original, starring Vincent Price, a diverse group of individuals were offered one million dollars to spend the night in that haunted mansion/insane asylum and only two of them survived. After years of trying to convince the world that the place is haunted and that she’s not crazy, one survivor, Sara Wolfe, is killed setting in motion a Return To House On Haunted Hill.
Her sister, Ariel, and her photographer friend are forced by treasure hunters to venture back inside the house to search for a demonic idol worth millions. Also involved is an archaeologist who had been working with Sara to retrieve the idol for study and storage in a museum. The connection of the two lays in the fact that a journal filled with the mad doctor’s dark entries about his obsession with the idol was somehow in the possession of Sara. Once in the house, all are united as the mystery unfolds and we soon find out many horrible truths.
Truths like the fact that there is a teacher-student relationship between archaeologist and treasure hunter leader (dunt-dunt-dun), truths of betrayal and cheating, conniving girlfriends (who hook up with treasures hunters), and above all we find out the truth behind the house’s tormented spirits. The idol is pure evil and drives men to madness and targets their brains like a sanity assassin with an evil rifle. The spooks gone wild in the house are trapped souls who where killed by the mad doctor and are now on the loose, killing anyone who double-dares to enter this dark house in the flat field of evil. (Did I mention that there’s evil going on here?)
As the house’s ghost hosts seal the windows and doors, those inside must find a way out. Half of them want to locate the booty, so the group separates and the blood flow begins. The ghouls get creative in this sequel as we get to see a guy pulled through a wall by his intestines, a big street-fighter type torn to little bitty pieces, and a strong female seduced by violent vixens gets her face removed with a scalpel. By the way, the ghost of the mad doctor does this himself with a few quick flicks of the wrist. The burning of the treasure hunter leader in a crematorium furnace also induces giggles. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for his desire, burning from the inside, to do whatever it takes to put five million in his pocket.
What I do like is that as each person is killed we get a piece of the story behind the doctor’s crimes, how his patients snuffed him out and how the house can be defeated. A ghost who has decided to communicate with her and show her their turmoil by touching her eyes reveals it Ariel. So the idol needs to be found and destroyed before anyone can truly escape the house. And found it is, as for destroyed? Well there couldn’t be a third movie if the thing was destroyed, so flushed from the house is the next best thing. The end goal is the same I suppose, rid the house of evil trinkets and set the innocent killer apparitions free. Haazaa!!!
Besides the boob shots, clichéd cartoon-like villains, some standard modern horror film dialog, and setting aside the plot holes that come with the gory horror genre, Return To House On Haunted Hill isn’t too bad. As I always point out with these things, so long as Kats and Kittens are entertained a film has done what it set out to do, and for eighty-one minutes I was involved with nothing else but this movie, its characters, and most of all how they meet their ends.
Also on the unrated DVD are some extra features that don’t make sense. We get to see “confessionals” of the characters as if they were on a reality show. Which just makes you wonder if at one time the studio had a different idea for the plot and storyline or do they think that most fans are hung up on the Blair Witch, Survivor thing? And as the scenes are clearly ad libbed it shows that the actors are not so good at it and their skills are a bit weak. But take a look for yourselves, ghoulies, and decide if Return To House On Haunted Hill is worth the trip through the silent hedges and over the hollow hills of horrordom.