House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Written By: DMG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: William Castle
Producer: William Castle, Robb White
Screenwriter: Robb White
Date Released: February 17, 1959
Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren
Vincent Prince as Frederick Loren
Alan Marshal as Dr. David Trent
Richard Long as Lance Schroeder
Julie Mitchum as Ruth Bridgers
Carolyn Craig as Nora Manning
Elisha Cook as Watson Pritchard
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
House on Haunted Hill is about five individuals who receive an invitation for a party at Frederick Loren’s home (Vincent Price) that he rented to celebrate his wife, Annabelle Loren (Carol Ohmart). Loren alleges that the house is haunted and offers an award of $10,000 to each of the five individuals who can stay the entire night and survive. Once the doors lock and the people are trapped in the house, strange and mysterious things start to happen. For protection each person is given a gun to use. Suddenly, people start disappearing or getting hurt and each person suspect each other as to who is behind these horrific acts. The story continues as the mysteries begin to unfold in this haunted tale.
For a back and white film, there were certainly some shrieks in this flick. The scene with Annabelle hanging from a rope is one of the most iconic scenes in this film. The scene was shocking and disturbing to the audience members. The dead corpse hanging from a ceiling was not something cinema was accustomed to. In addition, the film incorporated shadow work and creepy environments that added to the overall eerie dimensions of the film. Keep in mind, 1959 props were much more limited than they are today, so unfortunately you will see some corny skeletons. House on Haunted Hill was a film that tested the limits of fear.
The Grave Review
House on Haunted Hill (1959) is an iconic horror film that was an original and catchy horror film. The film was later remade in a more modern 1999 film with the same time. However, the film during the 1999 version had a darker, more paranormal vibe then its 1959 predecessor. Both films have their pros and cons but for now we will focus on the 1959 version.
To no surprise, Vincent Price has a natural demeanor fitting perfectly with horror films. He gives off an eerie vibe, that is so subtle, it entices you to keep watching. The acting is campy but very fitting. The acting and dialogue overall is clever and creative. It is a reminder of how proper and correct people acted and spoke with one another even under trying times.
The black and white cinematography adds to the films overall theme. As the individuals are stuck in the house, spider webs, creepy shadows and ghosts are depicted in various scenes throughout the film. It should also be noted that the film features the outside of the Ennis House, built by Frank Lloyd Wright located in Los Angeles, California and built in 1924. As mentioned, many of the props are something you would see in your second-grade science class, but nevertheless the film incorporates some classic horror elements which was refreshing to see. Overall, House on Haunted Hill is a fun and entertaining film that is a must see for any horror fan.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives House on Haunted Hill (1959) four graves out of five graves.
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