A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
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 <email@example.com>
Filmed September 3-16 1958, for December release (copyright 1958). See more »
In the opening scene, when Frederick Loren introduces each of the party guests, the back window of each person's funeral car is blacked out with a dark cloth. But in all the long shots showing the procession of cars driving slowly along the road, the back windows of all the cars are clearly transparent, with nothing blocking the view through the glass. See more »
Vincent Price plays Frederick Loren, an eccentric millionaire that invites five very different people to a haunted house for a party, and offers them $10,000 if they can stay the night... This film benefits emphatically from the presence of the legendary Vincent Price. As usual, Price gives a commanding performance and completely steals every scene he's in. Price is undoubtedly the star of the show, but he's not the only star in the show; Elisha Cook in particular gives excellent support playing the wimpy owner of the house; much the same character that he played in the Kubrick masterpiece; 'The Killing'. The rest of the cast is largely made up of unknowns and b-grade actors, but they also all perform to relatively high standards in their respective roles.
House on Haunted Hill's best feature other than the legendary Vincent Price, is undoubtedly the atmosphere of the house. Throughout the movie, there is an abundant sense of dread that is perpetually present and it serves the film well in that it brings the house to life; at every point in the movie, the audience is made to believe that there is something unseen in the house that will cause bad things to happen; and this is obviously exactly what a haunted house film needs. The film is very creepy in that way. That's not to say that this film is without its flaws; at times, the plot meanders and as the film only has a 75 minute running time, that's not good. It can also become a little dull at times as there isn't always a lot going on. This is, however, somewhat combated by the acting performances and defined characters as they usually manage to keep it at least interesting, if not enthralling throughout. House on Haunted Hill is topped off by a brilliant double twist, and it is also given certain originality by that also, although the twists do beg the question of whether or not the film has an appropriate title. The walking skeleton is hilarious, though and worth watching film for alone.
Overall, House on Haunted Hill is a lovely little b movie; it's creative, it's atmospheric and it stars Vincent Price. Highly recommended viewing, especially for horror fans. Definitely not recommended for anyone though, is the dire 1999 remake of this film, and the equally appalling remake of William Castle's other ghost story; '13 Ghosts'.
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