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  • This classic version of "House on Haunted Hill" is one of the most entertaining examples of the low-budget, black-and-white horror films that used to be such a mainstay for movie fans. It has few frills, but it does have some thrills, and in particular it has a cleverly written story that is told at a brisk pace, with a good deal of interesting and pleasingly macabre detail.

    Horror legend Vincent Price is in his element as the mysterious millionaire who invites a houseful of guests to spend the night in a supposedly haunted mansion, and his performance will give his fans everything that they expect. The supporting cast is solid, led by Elisha Cook, who is very good as a nervous, tipsy character whose rambling proclamations of doom add the right touch of offbeat suspense. The settings are given plenty of detail that makes the characters' explorations of the house even more interesting.

    The story is nicely written for the genre, making very good use of the possibilities in the setup, throwing in some good turns, and resolving everything in a resourceful fashion. And it's not without some real suspense - even those who normally watch low-budget horror features solely for the camp factor might get an actual start once or twice as everything plays out. And even if you don't find anything scary, there is plenty here that makes it enjoyable to watch.
  • Vincent Price asks five strangers to spend an evening in a haunted house for ten thousand dollars a piece. With his estranged wife in tow, the seven house guests begin a nocturnal odyssey of mayhem, murder, and the macabre. This film is a great vehicle for Price's unique talents as an actor, and is also a very atmospheric film due in large part to the direction of William Castle. Castle gives us all kinds of horror in the traditional vein...a severed head, a skeleton, the screaming-without-end hysterical young woman, the plot twists and turns, and the firmly planted tongue-in-cheek. The cast is very good, with Carol Omhart, as Price's elegant and gorgeous wife, and Elisha Cook, as a drunken sot who continually rants about all the evil that has happened in the house, as standouts. This is a great Halloween film, or one that you turn off the lights to watch.
  • Forget the awful, senseless remake, the original 'The House On Haunted Hill' is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable chillers of all time. William Castle's over the top camp style is an acquired taste for many, but once you enter into the spirit of things you're in for a wild, fun ride. The legendary Vincent Price is in his element here as the cynical millionaire trapped in a loveless sham of a marriage, and Carol Ohmart, who I have only ever seen in the cult classic 'Spiderbaby', is a knockout as his tough as nails "better half". Their haunted house party guests, led by the much loved character actor Elisha Cook, Jr ('The Maltese Falcon' ,The Killing',etc.etc.), are well cast and amusing, and the whole thing is a hoot! I recommend this movie to all horror fans. It is quite possibly the single most entertaining horror thriller of the 50s. Supremely silly but still scary at the same time. Great stuff!
  • 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'.
  • 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 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!
  • 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
  • This movie is a very good tale of a house that may or may not be haunted. This version is better than the newer one, mainly because Vincent Price is so good here, much better than anyone in the new version made in 1999. It is also relatively short and goes by quickly. This movie has some of the same plot elements of the one from 1999, but thankfully the ending to this one is a lot better. I really enjoyed it, as I was hoping the one character would come out on top. This one is about a party being held in an old house that is supposed to be haunted. The people were invited by Price's character and offered $10,000 dollars if they were to stay the entire night. There is tension between Price's character and his wife, there is a girl who is very nervous and wants to leave immediately, and then there is the doctor who does not believe in ghosts. There are three others as well who are invited to stay the night. During the night strange things happen as one of the guests is murdered and there seems to be supernatural things happening. A very well done movie that for me ended perfectly.
  • 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.
  • Kakueke19 November 2001
    I have watched my share of horror movies, altho I am not an expert on the genre, and I have seen different settings. Of course, there can be mixed settings: a film about Dracula may take you to the Transylvanian outdoors, to streets or graveyards, as well as into the castle or mansion or whatever. But one way horror movies can be categorized is by whether most or all of the film is within a residence, or not. Bearing this in mind, I think something special about horror films is having the victim(s) enclosed inside a mansion or home, with escape difficult or impossible, and terrorized by anything one can imagine -- moving furniture, metamorphosing paintings, spooks in the attic, odd remnants, lights on and off -- as part of the buildup for a real or expected attack, by a person or whatever. The terror, suspense, is believing someone or something is or may be there, but where, and when, will it strike? "The Shining," "Die! Die! My Darling," "Beyond the Door," Behind Locked Doors," "The Haunting." Although claustrophobia might generally be a negative for me in a movie, such as "Rear Window" (unlike most people, I do not really like it), in horror movies it is great, it makes the day. If one looks at things this way, "House on Haunted Hill" can be seen as the quintessential horror film.

    Start with having Vincent Price in it, hopefully no arguments there. He plays Frederick Loren, the affluent host of a "party" in which he invites five people, not including himself and his wife, to a haunted mansion on a hill in a challenge for each person to win $10,000 (at today's value, about $100,000) if that person stays in the mansion all night. Among the five are Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.), an alcoholic, whose endemically spooked countenance sets the tone for what everyone is getting into. Frightface or not, he bears an (eerie?) resemblance to evangelist Pat Robertson, whether or not he is actually as scary. Altho Pritchard owns the house, he has spent little time in it, but he is nevertheless the expert on the circumstances surrounding seven deaths, including that of his brother, on the premises over many years. Quickly, the other four get the message: they may be facing trouble. And trouble begins quickly. Part of the idea is that there is no escape out of the mansion after midnight, when the caretakers leave, and barricades ensure this.

    Price's wife, Annabelle, is played by Carol Ohmart. She is striking blond, gorgeous, with very fair skin. In several scenes that I will not specify, her lightness is artfully contrasted against surrounding darkness by Director William Castle -- very beautiful, no special effects needed. Price has a jealous rage toward her and she in turn wants to get rid of him, as she has tried to do in the past. What will happen tonight?

    Of the other four characters, the two with the stronger presences in the first half are Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), a handsome pilot, and Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), a pretty typist for one of Loren's companies and the early lead screamer. The other two are newspaper writer Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum), who has a gambling problem, and Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), a psychiatrist interested in the subject of scared people. A plot twist brings one of these latter two to greater prominence in the second half.

    The creaky doors, the body parts, the unexplained incidents all do their part in a movie in which black & white is such an essential. The black & white cements the atmosphere we need for the "house" (mansion): from a distance, from a close-up at the start of the movie, and then inside the mansion, everywhere. For those who profess love for "Casablanca" and cry "sacrilege" when they see the colored version, I say, OK, the true version to me is the original, but the colorized version is just the colorized version, what's wrong with watching it too? The movie still works in color, doesn't it, even if it is preferable in black & white? To me, anyway. But as to "House on Haunted Hill" -- even if I similarly would not cry "sacrilege" to a colorized version, I ask, can you think of any other movie in which black & while is so essential, in which a colorized version would lose so much? Maybe you can, but I can't.

    Loren, with his ulterior motives, has a smug, rather commanding aura, knowing that each of the five needs the $10,000. There can be skeletons in people's closets, yes. And as Loren's plans are threatened with derailment, keep this in mind.
  • William Castle, the Master Promoter of Low Budget Horror films of the 50's and60's , takes a step closer to immortality with this tasty little thriller starring Vincent Price and Elijah Cook Jr. Not a great movie by any means, but the performances and screen presence of the top two are well worth your time. Price, a ritzy wealthy bon vivant , suspects his unfaithful wife ? might be attempting an early demise for him.

    He invites 5 people to spend the night at his house,to flesh out the possible killer. (The Historic Ennis Brown Mansion), now in disrepair, irony. The character Watson Pritchard(Elijah Cook Jr.)is the catalyst that helps promote the spookiness of the film. The subplots provided by Richard Long and Carolyn Craig , are just filler. As fate would have it, there are ironic twists , and lessons to be learned about having vats of acids in your cellar. Newer generations may be bored by lack of violence or gore, or the fact there isn't much action, but this is just an innocent date movies from the 50,s. Something to occupy a few hours on a Fri.nite in the dark. Most people in the audience provided their own entertainment. William Castle graduated to bigger and better films such as "Rosemary's Baby" later in the 60's.

    So, in the context of the film world, this will never make the top 1000, but if you need a film to watch in the dark with your significant other, then you might look at this one...Enjoy...Even the Skeleton gets Credit...Ha..Ha...Haaaaaa..........
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I was a kid, watching this was a Halloween ritual. We made fun of the woman who kept asking for "Scotch and" (and...what?), and we pretended we weren't just a little creeped out. However, we grow up and even camp value only goes so far, and this thing can only survive on the very dregs of camp. Absolutely everything that occurs is laughably implausible and/or comically overdone, in particular Nora's sighting of the old lady ghost in the basement. This is a movie that sees no need to explain why, if this 'ghost' was really just the very unattractive caretaker's wife (as we see later on), she felt the need to hiss and hold out her hands in a ghostlike fashion while inexplicably in an empty cellar room. And, by the way, float and not walk. There's a lot more. Best moments: Richard Long plopping the severed head on a living room table, and Vincent Price reeling in the skeleton he used to scare his wife to death, a skeleton maneuvered by huge ropes somehow not visible earlier. Oh, whatever happened to Mystery Science Theater 3000??? This film was made for them.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    A splendidly entertaining exploitation chiller, constructed with cheerful contempt for the intelligence of its presumed teens-on-a-hot-date audience. I imagine it fulfilled more than adequately its generic purpose of making the girls scream and grab on to their boyfriends, but what distinguishes it from hundreds of scare shows of equally modest ambitions is its magnificent disdain - even by the standards of the genre - for plotting, structure, character, realism, consistency, and plausibility. Here are a few of its more noticeable liberties - and note that I don't call them "goofs". That would suggest that director William Castle and scriptwriter Robb White gave a tinker's cuss about whether it all made sense or not...

    1) The title - neither the house nor the hill is haunted. 2) Exterior and interior matching - the house is a boldly modernist design (by Frank Lloyd Wright, apparently), but all the fittings and furnishings are junkshop Victoriana. 3) How come a house built in the 1930s isn't wired for electricity? 4) And if it isn't, what magic power controls the time-locked outer doors and gates? 5) Why does the script stipulate the lack of electricity, anyway? It doesn't have any plot significance at all. 6) In a story with only seven characters, three of them have no function in the plot - and one of them hardly gets to say a word. 7) How come, years after someone was murdered in it, that hole in the cellar floor is still full of acid? Poor housekeeping? 8) Ever tried making a rope coil up by pushing it from one end? 9) If no-one could get out of the house, how did villainess Carol Ohmart manage to appear outside Carolyn Craig's bedroom window? 10) Floating at least one storey off the ground, at that? 11) How did Vincent Price's wife know he would invite her lover (whom he shows no sign of having met before) to the party? 12) And how did Price know about their fiendishly complicated plot to bump him off in time to construct a still more fiendishly complicated plot of his own? 13) Both of these plots - just to be picky - require the unwitting co-operation of another guest whom none of the three principals has ever met before the party ... 14) ... and one of them requires a hysterical girl, who's never handled a gun before, to shoot a man dead, quite spontaneously and purely out of fright. Is her real name Annie Oakley? 15) How does the scary old housekeeper pull that glide-across-the-floor stunt? Does that long black dress conceal a unicycle? 16) And if the butler wanted to encourage Carolyn Craig to get out of the house, was there no way less oblique then menacing her from around a door with a rubber werewolf mitt? 17) And then he locks her and everyone else inside the house anyway... 18) Another murder method I wouldn't care to rely on: scaring someone with a plastic skeleton and hoping she won't notice it's moving on ropes you could use to dock an aircraft carrier, but run away from it - backwards - into that convenient vat of acid. There should have been a preparatory line in the script about how she'd lost her glasses, like Velma in Scooby Doo. 19) And another one, laying the foundations for the same scene, making casual mention of Price's prowess as an amateur ventriloquist. 20) Why couldn't Price - a millionaire industrialist - just have shot the guilty couple out of hand and hired a good lawyer?

    Well, I'm glad he didn't, because that wouldn't have made half as delightful a film. House on Haunted Hill isn't the way it is through ineptitude, nor is it a spoof, nor is it a pioneering post-modernist essay in the so-bad-it's-good aesthetic. It's just a piece of strictly functional, disarmingly honest film-making that goes beyond mere unpretentiousness to deliberate disregard for craft, professionalism and sense - because it knows it doesn't need them. William Castle cuts to the chase and doesn't care how he gets there. His audience didn't care, either. Like me, though probably in a different way, they were too busy having fun.
  • No Hallowe'en was complete without being granted the privilege of staying up late to watch this movie. After all these years, it still has the ability to cause major chills and goosebumps. Younger viewers might find it sophomoric compared to the high tech horrors in today's films, but this movie proves how effective simple techniques can be. One note:. This movie is NOT a film version of the equally famous, Shirley Jackson story, "The Haunting of Hill House". The two are frequently confused for each other.
  • this is probably one of the best black and white horror movies ever made in my opinion,, top 50 material. Vincent Price does his usual over the top great performance,, his is witty, and charming,, his wife on the other hand is cold , calculated , and cunning,, plot goes like this 5 strangers are invited to spend the night at an eccentric millionaire's house, if they survive they will be paid 10,000 dollars, not a bad offer, but apparently the house is very haunted, and people seem to have a bad habit of dying there,, each of the house guests are given one last chance to leave , but the caretakers take off a few minutes early so the house is thoroughly locked down,, the windows even have bars on them, and you just have to love all of the doors in the house,, and the acid pit,, that is just the cream of the crop ladies and gentleman.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Complete with Vincent Price as the star, this movie is the epitome of the 1950's style of thriller. A group of strangers are invited by a millionaire (Price) to spend a night in a supposedly haunted house with the promise of a $10000 reward to any who make it through.

    There's nothing particularly special about this. The usual fare (doors closing and locking for no reason, chandeliers shaking, strange apparitions) but nothing in it that seemed to me to be especially frightening. As the movie nears its end, we discover what's really going on here, and that creates more problems than anything.


    Price's wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart) is apparently having an affair with the psychiatrist Dr. Trent (Alan Marshal.) They use the "haunted house party" as an excuse to have Price bumped off without suspicion being cast on them. OK. Given that Frederick Loren (Price) apparently issued the invitations, how could they be sure that the psychiatrist would even be invited? Or, alternately, if Price knew about the affair, wouldn't the two have been suspicious at the "coincidence" invitation going mysteriously to Trent when everybody seems to be a stranger to each other?

    Anyway, nothing special here (although Carolyn Craig, who played Nora, has a great scream!)

  • I personally think that 1958's "House on Haunted Hill" is one of Vincent Price's best scary movies that he made over his long and storied career. Directed by the incomparable shock master, William Castle, it has all the elements for a good scary movie.

    Vincent Price portrays Frederick Loren, a wealthy businessman who has rented out a haunted house that has been the scene of several murders for an all night party for several people. He offers $10,000.00 to anyone who stays in the house overnight.

    Without giving too much away, there are several chilling moments in the film. Ghosts, an old woman who looks like a wicked witch, a walking skeleton, an acid pit in the dark and creepy basement and a suicide by Loren's beautiful wife Annabelle (played with frosty efficiency by Carol Ohmart) or is her death really a murder? There are several good supporting actors such as Richard Long and Carolyn Craig who help keep the movie entertaining.

    The 1999 remake of this classic film simply cannot hold a candle to the original. This is a great movie to watch while snuggled under the covers on a stormy night.
  • Just having Vincent Price makes this film worthy of viewing it. He offers $10,000 to his guests if they will stay a night in his house on haunted hill. There is a love triangle that Price must deal with as his wife is carrying on with a Doctor. In the house there is the closing doors, especially in one room as the lights go off, one by one, with the door slamming and creepy music. A funny looking woman appears and then appears to melt away. Poor Vincent, little does he know that the point of the party was to kill him, and they do, or do they? Will Vincent have the last say? Enjoy!
  • Released in 1959, "House on Haunted Hill" stars Vincent Price as the host of a "party" at a mansion where several people are invited (e.g. Richard Long and Elisha Cook Jr.) and offered $10,000 to stay the night. Ghostly and spooky things start happening. Will they make it out alive?

    Some old horror movies stand the test of time even though they're extremely dated, like 1953's "House of Wax," but "House on Haunted Hill" isn't one of 'em. This is just a bad movie. It has one or two effective scares, but that's about it. Thankfully, there are some positives: Price is his entertaining self, Long is a quality protagonist and Carol Ohmart is palpably sultry, but there are way too many lame elements, like parts of the dialogue and the overall script. But there's more:

    The corny floating heads; the overacting and over-screaming (mostly by Carolyn Craig); the fact that the house (actually a veritable castle) only has one door; and the ridiculous skeleton at the end that was shorter than Annabelle and was supposed to be the remains of Price's towering character. Then there's the obvious questions the story provokes: Since the guests were only there for the night why not just stay in one room together and wait it out, making sure you're not sitting under a dubious chandelier? What was the purpose of the well of acid in the cellar? How did they possibly pull off Annabelle appearing outside Nora's window? How about the rope encircling Nora's feet and then going back out? Why didn't Nora simply step away from the rope? I could go on and on.

    Still, it's worth watching for the few positives and to roll your eyes at the rest.

    Shot in B&W, the movie runs 75 minutes and was shot Ennis-Brown House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California.

    GRADE: D
  • I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid and how scary it was to me, especially the scene where Nora sees the old lady ghost for the first time. I haven't seen this movie since I was 6 years old and I remember watching with my mom recently the "100 scariest movies" on BRAVO and this movie was mentioned, I figured since I had the opportunity to see it again, why not? Like I said, it's somewhat lost it's edge, but still 'till this day, House on Haunted Hill will always remain a great movie to watch any stormy night.

    Five strangers have been invited to a house on Haunted Hill, they are being offered by Vincent price $10,000 each, the catch? They have to spend the night at that house that has been cursed, thinking it's just a good old fashioned haunted party that Vincent's wife is throwing, they go along with it, especially since they could easily have $10,000. But things start to go a little crazy when horrible things happen to the guests, including the sights of ghosts. But questions are brought up when the wife seems pretty up on loosing her millionaire husband.

    The story was great and the ending was one of the first great twist endings of our time. Again, I could always easily laugh at some scenes now a days, but I think it is because of the fact that I've seen so many horror movies. Because I still remember those horrible nightmares this movie gave me as a kid and that's what makes this movie special to me, it will remain as the greatest sleepover flick!

  • How can a bad movie be so good? That's the paradox we find on watching 'The House on Haunted Hill'- the first- the most frightening cheesecake ever put together. What's its secret? The screenplay itself doesn't hold too much water. For instance, how the hell Mr. Loren could foresee that that always-screaming pixie would go after him just when he's in the basement, so the murder would happen there, so he could scheme in advance all that skeleton stuff upon the sexy blonde, and the doors which close for itselves, and so, and so? He must have foreseen all the sequence of events, because the mechanics in the basement must have taken lots of time to be arranged. What kind of gadget, by the way, dims the lights in the basement and close its doors? An Acme-Do-It-Yourself ? And where the hell the blonde and busty Mrs. Loren has bought that Oscar-winning floating-with-rope-that-curls-for-itself special effect with which to scare the girl to death? " Good morning, Acme, here we are, the Lorens, what do you have for us today?" Including, of course, the thundering tempest itself, which blows just-just in time for the blonde-floating effect to start in the very moment the screaming girl would be looking outside? A hell of a weather forecast, for Ed Wood's sake!!

    Oh, wonderful entertaining cheap, spiced with thunders, and lightnings, and a perfect soundtrack, and plenty of mood, and a wonderful B&W photography, and actors who chew the scenes one after another, and all - ALL! - those adorable clichés! How could William Castle make it so good? I just happen to love this movie!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Only the kiddies could possibly find anything really scary or original about this obvious and contrived fright film on a cheapie William Castle budget, THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. Despite the fact that it features VINCENT PRICE as an eccentric millionaire who challenges a flock of guests to spend the night in his haunted mansion (and survive), it's got all the flavor of amateur night with performances ranging from bad to really bad.

    Of course, the title alone is enough to encourage some viewers to think they'll get some real scares--but it's a title that never lives up to the promise of something really haunting. Instead, we have chandeliers crashing, heads turning up in boxes, and some foaming vat of acid bubbling in the cellar while the guests lurk around in such stupid fashion that they seem to deserve their grisly fates.

    Unworthy of Vincent Price, an actor who did do a number of good horror films. This is not one of them. Strictly third-rate stuff, even for Halloween.
  • I just saw this movie all the way through for the first time in years, and I loved it even more than when I was ten years old, and the climactic scene (which I will not give away here, not even under torture) scared the bejeezus out of me in the best possible way. As I remember it, I fidgeted in my chair, giggled uncontrollably, and never for a minute took my eyes off the TV.

    The plot for "House on Haunted Hill" is kind of ingenious, but it's also kind of absurd. There are a few holes in it, and by that I mean HOLES... but the atmospherics are great, and the witty, nuanced dialogue is head and shoulders above what horror fans are accustomed to.

    At the center, of course, is your host, Vincent Price, at his sly, elegant best. Price said of William Castle: "He wasn't a great filmmaker, but he knew how to make this kind of film." His respect for the material shows, and he nails the part of the mysterious, morally ambiguous Fredrick Loren with every word that comes out of his mouth. His final soliloquay at the denouement is delivered with all the care that actors usually reserve for Shakespeare. Obviously, he's having a great time.

    Of course, some gorehounds and younger viewers aren't going to "get" this. There are not many special effects, no monsters, and the severed heads look phoney. "The House on Haunted Hill" is tame by today's standards, but it holds up well for its atmosphere and wit. Sophisticated and silly at once.

    Other highlights include Carole Ohmart as Fredrick's wife Annibelle, Elisha Cook as Watson Pritchard, the half-mad, half-visionary owner of the house, and some terrific theme music.
  • This film is truly awful. A revamp of the old Cat & the Canary formula. A theme done to death. Yet I love it for the shallow and stiff characters, lazy script and muddled story line. None of it works. The writer feels the need to 'explain' everything - but a psychological intepretation would have been better? But who could forget that final scene of the skeleton trundling out from the vat of acid - a giant string puppet!!! Oh what rubbish but I've seen this film time and time again and it IS a little scary in parts. I have to say I enjoy it more than the recent Gosford Park. Ahhh they don't make them like this anymore. Unintentionally funny throughout!!!
  • Multimillionaire Price offers a group of people a surprisingly light handful of cash to stay the night in his supposedly haunted house. And so begins the bat-on-a-string effects, as someone begins trying to scare them to death for their share of the money.

    This is one of Price's best roles, suave and silkily dangerous ("Do you remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?") The house itself, while it isn't exactly *haunted*, does have a wonderful film noir look about it, elegantly and stylishly dreadful looking, complete with candelabra chandelier, an acid bath in the basement, and an old bat being pulled around on a cart while making faces at the camera.

    Is it scary? Not in the least. It's about as scary as a sock puppet, but it's a lot of fun to watch, especially in a cinema, as I had the opportunity to do this past Halloween.
  • It is amazing how well HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL stands up after over 40 years. A popular staple on public domain video labels, HOUSE has just recently received popularity because of a slapshod Hollywood remake that killed all atmosphere and originality from the original. Steer clear of this one AT ALL COSTS! This is the real deal.

    Vincent Price is Frederick Loren, a reclusive millionaire who offers 5 people $10,000 each if they can survive one night in a creepy old house with a history of murders in many of the rooms. Blood drips from ceilings, a ghostly old woman glides through walls, decapitated heads appear in the oddest places, and a vat of acid in the cellar plays a role in a secret plot to eliminate one of the guests. Superb stuff, with so much atmosphere you couldn't cut it with one of those samurai knives and great performances by the whole cast. Notable turns include Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren, Frederick's sexy wife; Elisha Cook, Jr. as Lawrence Pritchard, the expert on the house's history; and Carolyn Craig, the token screamer.

    I have loved this movie for years and always will, especially the intricate plot, the house itself being a prominent character, and the cliches that seem oddly new when presented here. HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL can still shake up a scare among the blood-and-guts crowd, myself included, so give it a try and you will be surprised how effective a film from the 50s can be.
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