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House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  17 February 1959 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 14,459 users  
Reviews: 200 user | 111 critic

A millionaire offers ten thousand dollars to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with he and his wife.

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Title: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Carol Ohmart ...
...
Alan Marshal ...
Carolyn Craig ...
...
Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum ...
Leona Anderson ...
Howard Hoffman ...
Skeleton ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren and his 4th wife, Annabelle, have invited 5 people to the house on Haunted Hill for a "haunted House" party. Whoever will stay in the house for one night will earn ten thousand dollars each. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors. Written by Tony Mayer <tones120c@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

First Film With the Amazing New Wonder EMERGO: The Thrills Fly Right Into The Audience! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The House on Haunted Hill  »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Ennis Brown House in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1924, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was used for the exterior shots of the haunted house during the film's opening sequence. See more »

Goofs

Recognizably the following was intended to be a spooky special effect, but delivered rather awkwardly... Annabelle had faked her hanging death to fool her husband and the guests, and to obviously scare Nora to the point of hysteria. Which explains why "ghost" Annabel 'floats' to Nora's window, but doesn't materialize inside the room, as an actual ghost would. However, that sequence does not explain how the rope managed to creep through the window and *wrap* itself around Nora's ankles, and then retract out the window again. It may have worked better, if the rope had physically pulled on Nora's ankles, leaving her screaming as she grabbed onto to something, and then simply retracted back out the window again. See more »

Quotes

Frederick Loren: It's almost time to lock up the house and then your party will really begin. I wonder how it will end...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end title credits list "Skeleton - By Himself" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Coupling: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

House on Haunted Hill
Theme
by Richard Kayne and Richard Loring
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Darling, The Only Ghoul In The House Is You!
20 May 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

William Castle liked to promote his films with gimmicks, and the gimmick for THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL was Emerg-O: at the peak of the action, a glowing skeleton "emerged from the screen" and flew out over the audience on a wire. By most accounts Emerg-O caused more laughter than chills, but fortunately Castle never relied on gimmicks alone: he also liked bona fide stars, and for HAUNTED HILL his star of choice was none other than the legendary horror star Vincent Price.

Like most Castle films, HAUNTED HILL's plot reworks a well-worn theme. Millionaire Price and his wife Carol Ohmart give a "haunted house party" for five strangers chosen at random and promised ten thousand dollars if they last the night. The catch: the doors lock at midnight, after which there is no escape until the caretakers return in the morning. While the story itself doesn't hold many surprises, the script is unexpectedly witty, and Price plays it in a slightly prissy, very high-camp manner with a tremendous dose of the black humor for which he was so famous--and the little-known Carol Ohmart is every bit his match, snapping out memorable lines ("Darling, the only ghoul in the house is you!") in every scene. Together they elevate the film well above what you might otherwise expect, and when combined with the largely wooden supporting cast and some of the silliest this-is-supposed-to-scare-you effects imaginable the result is a cult classic with plenty of camp appeal.

In addition to Price and Ohmart, the film is also surprisingly atmospheric. Shot in and around one of Frank Lloyd Wright's more famous structures, the grainy "late show" look of the film (due more to accident and age than deliberate intent) is very entertaining, the cinematic devices (everything from disembodied heads, irises, and jump-cuts) are very appealing, and the sound track (which sounds like a mix of piano bass keyes, synthesizer, and soprano vocals) is exactly what you'd want for this obvious but extremely entertaining flick. Of all the Castle films, THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is my personal favorite, and it should rate very high with fans of cult, camp, and Vincent Price. And I'll go further than that: of all his memorable appearances, I do believe this was among Price's best. A great choice for both family movie night or a sophisticated Halloween howl--very recommended! Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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