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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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Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum ...
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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 ever seen! 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

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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

Frederick Loren announces at the start of the challenge that if any of the contestants dies, the deceased's heirs will get his/her $10,000. Later, he says that if any of the five contestants dies, the total $50,000 will be split evenly among the survivors. However, the initial statement is spoken directly to the film's audience, is not part of the actual plot line, and therefore, does not really contradict the terms subsequently described to the genuine characters. See more »

Quotes

Frederick Loren: The caretakers will leave at midnight, locking us in here until they come back in the morning. Once the door is locked, there's no way out. The windows have bars that a jail would be proud of, and the only door to the outside locks like vault. There's no electricity, no phone, no one within miles, so no way to call for help.
Watson Pritchard: Like a coffin.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Gilmore Girls: Go, Bulldogs! (2006) 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

 
Vincent Price is outstanding
25 July 2004 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

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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