Thursday, October 01, 2009

31 days of Halloween: House on Haunted Hill (1959)

House on Haunted Hill

I am Frederick Loren, and I have rented the house on haunted hill tonight so that my wife can give a party. She's so amusing. There'll be food and drink and ghosts, and perhaps even a few murders. You're all invited. If any of you will spend the next twelve hours in this house, I will give you each ten thousand dollars, or your next of kin in case you don't survive. Ah, but here come our other guests.
The first film in this month-long attempt is the 1959 horror film, House on Haunted Hill. This B movie was directed by William Castle and written by Robb White. Vincent Price stars as millionaire Fredrick Loren.

The film's premise is that Loren and his wife, Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), are holding a party at a "Haunted House." Those who remain in the house all night will each earn $10,000. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors. Joining them are Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), a secretary; Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), a pilot; Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.), the scared owner of the house; Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), a psychiatrist; Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum), a columnist with a gambling problem.

Unfortunately the movie was a bit convoluted and silly by the end. There were a few moments of terror towards the start and middle of the film, but it was pretty tame even compared to films from that time period. The film often "confused" with this one is the 1963 film, The Haunting - now that was a terrifying haunted house film!

*** out of *****

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