Home > Films > H > House On Haunted Hill

Sunday November 18th 2018

House On Haunted Hill | 1958

House on Haunted Hill location: Ennis-Brown House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
House on Haunted Hill location: Party at the haunted house: Ennis House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

Millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) holds an all-night party in the supposedly haunted house cared for by jittery Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr), in William Castle’s classic gimmicky schlocker.

The gimmick this time, Emergo, had a plastic skeleton trundled out from behind the screen over the heads of the audience. Pretty scary.

Castle eschews standard Gothic, and uses Frank Lloyd Wright’s superb Ennis House, 2607 Glendower Avenue, a Mayan-temple influenced structure built of pre-cast concrete blocks. The house, built in 1924, suffered years of neglect. After the release of the movie, it was nightly besieged by bozos, hurling bottles.

House on Haunted Hill location: Ennis-Brown House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
House on Haunted Hill location: Party at the haunted house: Ennis House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles

It was slightly damaged in the 1994 Los Angeles quake, too. A frequent location for movies, ads and music videos, you can see the house as a movie producer’s home in Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon and John Schlesinger’s Day of the Locust, as a villain’s hideout in The Karate Kid III and Ridley Scott’s Black Rain, and a 'Hong Kong' penthouse in Rush Hour, but perhaps most famously in another Ridley Scott movie, as Harrison Ford”s futuristic home in Blade Runner.

For the campy 1999 remake, the amusement park was largely a model, based on a real park in Orlando, Florida. The house itself consisted of miniatures and matte paintings. Only the entrance is real. It’s the art deco frontage of the Griffith Observatory, 2800 East Observatory Road in Griffith Park, Los Angeles (previously a major location for Rebel Without a Cause).