I'm sure you're wondering how this movie could have possibly won a place in my heart, given my high standards and impeccable taste in horror, right? RIGHT? Right. So, let me tell the tale and give you a little insight into a day, long ago in the life of moi, in a dazzling city known as "New York"...
I was working as a
One fine day, whilst working the cash registers, I got into a wee argument with one of the assistant managers, over what I no longer remember. He told me to take a break, so I gladly did. I'd been in the breakroom about 5 minutes, talking with a co-worker, when another manager walked in and asked if I was on lunch. When I replied in the negative and related what had happened, she told me to get back on the floor or punch out. I thought about this for a few seconds, and then in a flash came these simple words to my little brain:
I don't have to work here.
I said it out loud to my co-worker- "Hey, I don't have to work here". Then I walked into the office and told them I was punching out for good. By the time I had cleaned out my locker and swiped my timecard for the last time, the breakroom had filled with people having lunch. Word had spread very quickly about what I'd done, and I kid you not- my co-workers in the breakroom started chanting my name and banging on the tables. STA-CIE! STA-CIE STA-CIE! I felt like Norma motherfucking Rae! I held my arms aloft, smiled, and walked out of Large Chain Bookstore in the middle of the day, in the middle of my shift. I still count it as one of the best things I've ever done in my entire life. Take your Olympic gold medals and cram 'em- I walked out of my job in the middle of the day! Take that, Jackie Joyner-Kersee! I'd like to see you try, Flo Jo!
It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself. Somewhere in the back of my head was the beginnings of a panic attack- I'd been scraping by, and now I was completely jobless- but I stuck my middle finger up at said panic attack and kept on truckin'. I walked the 15 or so blocks to Times Square- I may have even whistled, or jumped up and clicked my heels together, I can't say...the journey was a blur. If the pigeons and squirrels were smiling at me, or if I spun around Sound-of-Music-style amongst twirling garbage of the Manhattan streets, I wouldn't be surprised. It was like I was a living, breathing Mentos commercial! Somehow, I ended up at Virgin Megastore and browsed around a bit. I went down to the movie theatre in their basement and plunked down my last dollars on a Coke, some popcorn, and a ticket to House on Haunted Hill.
There I sat in the theatre, all alone and terribly proud of myself, munching away and having one hell of a good time. I thought the movie itself was fantastic- absolutely perfect for my mood, and I fancied myself a total rebel, sitting in a movie theatre watching a horror movie when I should've been selling books to uptight New Yorkers!
For those of you who don't know the story, the movie is a remake of the 1959 flick starring Vincent Price- I've never seen the original, so I've no idea how the two films compare. Geoffrey Rush (Shine) stars as Stephen Price, a man who's made his wealth by scaring people with thrill rides and 'haunted' amusement parks. He's hosting a birthday party at the titular house for his wife Evelyn (Famke Janssen), although he could be throwing the party simply as a lark- his real goal may be to kill his unfaithful spouse. She's got nefarious plans of her own, however, and it may be Stephen who doesn't live to see dawn. Also in the house are the party guests- a whopping 4 of them, who will each receive a check for one million bucks if they can make it through the night in the house. It's a renovated insane asylum, you see, and it's haunted, of course. Scary things happen, corny things happen, and lots of people die.
I watched House on Haunted Hill again today, and even without the taint of my personal rebellion, it's still loads of fun. Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen are fantastic as the warring couple- Rush particularly chews the scenery like it's made out of Laffy Taffy. There's gore a-plenty, some genuine scares, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing as to who's fooling who. It's mindless enjoyment- and there's not a damn thing wrong with that, right? So turn off your brain and have fun with House on Haunted Hill- quitting your shitty job in addition is completely optional.