“Only the ghosts in this house are glad we’re here.”
An eccentric millionaire (Vincent Price) and his embittered wife (Carol Ohmart) invite five strangers — a secretary (Carolyn Craig), a pilot (Richard Long), a journalist (Julie Mitchum), a psychiatrist (Alan Marshal), and the owner of a haunted house (Elisha Cook, Jr.) — to spend the night in Cook’s house, promising them each $10,000 if they can last the night.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Elisha Cook, Jr. Films
- Horror Films
- Old Dark House
- Vincent Price Films
- William Castle Films
One of gimmick-meister William Castle’s best-known and loved films was this Old Dark House flick (remade in 1999 and apparently in development as another remake), featuring Emergo — a skeleton “emerged” from the theater and descended upon audiences —
and plenty of twists and turns to keep audiences screaming in fright. The storyline, centered around Price’s contentiously bitter arguments with fourth-wife Ohmart:
… keeps us guessing about who’s up to what, and it’s relatively easy to forgive some egregious lapses in logic (isn’t that what horror films are known for?). Price:
… and Cook, Jr.:
… are especially well cast, and the other actors acquit themselves nicely.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Atmospheric cinematography
- A number of effectively spooky moments
Yes, for its historical importance as a film that inspired Hitchcock and was beloved by audiences of the day. Listed as a Cult Movie and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.