The Original Haunted Palace (House On Haunted Hill, 1959)
Eccentric and rich, Frederick Loren and his wife Annabelle invite five strangers (chosen for their unique needs or greed) to spend a night in a haunted mansion for $10,000. They arrive and are told of the various murders that have occurred in the house.
As they seem to face ghosts, eventually there is a murder, causing tensions to run high as nobody knows who they can trust and find they must wait out the night. Is the house truly haunted, as caretaker Pritchard claims? Or is it an elaborate ruse always meant to end in murder?
The opening is a bit clunky due to it devoting it’s time to two talking heads providing exposition. One of those is Pritchard, who provides the same information to everyone at the party, making his sequence wholly unnecessary.
However, once the story begins, it is full of engaging twists and turns. House on Haunted Hill suggests there are no actual ghosts, though Pritchard insists that there are.
Of course, Price, with his campy and creepy style is tremendous fun and the stand out star of the film. The film has some great and creepy visuals and some solidly unnerving moments.