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House on Haunted Hill

" First Film With the Amazing New Wonder EMERGO : The Thrills Fly Right Into The Audience ! "

For once we follow a logic path and start talking about this house from the ground up, it's better to say from the land on which it was built.
William Schloss, is a jew boy from New York who is orphaned at age eleven. Two years later he already knows what to do in life, seeing Bela Lugosi on Broadway in his most famous role. William has almost an obsession for the Hungarian actor who manages to meet and among other things
convinces to suggest him to the theater company. At fifteen, William Schloss left school and worked in various roles, more technical than anything else, in the theaters of Broadway. Then years later, he convinced Orson Welles to rent him a theater for a show that doesn'treally exist, which, however,  is know that the protagonist is the German actress Ellen Schwanneke, who emigrated from Germany after the Anschluss, and was invited home to a theatrical performance. William seizes the opportunity and sends a telegram to the newspapers, where he says that Ellen Schwanneke declined the offer, becoming "the woman who said no to Hitler." This it's complemented by a fake raid in which he painted several swastikas on the walls of the theater, a good marketing campaign that makes the show who doesn't exist (written then in forty-eight hours) a great hit and that also leads the German actress to the fame.

William who meanwhile has translated his name into English, and became Castle, is working for Hollywood as both director of " B Movies" , which he realizes fast and on budget and as an associate producer on several productions, including "The Lady From Shanghai " by Welles.

Dissatisfied, William Castle leaves the majors and starts to produce his films alone. And here we stop and analyze that what is written in this short biography that describes a person who is ambitious, dynamic, full of ideas,  reliable and a little crazy.
All things that from 1958 onwards converge in a series of horror/thriller "low budget " some magnificent and other "only" beautiful but all famous for a series of incredible gimmnicks.

The first of this series, isn't  the film of which we are speaking, but it's  "Macabre" of 1958, a movie that we didn't find yet. Fascinated by this director, we couldn't wait any longer and decided that the films of William Castle must be part of our site, and then we start with the number two, "House On Haunted Hill" of 1959.

And here we are in the house of Castle which is the owner, but of which Vincent Price is a tenant that honors the place  making it look good and, even today, scary. The great Vincent Price, one of our heroes of horror cinema, elegant and very bad as always, is the highlight of this film, one of the two where he works with Castle and become, not surprisingly , real cults.

In the major cinema, a skeleton inflatable attached to the wire catches, by surprise, scares and fun (the younger try to hit him... ) the audiences in the final moments of the film, where the action grows more grim, where there is the epilogue of the story of the eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren who with his fourth wife (a saint more than eccentric!) invites five people to a party at his house on a haunted hill. A challenge, rather than a party, in which Fredrick promises $ 10,000 to those who  pass the night in the house, which is actually a haunted place and apparently in the past was the place of a terrible murder. Guests armed with guns, find themselves involved in a series of plans , plots, conspiracies in the midst of alleged ghosts, corpses and skeletons that emerge from a vat of acid. There is all that can terrorize a human being and even a dead man.

The "Gimminc " the plastic skeleton, called "Emergo" who flies over the audience , pushes greatly to the success this film appreciated by Hitchcock, one of the directors that inspired William Castle and according to various sources would be convinced to shot his "low budget" movie " Psycho," after seeing this film.

This is a film that work that hits the mark thanks to some simple and effective things. Apart from the performance of Vincent Price on which it is pointless to talk about, Castle builds a house of horrors with a series of special effects very, very simple but well used to convey the feeling of fear. To this he adds a kind of black humor, a good photography and a plot that would be optimal for a thriller, things that complement a fascinating film (downloadable from the Internet Archive ) . "House On Haunted Hills " who had a remake in 1999, a colored version of 2005 and you can buy the original script, uses, among other things, the external facade and the Ennis Brown House in Los Angeles built by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924. Do you want to spend a night there?

Fact Sheet

Original Title : House On Haunted Hill

Alternative Titles : Mansión siniestra (Argentina) , Das Haus auf dem Geisterhügel (Austria) , A Casa Mal assombrada , A Casa dos Maus Espíritos (Brazil) , Spøgelseshuset (Denmark) , La Mansion de los horrores (Spain) , Natt the Spökhuset , Yö kummitustalossa (Finland) , La nuit de tous les mystères , Le manoir hanté (France) , O pyrgos ton fantasmaton (Greece) , in Haz - Kísértet hegyen (Hungary) , the Haunted Mansion ( Italy ), La casa de la choline embrujada (Mexico) , Het spookhuis op de heuvel (Netherlands) , Dom na Przekletym Wzgórzu (Poland) , Kuća na ukletom BrdU (Serbia) , Skriet vid midnatt (Sweden) , Mansión Diabólica (Venezuela) , Das Haus auf dem Geisterhügel , Die 7 Särge des Dr. Horror (Germany)

Year : 1959

Country: USA

Directed by: William Castle

Cast: Vincent Price , Carol Ohmart , Richard Long, Alan Marshal , Carolyn Craig , Elisha Cook Jt , Julie Mitchum , Skeleton

Length: 74 '

Production House : William Castle Productions