High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, October 23, 2009

What Price Gory? A Salute to My Favorite Horror Ham -------- Part 1 Ain't Nothin' But a Hearse Party!

50 years after its release...

House on Haunted Hill
remains my
all time favorite
horror movie.

Directed by William Castle...
a master of tongue-in-cheek horror...

House on Haunted Hill starred my favorite spook flick actor, Vincent Price.

The movie provided
the ideal
showcase for
Price's priceless
campy acting style.

With crackling dialogue and snappy one-liners...

House on Haunted Hill prompted as many chuckles as screams.

Everybody sing along!

Oh, they're hangin' from the ceiling

they're screamin' on the floor!

Hairy paws are comin' through the door.
Gurl, you need to bust some moves
If you don't your life you'll lose
Ain't nothin' but a party, baby
Ain't nothin' but a hearse party!

Meet Watson Prichard...

a drunken sot
who rambles
on and on
severed heads
and ghosts.

Is it demon rum doing the talking?
Or would we be wise to take Prichard seriously?

Very seriously!

Frederick Loren: It's almost time to lock up the house and then your party will really begin.

I wonder how it will end...

Frederick Loren: Remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?
Annabelle Loren: (laughs) “Something you ate,” the doctor said.
Frederick Loren: Yes...arsenic on the rocks!

Frederick: Don't let the ghosts and the ghouls disturb you, darling.
Annabelle: Darling, the only ghoul in the house is you!

Watson Pritchard: These (guns) are no good against the dead. Only the living.

Pritchard: Six hours…six of us. Time enough.

Pritchard: Rooms? Guns? I tell ya, it doesn’t make any difference. They aren’t through with us yet.

At last you've got it all...

everything I had...

even my life.

But you're not going to live to enjoy it!

Come with me, murderess...

Come with me!

A promotional genius, director William Castle turned his low budget B movies into box office hits by using a variety of gimmicks. The publicity package for House on Haunted Hill, for example, asserted that the picture was filmed using a technique called Emergo. To transform the movie into an interactive experience, Castle distributed a promotional kit to each theater screening the movie. The kit included an inflatable glow-in-the-dark skeleton.

During the movie's terrifying climax a skeleton emerges from an acid-filled wine vat to exact revenge on villainess Annabelle Loren. Simultaneously, the skeleton in the theater was rigged to spring from the stage and sail on a wire above the audience. As word spread about the movie's bare bones special effects, rambunctious teenagers couldn't resist the urge to pelt the poor skeleton with candy boxes, cups and anything else they could get their hands on. It was not the audience reaction Castle had anticipated; nevertheless, it was an encouraging sign that a good time was had by all.

Good night, doctor. Good night, Annabelle. The crime you two planned was indeed perfect; only the victim is alive and the murderers are not. It’s a pity you didn’t know when you started your game of murder…..that I was playing, too.

Hold on, folks. Don't leave your seats just yet. This is a double feature!

In my next post, Vinny's back and he's trying to get something off his back. Hint: It ain't his mother-in-law. This flick's a real spine tingler, so stay tuned!

Have a Shady day!


  1. I remember it well, or sort of well. Was it the Strand or Capital? I'm sure it wasn't the Ritz or the Realto. Jerre

  2. I can't remember where I first saw House on Haunted Hill. This I can tell you - I don't remember seeing it at the Trail! (LOL) I must have watched this movie a hundred times by now. It's worth noting that HOHH has a modest running time of 75 minutes. As I'm sure you know that was typical of horror and sci-fi movies back then. Directors like William Castle and Roger Corman knew how to pack plenty of action and fun into short, low budget features. That kind of efficiency in film making is something I have always admired. Thanks for your comment, Jerre!

  3. Yes, the Trail and the Lincoln, bring back memories of Dusk to Dawn shows and swapping cars for just about every movie. Jerre

  4. There was no need for speed limit signs on the stretch of I-83 near the Trail. Every car slowed down to a crawl when Russ Meyer flicks were on the screen! LOL (Of course, I have no first hand knowledge of this. I'm just going by what I heard.) LOL


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