House on Haunted Hill hasn't aged all that well, but its campy tone and occasional eerie moment help round out an overall decent watch. Led by the always charming Vincent Price, this film is less of a ghost story and more of a mystery concerning whether what's happening is even supernatural to begin with. The result is fairly surprising, though I must say I thought the 1999 remake handled the execution a bit better. That isn't to say I didn't like this film. I was just expecting a bit more commitment to the idea of a creepy haunting.
Vincent Price plays eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren, who agrees to pay $10,000 to five strangers if they can survive the night in a famous haunted mansion with him and his gold-digging wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart). You get plenty of backstory on who supposedly died in the house, and there's a certain scene involving a floaty witch lady that is pretty damn terrifying, but beyond that, there's almost nothing. Most of the film is watching the bland characters interact with each other, most of whom never experience any sort of contact with the ghosts.
Overall, I think House on Haunted Hill is trapped in its own time. It may have worked as a gimmicky horror fright fest in 1959, but now in this oversaturated, violent world, it doesn't hold a candle to even the tamest of horror movies. Vincent Price does his best to keep the film from falling into goofy territory, but I'm afraid it might be time to retire this one.