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House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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



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Complete credited cast:
Alan Marshal ...
Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum ...
Leona Anderson ...
Howard Hoffman ...
Skeleton ...


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


The 13 greatest shocks of all time! See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 February 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The House on Haunted Hill  »

Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


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 »


Referenced in Scream 2 (1997) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Nearly Forgotten If Not Saved
5 January 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

William Castle has made several wonderful horror films; some obviously better than others, but at the top of the list are "Thirteen Ghosts" and "House on Haunted Hill." This movie might though have been all but forgotten if not one plucky guy recently remade this movie in to a much more gory movie. That movie is a remake in name only, but this one is obviously more superior because it has the incredibly creepy presence of Vincent Price and the nervous tick of Elisha Cook. The ghosts aren't very scary, nor do we see anything really supernatural, but the atmosphere and uneasiness of this film makes for an incredible who done it story as you wonder who will get it. The set is intoxicating inasmuch as you never really see all of it, nor is it really explained what such a dangerous pit is doing in such a precarious spot in the basement. Such a matter isn't important. On the other side of the coin, the music and the special effects are rather hokey, but then when this was in the theaters, a lot of the teenagers would have been making out to have really bothered to pick this movie apart. It is only in recent years that movies have turned away from gore and back to movies with style and substance that we appreciate films like this.

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