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House on Haunted Hill (1958) - B&W - 75 min

LikeTelevision's movie channel is proud to present House on Haunted Hill. Brainchild of legendary horror film director William Castle, this 1958 masterpiece stars Vincent Price as Frederick Loren, suave millionaire who hosts an elegant haunted house party for his lovely wife, Annabelle, played by Carol Ohmart. Party guests include Richard Long of 77 Sunset Strip and The Big Valley fame and the consumate character actor Elisha Cook, Jr. The five diverse guests are each offered $10,000 if they can stay in the haunted mansion overnight. Replete with ghosts, ghouls, disembodied heads, a vat of acid, an organ that plays itself, murder, mayhem, screaming women and theramin music, this big screen classic of the 50's is an absolute must see. So turn the lights, shut the shades and be prepared to be afraid - in the old school style.

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House on Haunted Hill
Directed by - William Castle

(1958) - B&W - 75 min
House on Haunted Hill is a Classic - in our opinion, much better than the remake in 1999. Please note: part one starts off with a quick credit, followed by 30 seconds of a Black screen while a lady screams. So chill out - we are controlling your monitor... your vertical and horizontal... it starts off as a black screen. Relax... and get in the mood.

Part one
Intro -B&W a quick Title screen, etc. It starts off with a a scream and a black screen for 30 seconds - relax! A caravan of Cadillac limousines delivers the five guests to the dark, gothic mansion. As in all horror stories of this ilk they assemble in the drawing room with introductions all around as they try to figure out why each, unknown to any of the others, have been chosen for this sinister challenge since none have ever met their host, Frederick Loren, who has yet to make his appearance. Handsome Lance (Richard Long) saves beautiful Nora (Carolyn Craig) from a falling chandelier and the film's all-important love interest is realized. Meanwhile, in an upper room, millionaire Frederick and his fourth wife, Annabelle, prepare for the evening's festivities in a scene fraught with mutual loathing and suspicion, an absolute benchmark of Mr. Price's masterful craft. Frederick soon greets his guests, explains the terms of their challenge and proceeds to give them a tour of the mansion. Lance and Nora wander off from the others for some further investigation of the cellar where Lance gets locked in a room and konked on the head while Nora sees a horrible apparition.

with Vincent Price as Frederick Loren

Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren gets a hand from an anorexic friend

Part two
One small mystery is solved and many new ones are postulated as Mrs. Loren shows the guests to their respective bedrooms and warns them of the mortal danger they may be in by staying. Frederick summons all to the drawing room as midnight approaches and informs them that at midnight the doors will be locked and no one will be able to leave. Somehow, however, the doors get prematurely locked and they realize they are all trapped in the house until morning. Some begin to drink heavily as Frederick brings out the party favors; seven miniature coffins each containing a loaded pistol which he distributes to the party-goers for their protection. And somewhere in the middle of all this Nora finds a severed head in her suitcase which, in true Lou Costello fashion, has disappeared when she returns with Lance and the rest in tow. Hmmm ... hysterical, drunk people with loaded weapons. Let's party!

The guests gather in the parlor, or would that be a drawing room?

Part three
Mrs. Loren is found mysteriously hanged from the staircase bannister which really puts a damper on the festivities. Everyone begins to suspect Frederick as the murderer although he denies it vehemently. Hysterical Nora claims that he tried to kill her, too. Veteran character actor Elisha Cook Jr., as Mr. Pritchard, is sure that the ghosts did it and delivers one of the greatest doomsayer performances ever recorded in glorious monochrome. A meeting is called wherein it is decided that everyone should lock themselves in their rooms until morning. That way only the real murderer would need to go wandering about which, of course, doesn't solve anything but only leads to more tip-toeing, skulking, spying, sneaking around dark hallways and hidden passages than at your typical political convention.

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House on Haunted Hill
Directed by - William Castle

Starring - Vincent Price as Frederick Loren, Carol Ohmart as Annabelle Loren, Elisha Cook Jr. as Watson Pritchard, Richard Long as Lance Schroeder, Carolyn Craig as Nora Manning, Alan Marshall as Dr. David Trent, Julie Mitchum as Ruth Bridgers, Howard Hoffman as Jonas Slydes, Leona Anderson as Mrs. Slydes

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with Elisha Cook Jr. as Watson Pritchard

Part four
Nora has gone completely around the bend by now. Her runaway hysteria leads her to see more apparitions, hideous monsters, an organ playing itself, visions of the dead Mrs. Loren, et al. The plot twists and turns out of control precluding us from saying any more regarding the outcome of this fabulous piece of timeless cinematic wizardry. Except this: even if you can't imagine that you are 12 years old again sitting in a darkened theater and even if you are too darned sophisticated to be frightened by this type of wonderful cheapness, you can definately agree with us that: HYSTERIA IS HYSTERICAL!

Carolyn Craig as Nora Manning emotes with a blood curdling scream

Vincent takes a sip

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Richard Long grabs a hug and takes a break from The Big Valley. You might also remember him from Nanny and the Professor, Maverick, or 77 Sunset Strip.

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