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WILLIAM CASTLE ! Good campy fun !


misswonderly3
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In honour of  the Hallowe'en season,  my husband and I decided to have a William Castle fest. We own a set of Castle films on dvd,  and we decided it was time to re-watch some of them.

I won't  "review" them all on this post,  I'll just talk about one of his campiest  ( and that's really saying something,  since this guy was the King of  "scary" camp):  

The House on Haunted Hill .            

This has to be one of the silliest, ( but in a good way ), campiest "horror" films of all time.  I mean, you know you're in for both of those things  (silly and campy) when you see that it stars Vincent Price.  Who doesn't love Vincent Price?  He and Castle were a good match, since they both revelled  shamelessly in good clean schlock.   Sometimes Mr. Price was in a "serious" movie, please don't think I'm "dissing" either of these guys.    I absolutely love both Vincent Price's and William Castle's work.

Anyway,  don't try to figure out the plot of The House on Haunted Hill  ,  since I'm not sure it would hold together if you tried to make sense of it.  Suffice to say, it involves a group of seven people,  four men and three women   ( including Price's character and his wife), who commit to spend the night in Price's haunted house.  If they survive the night,  they each receive the handsome stipend of $10,000.  dollars.   

There's a lot of crazy and obviously rigged scary effects, like the blind housekeeper who apparently rolls around on wheels,  a hanged woman dangling from the rafters,  a severed head turning up in one of the guests'  suitcases,....stuff like that.   I'm afraid I can't say it's very frightening,  but I don't believe it's intended to be.  I think it's all meant to be funny,  and it is...at least,  I've seen it about 3 times now,  and it always makes me laugh.  

The only name actor in the film besides Price is Elisha Cook Jr.,  who seems to be in a different movie altogether from the rest of them.  He,  or his character,  appear to think The House on Haunted Hill is a real ghost story,  and he keeps shaking his head and murmuring about how   "They're all going to get us,  the ghosts want us,  "  etc.  Everybody else seems to be in on the joke that they're acting in a kind of pastiche of a horror movie.    Elisha Cook of course knows this too,  but for some reason they wrote his character as someone who actually believes the mansion is haunted;   he doesn't seem to realize all the hokey scary effects are the work of some of the humans staying in the castle.

If you watch The House on Haunted Hill in the spirit  ( hey,  a pun ! ) in which it was made,  you'll enjoy it very much.  Just don't think about the vat of acid in the basement too much.  ( I mean,  why is there a vat of acid sitting around in the castle's basement?  They 'splain its presence there,  but not very well. )  Oh,  and watch for the "Emerge-O" effect of the skeleton rising from said vat of acid.  Apparently if you saw the film in a theatre,  the skeleton has a 3-D effect.  Scary stuff !

 

 

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

The only name actor in the film besides Price is Elisha Cook Jr., 

I would say Richard Long was as least as well known as Cook in 1959.       Long was in 4 of the Ma and Pa Kettle films and that was a popular serial.

But I assume Long is better known today for his T.V. work than his films.          Long did get one staring film role in Cult of the Cobra with Faith Domergue.   Saw this for the first time a few months ago.    It was only OK,  but Faith was way too low key.    

Anyhow,   yea,   William Castle is good campy fun.

 Vintage Original 1955 - CULT of the COBRA Movie Poster noir Sci-Fi # 1 |  eBay

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I've never heard of Richard Long,  but thanks for the info about him.  Is Cult of the Cobra as campy as House on Haunted Hill ?

Just to mention another William Castle classic,  I think one of his most famous and celebrated is 13 Ghosts.  The first time I saw this was as an adult,  so although I found it entertaining and , again,  kind of fun,  I never thought it was scary.  But my husband first saw it as a kid,  and he says he was terrified at the time.   Now we both enjoy it for what it is,  a funny,  campy,  appropriately "spooky"  ghost story in the style that only William Castle could do so well. 

I know there was a re-make of 13 Ghosts,  but I was never interested in seeing it.  Why mess with perfection?  

Anyone who's seen this Castle favourite:  which ghost do you think is the scariest?  I like the swirling circle thing,  it actually is a little frightening.  The man with his head in the lion's mouth,  though -- it's just funny !

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12 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I've never heard of Richard Long,  but thanks for the info about him.  Is Cult of the Cobra as campy as House on Haunted Hill ?

Just to mention another William Castle classic,  I think one of his most famous and celebrated is 13 Ghosts.  The first time I saw this was as an adult,  so although I found it entertaining and , again,  kind of fun,  I never thought it was scary.  But my husband first saw it as a kid,  and he says he was terrified at the time.   Now we both enjoy it for what it is,  a funny,  campy,  appropriately "spooky"  ghost story in the style that only William Castle could do so well. 

I know there was a re-make of 13 Ghosts,  but I was never interested in seeing it.  Why mess with perfection?  

Anyone who's seen this Castle favourite:  which ghost do you think is the scariest?  I like the swirling circle thing,  it actually is a little frightening.  The man with his head in the lion's mouth,  though -- it's just funny !

If One & All Doesnt Mind me Shoe-Horning in; Richard Long was (perhaps and Subjectively) Best Known for Starring in the Big Valley. (Kinda a Hybrid of sorts between Bonanza and, say.. Little House on Prarie.)

In a Nut Shell. There Was Mum and a Brood of Kiddoes. The Barkleys, by name. The (Respective) Episodes were kinda laid out a la Bonanza. If You're Familiar with that show (Bonanza). To my Knowledge, neither show crossed swords with the other. But might have been Interesting had they shook hands.

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5 minutes ago, noah80 said:

William Castle also made lots of money from Rosemary's Baby (1968).

Right,  I looked it up and he was the producer.

But I must admit,  I never think of Rosemary's Baby when I think of William Castle.  Castle's movies  - the ones he directed - were always sort of good-natured and didn't take themselves too seriously.  But the Polanski film is , as far as I can recall,  deadly serious and, like a lot of Polanski's work,  kind of unpleasant  ( that's not to say it isn't good, in its way.)   

I'd much rather watch something like Mr. Sardonicus .

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While her name might not register with a lot of film buffs today, I think that the sensationally sensual Carol Ohmart deserves recognition for her performance (as well as attire) in House on Haunted Hill as Vincent Price's wife with whom he has a less than completely loving relationship. Ohmart had a brief spate of sexy blonde roles in the '50s and '60s, with this probably her best remembered film role. She did a lot of TV work at the time, as well.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Carol Ohmart - House On Haunted Hill | Old hollywood, House on haunted hill,  Movie stars

Amazon.com: House On Haunted Hill Carol Ohmart 1959 Photo Print (16 x 20):  Posters & Prints

 I can't recall if this scene actually occurs on the film but, if it doesn't, it should have.

Carol Ohmart Characters Annabelle Loren Film House On Haunted Hill (1959)  Director William Castle 17 F

Okay, so she prefers guys that eat well

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

In honour of  the Hallowe'en season,  my husband and I decided to have a William Castle fest. We own a set of Castle films on dvd,  and we decided it was time to re-watch some of them.

I won't  "review" them all on this post,  I'll just talk about one of his campiest  ( and that's really saying something,  since this guy was the King of  "scary" camp):  

The House on Haunted Hill .            

This has to be one of the silliest, ( but in a good way ), campiest "horror" films of all time.  I mean, you know you're in for both of those things  (silly and campy) when you see that it stars Vincent Price.  Who doesn't love Vincent Price?  He and Castle were a good match, since they both revelled  shamelessly in good clean schlock.   Sometimes Mr. Price was in a "serious" movie, please don't think I'm "dissing" either of these guys.    I absolutely love both Vincent Price's and William Castle's work.

Anyway,  don't try to figure out the plot of The House on Haunted Hill  ,  since I'm not sure it would hold together if you tried to make sense of it.  Suffice to say, it involves a group of seven people,  four men and three women   ( including Price's character and his wife), who commit to spend the night in Price's haunted house.  If they survive the night,  they each receive the handsome stipend of $10,000.  dollars.   

There's a lot of crazy and obviously rigged scary effects, like the blind housekeeper who apparently rolls around on wheels,  a hanged woman dangling from the rafters,  a severed head turning up in one of the guests'  suitcases,....stuff like that.   I'm afraid I can't say it's very frightening,  but I don't believe it's intended to be.  I think it's all meant to be funny,  and it is...at least,  I've seen it about 3 times now,  and it always makes me laugh.  

The only name actor in the film besides Price is Elisha Cook Jr.,  who seems to be in a different movie altogether from the rest of them.  He,  or his character,  appear to think The House on Haunted Hill is a real ghost story,  and he keeps shaking his head and murmuring about how   "They're all going to get us,  the ghosts want us,  "  etc.  Everybody else seems to be in on the joke that they're acting in a kind of pastiche of a horror movie.    Elisha Cook of course knows this too,  but for some reason they wrote his character as someone who actually believes the mansion is haunted;   he doesn't seem to realize all the hokey scary effects are the work of some of the humans staying in the castle.

If you watch The House on Haunted Hill in the spirit  ( hey,  a pun ! ) in which it was made,  you'll enjoy it very much.  Just don't think about the vat of acid in the basement too much.  ( I mean,  why is there a vat of acid sitting around in the castle's basement?  They 'splain its presence there,  but not very well. )  Oh,  and watch for the "Emerge-O" effect of the skeleton rising from said vat of acid.  Apparently if you saw the film in a theatre,  the skeleton has a 3-D effect.  Scary stuff !

 

 

Matinee (1993) is a really fun Joe Dante movie about a schlock producer (John Goodman) who was promoting his new exploitation film, Mant!, in a Florida theater during the Cuban missile crisis, using a bogus technique called Rumble-Rama, consisting of buzzers under the seats. There was also a guy in a Mant costume who was supposed to pop out at a key moment. It really captures the era and the cheesy vibe of that stratum of show biz. 

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Speaking of CAROL OHMART . . . I've seen her last movie The Spectre of Edgar Allan Poe (1974).  Also starred Robert Walker, Jr., Cesar Romero, Tom Drake. 

Anyone else ever seen it? 

RICHARD LONG (Dec. 17, 1927 - Dec. 21, 1974) had a long career despite the fact he lived to only 47.  Barely.  He died four days after his 47th birthday.  His career started with 3 movies released in 1946 shortly after he graduated high school.  It ended with him doing a lot of television work from the late 1950s until he died.  He made two made-for-television movies that were shown on TV in 1974.  

ALSO:  Apparently he'd had heart trouble since his early 30s and this led to his early death.  I remember reading he'd spent the last month of his life in a cardiac care center in Tarzana, California. 

Richard Long made an appearance on MATCH GAME '74 for a week of shows and on one episode he mentioned the tele-film he'd worked on.  He called it "Cruise of Death"; it was shown on television as "Death Cruise".   His last film.  And his appearances on MATCH GAME '74 were his last of any kind. 

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20 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I think that the sensationally sensual Carol Ohmart deserves recognition for her performance (as well as attire) in House on Haunted Hill

She is also in Spider Baby (1968),  she also has a scene in sexy negligee in this one, and she does look hot in it. She always reminded me a of much sexier version of Meryl Streep 

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

In honour of  the Hallowe'en season,  my husband and I decided to have a William Castle fest. We own a set of Castle films on dvd,  and we decided it was time to re-watch some of them.

I won't  "review" them all on this post,  I'll just talk about one of his campiest  ( and that's really saying something,  since this guy was the King of  "scary" camp):  

The House on Haunted Hill .            

This has to be one of the silliest, ( but in a good way ), campiest "horror" films of all time.  I mean, you know you're in for both of those things  (silly and campy) when you see that it stars Vincent Price.  Who doesn't love Vincent Price?  He and Castle were a good match, since they both revelled  shamelessly in good clean schlock.   Sometimes Mr. Price was in a "serious" movie, please don't think I'm "dissing" either of these guys.    I absolutely love both Vincent Price's and William Castle's work.

Anyway,  don't try to figure out the plot of The House on Haunted Hill  ,  since I'm not sure it would hold together if you tried to make sense of it.  Suffice to say, it involves a group of seven people,  four men and three women   ( including Price's character and his wife), who commit to spend the night in Price's haunted house.  If they survive the night,  they each receive the handsome stipend of $10,000.  dollars.   

There's a lot of crazy and obviously rigged scary effects, like the blind housekeeper who apparently rolls around on wheels,  a hanged woman dangling from the rafters,  a severed head turning up in one of the guests'  suitcases,....stuff like that.   I'm afraid I can't say it's very frightening,  but I don't believe it's intended to be.  I think it's all meant to be funny,  and it is...at least,  I've seen it about 3 times now,  and it always makes me laugh.  

The only name actor in the film besides Price is Elisha Cook Jr.,  who seems to be in a different movie altogether from the rest of them.  He,  or his character,  appear to think The House on Haunted Hill is a real ghost story,  and he keeps shaking his head and murmuring about how   "They're all going to get us,  the ghosts want us,  "  etc.  Everybody else seems to be in on the joke that they're acting in a kind of pastiche of a horror movie.    Elisha Cook of course knows this too,  but for some reason they wrote his character as someone who actually believes the mansion is haunted;   he doesn't seem to realize all the hokey scary effects are the work of some of the humans staying in the castle.

If you watch The House on Haunted Hill in the spirit  ( hey,  a pun ! ) in which it was made,  you'll enjoy it very much.  Just don't think about the vat of acid in the basement too much.  ( I mean,  why is there a vat of acid sitting around in the castle's basement?  They 'splain its presence there,  but not very well. )  Oh,  and watch for the "Emerge-O" effect of the skeleton rising from said vat of acid.  Apparently if you saw the film in a theatre,  the skeleton has a 3-D effect.  Scary stuff !

 

 

 I would agree about the vat of acid in the basement. I would love to see the owner (that is who Elisha Cook Jr. is playing) trying to explain that to State Farm when he renews his homeowner's policy. And why has he left the place like that? No electricity, bars on the window, one steel door that leads to the outside and slams and locks when the caretakers leave? Why was this place originally built like this?  This is one time the remake is actually superior to the original - in the explanation. In the remake the haunted house was originally a sanitarium for the criminally insane.  And 10 thousand dollars isn't what it used to be. Sixty years later you'd need to add a couple of zeroes to that check to make it worthwhile. 

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

But I must admit,  I never think of Rosemary's Baby when I think of William Castle.  Castle's movies  - the ones he directed - were always sort of good-natured and didn't take themselves too seriously.   

 

I think that was the reason why Castle wasn't allowed to direct Rosemary's Baby

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5 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I've never heard of Richard Long,  but thanks for the info about him.  Is Cult of the Cobra as campy as House on Haunted Hill ?

Nnnno.  It's a latecomer B-entry into the post Cat People "Animal Femme-fatale" genre that replaced the Monsters in the 40's, where our heroes meet exotic mystery girls who seem to know too much about mysterious killer animals roaming about...Every studio wanted one after RKO's became a hit.  There's a great adventure-serial opening, where our characters run afoul of an Indian cult, but once the girl shows up, the suspense is out the window and creaking slowly.

And HoHH isn't "campy", Castle just knew how to let a Saturday night drive-in have a little fun.

5 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I know there was a re-make of 13 Ghosts,  but I was never interested in seeing it.  Why mess with perfection?  

Because Castle's daughter inherited the studio, and tried to re-launch the brandname with that wretched  Haunted Hill remake.

As for the others, Mr. Sardonicus is a fairly slick film apart from its (bogus) "Audience jury" gimmick, Homicidal is pretty convincing evidence in the "Hitchcock vs. Castle" rivalry in the making of "Psycho", and if it's on the set, The Night Walkers is still his weirdest and creepiest.

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I like so many posts in this thread...but would rather not quote them all.

I remember Richard Long as a popular leading man, mostly from NANNY & THE PROFESSOR. Was not aware he died so young. 😵

I also really love Carol Ohmart in House On Haunted Hill. She has a serene look about her. I did see HOHH at (again) the Historic Capitol Theater in Rome NY with EMERGO. They had rigged a wire high up in the auditorium and during the key scene lit it with a spotlight & released it to roll over the heads of those in the theater. Many chuckles in the room, but I LOVED it.

13 GHOSTS was my most feared film as a kid. When the opening would start on the local TV Saturday Afternoon Monster Movie, I'd quickly turn it off and go play outside. It would always take me awhile to put it out of my mind. I have neurological issues and "saw, heard & felt ghosts" my entire life, which terrified me as a child. 

I sought therapy my 30's, deciding to face my greatest fears. Went to the video store & asked for William Castle's 13 Ghosts. (the clerk was impressed with my request and we've been movie friends for decades since) When I popped in the video & actually watched the movie, I was creeped out by some scenes, but saw it for what it was-a goofy schlocky movie-nothing to be afraid of. Therapeutic.

While I love all aforementioned Castle films, this is one of my favorites: 

A12Z_1_201709131437045854.jpg

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19 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

I also really love Carol Ohmart in House On Haunted Hill.

The verbal exchanges between Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart are really mean and venomous. There was nothing really campy or funny about those scenes. You could really feel the hate they have for each other due to the excellent acting of both.

CAROL OHMART, VINCENT PRICE, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, 1959 Stock Photo - Alamy

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the problem with House on Haunted Hill is you have elisha cook making all these ominous remarks about the house's supernatural forces but instead of following up on that castle veers off into this wife/psychiatrist murder plot to do in frederic lauren which hurts the film and all of elisha cook's warnings doan amount to anything. the horrors are all contrived by lauren's adulterous wife and shrink. I still feel cheated. and it is obvious that the floating hag who levitates out the room was played by a man...

but that carol ohmart was sure hot.

:)

nice leg

Amazon.com: House On Haunted Hill Carol Ohmart 1959 Photo Print (16 x 20):  Posters & Prints

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18 hours ago, Aritosthenes said:

If One & All Doesnt Mind me Shoe-Horning in; Richard Long was (perhaps and Subjectively) Best Known for Starring in the Big Valley. (Kinda a Hybrid of sorts between Bonanza and, say.. Little House on Prarie.)

In a Nut Shell. There Was Mum and a Brood of Kiddoes. The Barkleys, by name. The (Respective) Episodes were kinda laid out a la Bonanza. If You're Familiar with that show (Bonanza). To my Knowledge, neither show crossed swords with the other. But might have been Interesting had they shook hands.

I'd also throw  THE HIGH CHAPARRAL in with that BIG VALLEY amalgam.  My Mom watched "Valley" because of Barbara Stanwyck.  I watched it because of Linda Evans.  ;) 

And Long was in a couple or so TWILIGHT ZONE episodes.  

Sepiatone

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20 hours ago, TomJH said:

While her name might not register with a lot of film buffs today, I think that the sensationally sensual Carol Ohmart deserves recognition for her performance (as well as attire) in House on Haunted Hill as Vincent Price's wife with whom he has a less than completely loving relationship. Ohmart had a brief spate of sexy blonde roles in the '50s and '60s, with this probably her best remembered film role. She did a lot of TV work at the time, as well.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Carol Ohmart - House On Haunted Hill | Old hollywood, House on haunted hill,  Movie stars

Amazon.com: House On Haunted Hill Carol Ohmart 1959 Photo Print (16 x 20):  Posters & Prints

 I can't recall if this scene actually occurs on the film but, if it doesn't, it should have.

Carol Ohmart Characters Annabelle Loren Film House On Haunted Hill (1959)  Director William Castle 17 F

Okay, so she prefers guys that eat well

"I can't recall if this scene actually occurs on the film but, if it doesn't, it should have."

It's not in the film but the hand routine happens to Carolyn Craig.

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