6.9/10
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219 user 109 critic

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Unrated | | Horror, Mystery | 17 February 1959 (USA)
A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
...
Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum ...
...
Howard Hoffman ...
...
Himself
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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:

The 13 greatest shocks of all time! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

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)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Castle: [gimmick] Used a gimmick called "Emergo" in theaters. When the skeleton rises from the acid vat in the film, a lighted plastic skeleton on a wire appeared from a black box next to the screen to swoop over the heads of the audience. The skeleton would then be pulled back into the box as the skeleton in the film is "reeled in". Many theaters soon stopped using this "effect" because when the local boys heard about it, they would bring slingshots to the theater; when the skeleton started its journey, they would pull out their slingshots and fire at it with stones, BBs, ball bearings and whatever else they could find. See more »

Goofs

The house is supposed to have been built in the 1850s, and the interiors are typical Victorian era mansion sets, but exteriors are of a house designed in the 1920s by Frank Lloyd Wright which still looked very modern when this film was made more than 20 years later. See more »

Quotes

Nora Manning: Mr. Pritchard, you said your sister-in-law killed a man and a woman here and cut them up?
[he nods]
Nora Manning: You said they found hands and feet but they never found any heads.
[shakes his head]
Nora Manning: Would you like to see one of those heads?
[turns to everybody else]
Nora Manning: Would you all like to see one of those heads? Well then come with me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in In Bad Taste (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Enjoyable campy fun.
6 December 2002 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

Of the many William Castle directed shockers of the '50's and '60's, this one is probably the most traditional in terms of being a "ghost story". The set up is irresistible (derivative of "Ten Little Indians" in a way.) Five unrelated people are chosen to spend the night in what is purported to be a haunted house. Several murders have taken place in the house in the past. If the participants stay the night, their host (Price) will give them each $10,000 (a nice chunk of change in 1958!) The house is surprisingly non-Gothic on the outside. It more closely resembles a piece of the 1937 "Lost Horizon" set. Inside, it has the more expected old woodwork, creaky doors, curtained alcoves, etc... Price is wonderful, as always, as the sardonic, mysterious host. His wife is played by a former beauty queen (Ohmart) who is attractive, if a bit frosty. They have some interesting repartee which reveals their mistrust and hatred for one another. The guests include leading man-type Long, ingenue Craig, nervous Cook, crusty Mitchum and debonair Marshal. Macabre Price gives the guests loaded guns as party favors! It doesn't take long for the unusual occurrences and minor creeps to begin. Soon, the inhabitants are locked in and couldn't leave even if they wanted to! Long and Craig play Fred and Daphne as they try to unravel the goings-on. Cook drinks and gets more paranoid. Marshal tends to the wounded, getting more involved as the story progresses. Mitchum (Robert's sister!) is given little to do and doesn't appear to be a very significant actress. The film is hokey, campy and illogical...full of contrivances and inanities. Yet, it is undeniably entertaining. All of the hallmarks of an old-fashioned scary movie are in place....the eerie music, the undependable lights, swinging doors, secret passages and without question the most hilarious, terrifyingly ugly housekeeper ever put on film!

Price is right at home in these surroundings and does much to make the film palatable. There are a couple of fun plot twists to keep it from being too stale and the running time is a very comfortable hour and fifteen minutes. It's just a fun, entertaining way to waste an hour or so. Sadly, Craig (who had a real set of lungs on her...one of the greatest screamers ever!) was felled by a gunshot in real life about twelve years after this film was made at age 36. In fact, Marshal was dead within three years of heart ailments at 56 and Long died 16 years after from a heart attack at 47! And they say "Poltergeist" was cursed!


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