The Lampoons: House on Haunted Hill

A late night slot at the Pleasance Dome perfectly suits the latest offering from The Lampoons, a raucous, defiantly silly parody of the creaky well-loved William Castle classic, delivered with just the right level of absolutely no respect whatsoever.

So cheerfully and brilliantly telegraphed that the audience is helpless to resist.

Like many of the parody versions of films on offer at the Fringe this year, you needn't have seen the original movie in order to get the jokes. Sure, the humour may be even sweeter if you’ve already enjoyed a wasted evening laughing at the overwrought relationship between Vincent Price’s character and wife Annabelle during a late-night screening of Haunted Hill, but the version here – delivered with plummy intonations and tortured looks – is so cheerfully and brilliantly telegraphed that the audience is helpless to resist.

In fact, the audience is an important element of the show, providing a healthy amount of the special effects: so when a treacherous rainstorm soaks the main characters of the story, those sitting watching are employed to fire water pistols at the actors. One of the great joys of House On Haunted Hill is the way that The Lampoons get the audience to excitedly join in, and then get annoyed when the audience – inevitably – get rather too over-excited, and refuse to put down the water pistols. Christina Baston in particular gives good dead eye.

Following a quite spectacular (and, upon reflection, a spectacularly pointless) costume change, the plot (such as it is) kicks in: a disparate bunch of possibly clichéd characters are forced to stay in a creaky old house overnight for the chance of winning ten thousand dollars. At one point there are as many Vincent Prices as there are Lampoons actors (each competing with one another in terms of moustache size). Subtlety is entirely absent from this hour, but crucially so is any degree of self-indulgence – each joke pulled apart for the maximum amount of laughter that can be wrestled from the audience, one highlight in particular being the selection of potential murder weapons, which gets a certain character into a bit of a pickle.

The gags whizz past furiously, with hallucinations of a dancing cats jostling up against a repeated joke of an actor wanting her moment in the spotlight to impress a visiting agent. Even if you happen to be familiar with the original House On Haunted Hill, it’s very unlikely that you’ll see what’s coming next at any given moment.

House On Haunted Hill is breathlessly fast moving, very funny, unashamedly stupid – and very much what your fringe experience should be made of.

Reviews by Andrew Allen

Pleasance Courtyard

The Archive of Educated Hearts

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

The Pin: Backstage

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

The Lampoons: House on Haunted Hill

★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Foil, Arms and Hog – Craicling

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Janeane Garofalo: Put a Pin in That

★★★★
C venues – C aquila

Hymns for Robots

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
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Donate to Theatre MAD now

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Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The Lampoons are back with this joyously absurd and furiously bizarre late-night comedy! Join these four professional idiots in a hilarious reimagining of a Hollywood classic. An eccentric millionaire offers four strangers $10,000 if they last the night at his haunted house party. Tasty! Portuguese ghost cats. Killer pickles. And Vincent Price's rogue moustache. If you find a more haunted house, we'll double it! ***** (Time Out). 'The best thing you haven't watched yet. These idiots are geniuses' (Simon Kane, BBC Comedy).

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