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This article is about the original 1959 film. For the 1999 remake see House on Haunted Hill (1999 film).

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House on Haunted Hill (1959) is a horror film directed by William Castle, written by Robb White, and starring Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren. He and his fourth wife, Annabelle, have invited five people to the house for a "Haunted House" party. Whoever stays in the house for one night will earn ten thousand dollars. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors.

Plot SynopsisEdit

House on Haunted Hill is the tale of five people invited to stay the night in a haunted house, with the stipulation that all doors will be locked at midnight, allowing no accessible escape. Anyone who stays in the house for the entire night will receive $10,000. It seems like a piece of cake, at least, until the ghosts arrive.

StyleEdit

The theatrical trailer promoted the film as The House on Haunted Hill, although all advertising material, and the title on the film itself were simply titled House on Haunted Hill. The film is best known for a famous promotional gimmick used in the film's original theatrical release called "Emergo": William Castle placed an elaborate pulley system in some theaters showing the film; allowing a plastic skeleton to be flown over the audience at the appropriate time. [1] [2] In the late 1980s, the Film Forum in New York City had a revival of the film (along with several other Castle pictures) that included the original gimmicks.

Thanks to Castle's gimmickry, the film was a huge success. Alfred Hitchcock took notice of the low-budget film's performance at the box office, and set out to make his own low-budget horror film, which became the critically acclaimed hit Psycho (1960). Ironically, Castle himself was a Hitchcock fan, and tried to imitate Hitchcock's work in later films such as Homicidal (1961).

ReleaseEdit

House on Haunted Hill was originally released by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. The film has since fallen into the public domain, and is available in a number of issues. Two major studios have released the film in remastered versions. Warner Home Video released the film on DVD as a tie-in to promote the release of the 1999 remake. In 2005, the film was colorized by Legend Films. The color version was released on DVD the same year by 20th Century Fox. Extras prepared by Legend Films for the Fox DVD release included an audio commentary track by comedian Michael J. Nelson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, two versions of the trailer, and a slideshow of images from the film's original press book. A DivX file of the colorized version with the commentary embedded is available as part of Nelson's RiffTrax On Demand service.[1]

CastEdit

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