House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Produced & Directed by: William Castle

Written & Associate Produced by: Robb White


Vincent Price .... Frederick Loren
Carolyn Craig .... Nora Manning
Richard Long .... Lance Schroeder
Elisha Cook Jr. .... Watson Pritchard
Carol Ohmart .... Annabelle Loren
Alan Marshal .... Dr. David Trent
Julie Mitchum .... Ruth Bridgers

Release Date: Theatrical: 1959 (Austria); February 17, 1959 (USA)

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A wicked man named Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) invited five strangers to a big lifetime party at his mansion and offering them $1,000 dollars each if they stay the night at the house.
Everyone is excited but they all realise it's a house that has a reputation for murders and madness and Frederick offers them a gun each for protection plus some of the people experience some hauntings as well and it is driving them all mad wondering what to do as their life party is turning into a disaster.


William Castle makes this piece nicely with the camera settings inside the house as well wioth the actors assoicating with one another doen in a stage or radio type of direction.
We spot a good intro involving both Watson Pritchard and later on Frederick Loren telling the tale of what's going to happen as it gives the film a Twilight Zone type of feel to it.
We spot a real effective conversation sequence between Frederick and Annabelle Loren pouring champagne for each other discussing some poisoning to the people coming to the mansion.
We see a great shot on supporting actress Mrs. Slydes with her wide eyed ghostly looks in the cellar towards Nora Manning yet it looks phony when this figure floats away and it looks like it was already planned too.
Nora and Annabelle work off perfect towards one another when they introduce themselves and Annabelle herself has a soft but wickedly type of attitude when she warns her about certain places in the house.
Watson Pritchard looked good sitting in a chair pointing a kitchen knife towards Lance Schroeder acting scared and disturbed by what is going on.
One of the scariest scene's was when the camera shoots down on Nora pacing in her room and the lights go out with thunder and lightning occurring and then we see a rope crawling through some window bars wrapping around her legs and a ghostly Annabelle appears from behind the barred window.
Also there's a perfect shot on Annabelle hung in the hallway and Nora falls back by a half closed door screaming and then a monstrous hand from behind her tries to grab her.
Bottom line is that it's a nicely set old fashioned B&W horror film as it almost really works but alot of the times it's confusing to understand and a disappointment when the unsolved mysteries are revealed. Still it's a classic and inspired a remake but it's hard to understand if this is a haunted house movie or not.

The acting is fairly good as we have a great performance by Vincent Price (Frederick Logan) as an evil, stern and abusive caretaker of the mansion. He always performed well with these types of parts. He really showed a good stern attitude towards his fellow actress by grabbing her shoulders warning her to never poison him.
Carolyn Craig
(Nora Manning) really stands out well with her freaked out atttitude and really knows how to scream during the terrifying events but she sometimes overly does it. In a scene she screams and reacts well at being terrified about an incident. She showed a great grossed out reaction to her after opening her suitcase spotting a decapitated head and running away.
Elisha Cook Jr.
(Watson Pritchard) was another noted character as he had a perfect tense attitude to his role.
Carol Ohmart
(Annabelle Loren) knew how to speak smoothly and behave mysterious to her part and can seem evil like in some ways.
She reacts greatly towards when someone grabs the back of her hair and forcing her to come to the party event that is happening in the house as it was a nice and tense abusive reaction. A moment she really lacks was when she is in the wine cellar room and a skeleton rises from a pool of acid creeping up on her as she doesn't react as frightened as she was supposed to be.

Von Dexter was wonderful with the chilling organ music and the trumpet playing for the film making it spooky and adventurous too.