House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Overnight in a haunted house

I watched the 1959 William Castle production “House on Haunted Hill”. Frederick Loren, a millionaire, invites 5 people to a party in a haunted house he has rented. All that stays the entire night will get ten thousand dollars each. He says that his wife Annabelle, who stays up in her room, wanted the party. William Castle both produced and directed while Robb White (an American writer of screenplays, television scripts, and adventure novels) wrote and co-produced this horror film.

  • Vincent Price as Frederick Loren – (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) Tower of London, The Invisible Man Returns, The House of the Seven Gables, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Three Musketeers, House of Wax, The Ten Commandments, The Fly, House on Haunted Hill, Return of the Fly, The Tingler, Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, Tower of London, Beach Party, The Raven, The Haunted Palace, The Comedy of Terrors, The Last Man on Earth, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia, War-Gods of the Deep, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, The Trouble with Girls, The Oblong Box, Scream and Scream Again, Welcome to My Nightmare, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Edward Scissorhands,TV episodes of Egghead on Batman, F-Troop, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Get Smart, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, The Brady Bunch, Columbo, The Bionic Woman, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
  • Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren – (June 3, 1927 – January 1, 2002) The Scarlet Hour, The Wild Party, Born Reckless, The Scavengers, Spider Baby, The House on Haunted Hill
  • Richard Long as Lance Schroeder – (December 17, 1927 – December 21, 1974) The Dark Mirror, The Egg and I, The Life of Riley, Ma and Pa Kettle movies, Cult of the Cobra, The House on Haunted Hill, TV episodes of 77 Sunset Strip, Bourbon Street Beat, The Big Valley, Nanny and the Professor
  • Alan Marshal as Dr. David Trent – (29 January 1909 – 9 July 1961) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tom, Dick and Harry, The White Cliffs of Dover, The House on Haunted Hill
  • Carolyn Craig as Nora Manning – (October 27, 1934 – December 12, 1970) Giant, Gunsight Ridge, Apache Territory, House on Haunted Hill
  • Elisha Cook Jr. as Watson Pritchard (credited as Elisha Cook) – (December 26, 1903 – May 18, 1995) The Spy in the Green Hat, Rosemary’s Baby, The Great Bank Robbery, Blacula, Salem’s Lot, 1941, House on Haunted Hill
  • Julie Mitchum as Ruth Bridgers – (July 23, 1914 – February 21, 2003) Edge of Hell, The Ten Commandments, Hit and Run, House on Haunted Hill
  • Leona Anderson as Mrs. Slydes – (April 3, 1885 – December 25, 1973) American silent film actress who is possibly best remembered for her 1957 shrill music album Music to Suffer By, House on Haunted Hill
  • Howard Hoffman as Jonas Slydes – (November 4, 1893 – June 27, 1969) House on Haunted Hill, TV episodes of I Love Lucy, The Man Called X, Death Valley Days, Perry Mason, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Wild Wild West, Run for Your Life
  • Skeleton as Himself

The movie had one of Castle’s most memorable gimmicks. Some theaters rigged a pulley system and a plastic human skeleton, known as “Emergo”,

was released in conjunction with the corresponding scene during the movie. Alfred Hitchcock took note of this film’s low-budget performance at the box office and tried it himself, releasing “Psycho”.

Exterior shots of the house were filmed at the historic Ennis House in Los Feliz California, designed in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Most of the film was shot on sound stages.

The posters for the movie depict the haunted house as a four-story fanciful Romanesque structure. In the ending title credits, they list “Skeleton – By Himself”. The movie was very well received and even gets 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I enjoyed the movie. I thought the story was good and Vincent Price was his classic self. I’ll give this flick 4 out of 5 stars.

Rotten Tomatoes

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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