Public Domain Movie: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

House on Haunted Hill: Review

“The Ghosts are moving tonight.” At least they are according to Watson Pritchard at the very beginning of the film, just before he promises that in a few moments he will show us the only really haunted house in the world.

Like a lot of black and white films House on Haunted Hill is quite atmospheric. It has spooky background music and a very convincing cast. If that’s not enough there are plenty of cobwebs, ceilings that drip blood, organs that play all by themselves (look Ma, no hands!) and chandeliers that swing and fall. House on haunted Hill might be an oldie, but it is still a goodie, and has one of the best horror actors of its day in the cast—Vincent Price.

Price plays Frederick Loren and Mr Loren’s wife is having a party. It’s not a big party. Just he and his wife and five guests. It’s Mrs Loren’s party, but it is her husband that has compiled the guest list and no one on it is a friend to either of the hosts, but Mr Loren says he had his reasons. The guests too had their reasons for coming and it isn’t a desire to get down and boogie underneath the ceilings that drip blood. All of the guests, in fact, share the same reason for attending the Loren’s little haunted house party and that reason is the $10 000 that Mr Loren has promised to pay everyone that stays the full night (12 hours).

So, that’s the hosts, now for the venue. The Loren’s are hosting their party at a house where four men and three women have been murdered. They are now said to haunt the house. It is probably not a matter of coincidence that Mr Lauren’s guest list comprises of four men and three women.

If anyone wants to leave the house, they have until midnight. After that it will be too late. The doors will be locked and they won’t be opened until the morning. So there will be no party-poopers and the only gatecrashers will be the ghosts, and if, like Watson Prichard says, they are moving, something tells me they won’t be doing it on the dance floor.

Additional Information

Director: William Castle

Cast

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
Leona Anderson … Mrs. Slydes
Howard Hoffman … Jonas Slydes

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