One of the must-watch horror films, house of haunted hill, was directed by William Castle. It is an American, foppish, natural horror movie. The film writer was Robb White, and the star cast includes Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart. Its release date was in September 1959.
Vincent Price played the role of an eccentric millionaire, Frederick Loren, who arranged a haunted party at his house and has invited only five people along with his wife, Annabella. The interesting fact about the movie is that whoever stays in that house for one stormy night will get a chance to earn $10,000.
As the night goes on, the guests get trapped within the house with a mixture of terrors. The film has utilized numerous props that have been used in carnival haunted houses to create fear and terror.
History About The Haunted Hill House
The haunted hill house was built in the 1880s as a Frame Home during the civil war. It belongs to the first founding families of Mineral Wells and is situated 125 feet away from the Baker Hotel. Till 1929, it was used as a Makeshift Hospital, and after that, it became a spot of illegal activities.
There is a cave in the house described as Eastern Mountain where indigenous people lived until they were robbed and killed by local people.
A Brief About The House on Haunted Hill (1999 film)
The film has been declared as the sequel of famous TV series. It has been inspired by a novel house on the hill, which was published in 2007.
It has also been converted into a TV series for the audiences. The TV series casts Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, and Mike Flanagan.
Director William Malone was inspired by the original film, which he had seen in his childhood years. He and the producer Dick Beebe worked together on the film’s screenplay for a year and a half. It helped them in directing the sequel of the movie.
Frederick Loren (Vincent Prince), an extraordinary millionaire, and his wife Annabelle invited five different people as guests to join their haunted house party. They promise everyone to give $10,000 to each participant if they successfully spend a night at their residence, which has a murderous past with doors locked.
It has been trusted that seven murders have taken place at their residence in the past. The five guests took the challenge and got locked in the haunted hill house with no phones and other necessities. Five guests who arrived for the party were:
- Jennifer Jenzen (film producer)
- Eddie Baker (baseball player)
- Melissa Marr (former television personality)
- Donald Blackburn ( a physician)
- Watson Pritchard
On that day, as the night progresses, frightening events started to happen with Lance Schroeder (pilot), Watson Prichard (owner of the house of haunted hell), Ruth Bridges (journalist), Nora Manning (worker at one of Loren’s companies), and David Trent (psychiatrist).
Production Notes of The Movie
Shots of the house’s exterior were taken at the ancient Ennie House in Los Feliz, California. Frank Lloyd Wright and built-in 1924 designed the house. A major portion of the movie was shot on sound stages personifying the house’s interior in different styles.
The poster for the film consisted of an illustration of the house in a third style depicting the Romanesque structure. Maybe, the film is known for a promotional trick used in the film’s original theatrical release called Emergo.
Exhibitors of the theatres which showed this film rigged a pulley system close to the theatre screen. As the skeleton rises from the acid corner, a fainted plastic skeleton on wire flies through it over the audience during a particular scene. The skeleton is believed to be playing himself in the film.
The Cast of The Movie
- Vincent Prince is Frederick Loren in the movie.
- Carol Ohmart is Annabella Loren.
- Richard Long as Lance Schroeder.
- Alan Marshal is Dr David Trent in the movie.
- Carolyn Craig as Nora Manning.
- Elisha Cook Jr. is Watson Pritchard in the movie.
- Julie Mitchum as Ruth Bridgers.
- Leona Anderson is Mrs Slydes.
- Howard Hoffman is Jonas Slydes in the movie.
Release of The House of Haunted Hill
Allied Artists originally released the house of haunted hills. In 2005, the movie was pioneered by Legend films, and the coloured version of the movie was released the same year on DVD.
In 2009, RiffTrax came up with the newly recorded commentary by Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett. Also, the RiffTrax team performed a live performance of house of the haunted hill on 28 October 2010.
On 28 September 2011, William Castle released a screenplay of the haunted hill house as a copy of the shooting script besides Castle’s margin notes and the style he used for his shooting script. This combination includes an introduction from Joe Dante and Terry (Castle’s daughter), a new version of Emergo in which the skeleton reaches the viewers through the flip page method.
5 Lesser Known Facts About House of Haunted Hill
- The movie’s shooting, house of haunted hill movie got completed in only 14 days, about six months before the release.
- William Castle had associated the story of meeting Vincent Price when Prince came to know that he had been passed over for a part. Prince got fascinated with the idea and agreed to a two-picture collaboration, one was The house of haunted hill, and the other was Tingler (1959). And then, over a coffee, Castle explained the premise of the picture.
- The famous theme music originally consisted of haunting lyrics by Richard Kayne, but only the orchestral version was incorporated in the movie.
- This movie somewhere inspired Hitchcock to make the movie, psycho because he described how low-budget Castle had worked with and noticed how the film hit the theatres. Consequently, Castle was a fan of Hitchcock’s work who got inspired and imitated the concept in his movies.
- The remake of the movie was released in 1999, which William Malone directed. The cast of this movie includes Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Peter Gallagher, and Chris Kattan.
Read about 5 Alfred Hitchcock movies of all time.
Criticism Faced By The Movie
The movie received lots of critical praise after the release. On the platform of Rotten Tomatoes, the film got a 88% rating based on reviews. AllMovie applauded the movie retrospectively. And the CGI at the end doesn’t correctly hold up.
The atmosphere was following modern standards but spooky and creepy. Viewers stated about required jump scares and different pieces of creepy business. For instance, bugs coming out of the mouth, corpses arising from slabs, spirits ranging from young to old crones, unnecessary gaping mouths, and melting faces.
There are two distinguishable and unsettling ghosts in the movie- a J-horror-chic woman called The Bent-Neck Lady and a flaunting ghost with a cane.
Why Watch House of Haunted Hill?
Though the movie couldn’t scare the modern audience as it has numerous silly moments, it still pertains to enormous charm and a supportive cast. The movie’s impact and techniques used through the movie led to a big-budget remake of the movie called House on the haunted hill (1999), then a follow-up on DVD return to house of haunted hill (2007).
Vincent Price has been considered the favourite villain of many viewers. The movie serves to create a fun method to remember the past with affection and tribute to the work of Castle, Price, and White. The set designs are attractive, the direction is perfect, the special effects are impressive, appropriate and spooky for most of the movie, and it has received positive reviews.
The cast of the movie House of haunted hill is solid, compelling, and performs convincingly. The movie is an example of adventure, and it is a fun experience to watch this movie in the dark with horror fans.
The nostalgic delight of scary masks and rubber skeletons appeal to modern audiences to give it a watch.
Where to Watch House of Haunted Hill?
The movie is in the public domain at present on various social media platforms, as listed below.
House of the haunted hill is a charm of 1950’s horror, overflowed with weird performances and a humorous, murder mystery dinner premise. It is considered a great reminder of innocence in 1950’s America. The strength of the movie lies in numerous plot twists and unexpected endings.
The movie has been wildly successful among the audiences, pushing Alfred Hitchcock to direct his own low-budget horror film called Psycho. It is a more suspenseful thriller than horror and laughable film in comparison to modern horror movies.
Filled with an unusual cast of different characters and an incredible murder-mystery plotline, house of haunted hill is worth watching as it takes back the viewer to the days of B-movie horror.
Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master’s in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in B.sc home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.