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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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...
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...
...
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Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum ...
...
Howard Hoffman ...
Skeleton ...
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:

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

The opening Scare Trick was so effective that it actually started the idea of novelty "haunting records" records of spooky sounds and music mostly for Halloween and parties. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Frederick Loren: You've already met Watson Pritchard, a man living in mortal fear of a house and yet he is risking his life to spend another night here. I wonder why? He says for money.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Spectral Trip (2017) 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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