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House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Not Rated | | Horror , Mystery | 1959 (Austria)
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.

Directors:

William Castle, Rosemary Horvath (uncredited)

Writer:

Robb White
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Frederick Loren
Carol Ohmart ... Annabelle Loren
Richard Long ... Lance Schroeder
Alan Marshal ... Dr. David Trent
Carolyn Craig ... Nora Manning
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Watson Pritchard (as Elisha Cook)
Julie Mitchum Julie Mitchum ... Ruth Bridgers
Leona Anderson ... Mrs. Slydes
Howard Hoffman Howard Hoffman ... Jonas
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:

The doors are locked at midnight. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1959 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

The House on Haunted Hill See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed September 3-16 1958, for December release (copyright 1958). See more »

Goofs

After Lance pulls Nora out of the way of the falling chandelier, his arm alternates back and forth from being around her shoulders to being around her waist. See more »

Quotes

Frederick Loren: This is Doctor David Trent, a psychiatrist. He claims that my ghosts will help his work on hysteria, but don't you see a little touch of greed around the mouth and eyes?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Burying the Ex (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Darling, The Only Ghoul In The House Is You!
20 May 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee 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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