House on Haunted Hill

House on Haunted Hill

4.7 8
Director: William Castle, Rosemary Horvath

Cast: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart

     
 

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A perennial favorite of the "Shock Theatre" TV circuit, House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as sinister gent (you're surprised?) Frederick Loren, who resides in a sinister mansion on a sinister hill, where seven murders have occurred. He makes a proposal to several strangers, offtering $10,000 to anyone who can last the entire night. Loren festively gives

Overview

A perennial favorite of the "Shock Theatre" TV circuit, House on Haunted Hill stars Vincent Price as sinister gent (you're surprised?) Frederick Loren, who resides in a sinister mansion on a sinister hill, where seven murders have occurred. He makes a proposal to several strangers, offtering $10,000 to anyone who can last the entire night. Loren festively gives each of his guests a tiny coffin containing a loaded handgun, designed to protect them from the spooks that emerge in the house over the course of the night. The picture hinges on its surprise ending, which packs in several by-now-familiar twists. When originally released to theaters, House on Haunted Hill was accompanied by one of those gimmicks so beloved of producer/director William Castle: the gimmick was "Emergo," and it involved a prop skeleton that "emerged" from the side of the screen at a crucial moment to frighten the audience. Like most of Castle's best films, House didn't really need the gimmick, but its presence added to the fun -- especially when second- and third-time viewers responded to "Emergo" by bombarding the skeleton with popcorn and empty soda bottles.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
It's not your typical haunted house -- architecturally speaking, that is. Definitely not the steep-gabled Victorian stereotype, the eponymous edifice in House on Haunted Hill is a low-slung, flat-topped, Frank Lloyd Wright affair. But don't let that fool you: there're plenty of mysterious goings on within, and the film tells the story of a small group of brave -- or greedy -- souls who are promised $10,000 each if they'll spend the entire night there. The onscreen host of this rather campy haunted house party is played by Vincent Price, and he and the ensemble cast mix it up pretty well as the night goes on. But the real master of ceremonies here is the legendary B-movie schlock thrillmeister, producer/director William Castle. Castle provides plenty of the requisite cobwebs, secret passages, and low-budget things that go bump in the night -- not to mention the vat of flesh-eating acid in the basement. (There was also "Emergo," an in-theatre flying skeleton to shock moviegoers during the original release -- a signature Castle gimmick.) And the director makes sure that the female contingent screams their hearts out on cue. The plot is half ghost story and half drawing-room mystery, with more than a few twists and turns before the metaphysical issues are resolved. Of course, by the time the ghosts vs. gaslighting question is answered, the audience has had too much fun to care.
All Movie Guide - Fred Beldin
Cinema showman William Castle's best films are imbued with an infectious sense of mischief that overcomes deficiencies, and House on Haunted Hill is no exception. An excellent vehicle for star Vincent Price and one of Castle's most beloved concoctions, this lightweight ghost story is lots of fun even without the director's trademark theater gimmicks. Price is in prime form, alternating between pure ham and quiet subtlety, able to express a macabre notion simply by arching an eyebrow. Co-star Elisha Cook Jr. has only one task here, to look shell-shocked and mutter predictions of doom, and he performs it with twitchy, sweaty aplomb. The rest of the cast is serviceable, with only ingenue Carolyn Craig standing out via her shrill shrieks and stilted line readings. Castle directs House on Haunted Hill to be spooky rather than frightening, with floating skeletons and flickering candlelight, but a few ghastly images of acid baths and hanged women slide in for the E.C. Comics crowd. Campy and creepy in equal measures, House on Haunted Hill deserves its status as a horror classic.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/05/2006
UPC:
0827421000323
Original Release:
1958
Rating:
NR
Source:
Cheezy Flicks Ent
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:15:00

Special Features

With a special introduction by Vincent Price

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- House on Haunted Hill
1. Chapter: Guests Arrive [6:08]
2. Chapter: Its Your Party, My Dear [8:46]
3. Chapter: Tour of the Home [8:58]
4. Chapter: Getting Lost [7:14]
5. Chapter: Time to Lock the Doors [5:42]
6. Chapter: Its Not Midnight Yet! [6:57]
7. Chapter: Murder [15:25]
8. Chapter: The Ghost [4:34]
9. Chapter: The Plan Is Working [4:25]
10. Chapter: Revenge [6:31]

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House on Haunted Hill 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A scary movie to see and to get scare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this has a lot of chills down your spine and jump out at you scares. also, it has a very spooky opening. and of course, vincent price's haunting, brooding voice. so pick this one up, if you like scary haunted house films. this one didn't even need that emergo gimmick, its scary without it. oh yeah, and forget the remake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, movies have sure changed over the years. However, reminiscing was fun remembering the scary lady just floating along in the basement. A pretty good plot and for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, you'll get a kick out of it if you like old fashioned scary movies. Get the popcorn ready....
Neparlezpas More than 1 year ago
Love the film, but the 50th edition is Very dissapointing. Some of the special features look like they were quickly filmed with a camcorder. It's a very messy presentation. This classic film deserves better! It claims it's a "remastered" version of the film, but I didn't notice any difference in quality than other versions I've seen. You'd think for a 50th anniversary edition it would include choices of black and white, color, widescreen and full screen, but it only has black and white widescreen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago