Genre defining does not even begin to describe the masterpiece that is House on Haunted Hill. William Castle teamed with frequent collaborator Robb White to create a horror mystery that has stood the test of time. This 1959 masterfully advertised movie inspired Hitchcock to develop Psycho…and we all know how well that went.
Join the Loren’s (Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart) at a haunted house lock-in which includes supernatural and human guests. Mrs. Loren wanted to throw a fun and scary party for her friends but Mr. Loren decides to take control of the guest list. He invites five strangers to stay overnight in the haunted house for a prize of $10,000.
The guests include: house relative Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr) who continues to regale the other visitors with tales of murder and possesion, Army test pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), psychiartist Dr. Trent (Alan Marshal), columnist Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum) , and young stenographer Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig). Right away attacks occur on Ms. Bridgers, Mr. Schroeder, and Miss. Manning. Tensions escalate as Nora Manning is pushed to hysteria and lives are at risk.
It’s a well crafted movie considering it was a low budget quick turn-around project. Vincent Price carries this movie to a fantastic conclusion. As you watch you’ll wonder how Carol Ohmart kept coming in second place on big roles. She’s devious and gorgeous here. There are two major drawbacks: the repetitive plot points (which are to be expected in this medium) and all the screaming. Lots of screaming.
Turn the lights down, grab a bowl of popcorn, and prepare for frights* when you find that film House on Haunted Hill.
*While unrated we do not recommend this movie for persons under 8 years of age…unless they’re horror hounds.