File this under 'Sequels Nobody Wanted'.
I recently watched for the first time RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (2007) which begs several questions. One - what is that? Two - why? Three- huh?
RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (2007) is the direct-to-video sequel to the Dark Castle remake of the William Castle/Vincent Price funhouse classic HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959). Why did a remake garner a sequel when the superior original never did? That’s a question I can’t answer but I can explain why I watched this sucker. First- I actually enjoyed the 1999 remake and have watched it several times since its theatrical run. It has been about ten years since I last saw it so maybe it’s time for a rewatch but my memories are of a fun romp with a game cast, plenty of scares and some nice creepy atmosphere. It also has some dodgy CGI effects but no film is perfect and they never bothered me. They might on a rewatch, though. Hum'
Anyway- I have wanted to see this sequel since it debuted because of my general curiosity about most horror movies but this one also had a neat gimmick. The Blu-Ray was supposed to give you the option of playing a kind of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style way of viewing the film. This was touted at the time of its release but I had no desire to pay money for what would probably be a crappy film just to experience this possibly crappy game-like extra. I was able to get the Blu for nothing (seriously- nothing at all) and I have now watched the film once as a normal film to see how it is supposed to play out. I plan to soon sit down and try to do the experimental Choose My Own Adventure thing soon but I had to let readers know about this one thing that surprised me.
One of my favorite actors from one of my favorite cult British science fiction TV shows stars in RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL! The fellow in question is Steven Pacey who played Tarrant on the last two season/series of Blake’s 7. I couldn’t recognize him in the professor role here but I knew I had seen him someplace before and it was driving me crazy until I resorted to an IMDb search. How cool! He’s a pretty good actor and in this film he covers his accent very well so I doubt I would have ever figured it out with the inter-tubes help. I now think I should look up the other cool actors from that classic show to see if I have missed them in movies I have already seen. Strange.
Oh- the film is not good. It’s not bad either, managing to fall in that sad mid-range that means it is not going to be very memorable. It was an OK movie that at least knew to keep the pace fast to hide the lack of logical reasons for the people to be crawling around the haunted old madhouse. It also doesn’t overstay its welcome with a short running time. Hell- the credits start at about the seventy-five minute mark so that is a plus.
Now I just need to mess with that strange viewing option….