The always-entertaining horror producer/director William Castle was the king of the gimmicky promotional gags and responsible for famously rigging theaters with electric seat buzzers, costumed monsters and nurse stations to elicit screams from 1950s and '60s audiences across America.
Filmed in Emergo! -- basically a plastic skeleton on a wire -- 1959's House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price, was one of his best, employing the cheap-but-effective technique in certain cinemas as part of its sensationalistic marketing campaign. The plot involved an eccentric millionaire (Price, natch) inviting five guests to spend the night in a ghostly mansion for a prize of $10,000 to whomever can last until dawn.
House on Haunted Hill was remade as a reasonably scary 1999 shocker starring Geoffrey Rush and X-Men's Jean Grey, Famke Janssen, this time with lots more blood and gore and the ultimate reward upped to ... wait for it ... One Milllllion Dollars! The film was followed by a direct-to-video sequel in 2007, Return to House on Haunted Hill, which featured Jeffrey Combs reprising his role as the ghoulish Dr. Richard Benjamin Vannacut.
Now another remake is in development from screenwriters Jason Pagan and Andrew Deutschman (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), the creative team behind the recently announced Unexplained Phenomenon with Steven Spielberg's Amblin. No word on whether this version will be a period piece or a modern adaptation, but either way let's hope there are no plastic ghosts flying around overhead.
Not to be upstaged, Terry, the daughter of the late, great William Castle, is penning her own House on Haunted Hill prequel, following the personal notes of her father in crafting the script. Here's what she told Dread Central:
"Funny! I just finished a 'House on Haunted Hill' script myself," Castle explained. "A prequel penned by Terry Castle! I am about to go out with it! As it turns out, I have 'House on Haunted Hill' in my blood … so, let the best man …. excuse me, woman, WIN! I have some of Dad's original notes for a prequel, and I am running with them. If you remember, Annabelle Loren (Carol Ohmart) was not Frederick's first wife! My film will be produced under the WILLIAM CASTLE PRODUCTIONS banner."
So that's a lot of demented dwellings on Haunted Hill coming to Hollywood. Which one do you think stands a better chance of materializing on the silver screen?
(Via Bloody Disgusting)