2. House on Haunted Hill

2. House on Haunted Hill (1959). Vincent Price is a rich tycoon who invites people to a splendid little party in a haunted house to celebrate his wife’s birthday, and offers them each $10,000 if they survive the night. This was the first horror film I ever owned on VHS, and I watched it all the time. It’s got everything—ghosts, deception, murder, a vat of acid, a skeleton, blood dripping from the ceiling … It’s pure 50s cheesy-horror cinema, a William Castle classic that is as self-aware and clever as it is creepy. I just wish I could’ve seen it with the in-theater gags and effects. There’s technically superior films on this list, of course, but this one is near and dear to me. I watch it every year, and love sharing it with people for the first time. It never disappoints. And, like Night of the Living Dead, it’s in the public domain. Enjoy!

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