This remake of William Castle's enjoyably creaky 1958 movie replaces Vincent Price's eccentric millionaire, who invites five hapless strangers to spend the night in an 'old dark house', with Rush's flamboyantly barking theme-park impresario, Steven Price. Thankfully, Rush's performance is more affectionate homage than slavish impersonation, and Malone's direction quickly wins us over with a blend of camp villainy, knockabout horror and twisted nastiness. Should any of the five strangers survive a night in the former Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane, they will receive $1 million. And since the scares have been rigged by their playful host, we figure they might just make it. On the other hand, Mr Price and his beautiful wife Evelyn (Janssen) are so spitefully combative that they seem destined to kill each other before the night is out. But then the house itself takes a hand. The imaginative physical effects come into their own during the surreal dream sequences and hauntingly gruesome flashbacks to the madhouse's heyday, the latter featuring the old Re-Animator himself, Jeffrey Combs, as the sadistic Dr Vannacutt.
Cast and crew