House on Haunted Hill (1959) is an American classic horror movie that is 75 minutes long and was filmed mostly in the Ennis-Brown House - 2655 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California, USA. Director William Castle (The Tingler (1959), 13 Ghosts (1960), Strait-Jacket (1964)) did an astonishing job executing this entertaining horror movie. There were a few plot holes, goofs/mishaps, and faulty scenes but I love the movie for its originality and for it being creepy, scary, intense, and gave me a sense of chills throughout the movie. I kept guessing who the real killer is and who was going to survive this ordeal, but I was wrong and love it because the suspense was real. I gave this movie an eight because of the few plots and other reasons I mention above.
House on Haunted Hill revolves around millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price - House of Usher (1960), House of Wax (1953), The Fly (1958), The Hollywood Squares (1965)) and his fourth wife, Annabelle. Frederick invited five people to the party that he is keeping for his wife. He said that he rented the house for their haunted house party and whoever stays in the house for the entire night after the doors are locked at midnight will receive $10,000. One of the people that the couple invited was the homeowner Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr. - Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Killing (1956), The Big Sleep (1946)) who has no clue how the couple gained entry to his home. Richard does not like what the couple did to his home and disapproves of everything. Frederick gave each of his guests a .45 caliber pistol for their protection and told them the rules that they agree too.
Frederick forced his wife Annabelle Loren (Carol Ohmart - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1967), Wild Youth (1961), The Scarlet Hour (1956)) to attend the party. She warned the guests that her husband is psychotic which made the guests suspicious of him. Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig - Giant (1956), Portland Exposé (1957), Apache Territory (1958)) works for one of Frederick’s companies and believes that he is trying to kill her. Nora saw apparitions of Annabelle and other ghosts not knowing that Annabelle hanged herself sometime during the night. Richard believes that his house is haunted by several ghosts including his brother. The movie takes a twist, and we see Annabelle is not dead but has a motive of her own that wants Frederick dead. I enjoyed the movie and was not blinking much from this point on in the movie to the end. What happened between Nora, psychiatrist Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), After the Thin Man (1936), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)) who specializes in hysteria and Frederick is a must see. I love the acid scenes and how one man uses his wits to play his tricks on others to get the truth out of his love one although he is evil in every possible way. I was truly shocked at one of the main character’s response to Annabelle and Dr. Trent and what he states about his action.
The movie was intriguing and captured my undivided attention. I must say that I am having a new profound love for old horror movies meaning horror movies before the late 1990s. The actors, special effects department, music department, sound department, lighting effect department, and cinematographer all did an amazing job. All horror fans should watch this movie at least once because it is original and a masterpiece in my books.
About House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Starring: Elisha Cook Jr., Vincent Price, Howard Hoffman, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal, Carolyn Craig, Julie Mitchum, Leona Anderson, Skeleton
Director: William Castle
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