House On Haunted Hill (1959)

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  USA, 1959.  .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by William Castle.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .

One of the most beloved of William Castle’s ghoulish horror films, set in a mansion that has earned the reputation of being haunted thanks to the many murders have occurred within it.  It’s also the setting of gruesome delights as and his wife () invite a group of people to spend the night in the house, promising them ten thousand dollars if they last twelve hours behind its locked doors.  The guests all need the money badly enough, so they gather themselves up and take their chances, but it’s not long before the sight of blind maids and skeletons start the ladies screaming and the men running for their lives.  Somewhere in the story, there is also a surprise betrayal and some tables are turend, but these delights are for you to discover in this short but sweet effort whose more violent images are actually quite extreme for the time.  Today it doesn’t play as scary as it once did (the skeleton is particularly innocent now), but it has an honest quality to it that is the opposite of Robert Wise’s more self-congratulatory The Haunting, and the production design is beautiful.  Remade (poorly) in 1999.

 

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