House on Haunted Hill (1959) Script

The ghosts are moving tonight. Restless, hungry.

May I introduce myself? I am Watson Pritchard.

In just a minute I'll show you the only really haunted house... in the world.

Since it was built a century ago, seven people, including my brother, have been murdered in it.

Since then, I have owned the house.

I've only spent one night there, and when they found me in the morning... I I was almost dead.

I am Frederick Loren.

And I've rented the house on haunted hill tonight... so that my wife can give a party.

A haunted house party.

She's so amusing.

There'll be food and drink and ghosts, and perhaps even a few murders.

You're all invited.

If any of you will spend the next 12 hours in this house, I will give you each 10 thousand dollars.

Or your next-of-kin in case you don't survive.

Ah, but here come other guests.

It was my wife's idea... to have our guests come in funeral cars.

She's so amusing.

Her sense of humor is, shall we say... original.

I dreamed of the hearse, it's empty now, but after a night in the house of haunted hill.

Who knows?

This is Lance Schroeder, a test pilot.

So no doubt a brave man.

But don't you think you can be much braver if you're paid for it?

And I happen to know that Lance needs the 10.000 I'll give him.

If he is brave enough to stay all night.

This is Ruth Bridgers.

You've no doubt read her column in the newspapers.

She says her reason for coming to the party is to write a feature article on ghosts.

She's also desperate for money. Gambles.

You've already met Watson Pritchard.

A man living in mortal fear of a house and yet he is risking his life to spend another night here.

I wonder why.

He says it's for money.

This is Dr. David Trent. A psychiatrist.

He claims that my ghosts will help his work... on hysteria.

But don't you see a little touch of greed there?

Around the mouth and eyes?

This is Nora Manning.

I picked her from the thousands of people who work for me... because she needed the 10 thousand more than most.

Supports her whole family. Isn't she pretty?

The party is starting now and you have until midnight, to find the House on Haunted Hill.


Well, where is everybody?

It isn't a very warm welcome, is it?

Only the ghosts in this house are glad we're here.

Are we all strangers to each other?

Don't you two know each other?

I'm afraid I don't even know your name.

I am Nora Manning. Lance Schroeder.

Is Frederick Loren a friend of yours?

I've heard of him, but I've never met him.

I work in one of his companies, but I've have never seen him.

I've never met the man either, just a phone call.

Do you know him? No.

Well then, you're the only one of us who does.

I don't know him.

All the details about renting the house... were done by mail.

He's quite wealthy, isn't he? Millions.

And five wives, I believe.

Four, I think so far.

A fifty thousand dollar party for only five people is a little steepy even for a millionaire.

Well, if I were going to haunt anybody this would most certainly be the house I'd do it, eh?

Who closed the door?

This thing is made of solid steel.


Our guest are here and fortunately still alive.

Is your face on yet?

Dust and dirt everywhere. The water barely trickles.

Couldn't you have the place cleaned? Atmosphere, darling.

You know how ghosts are, they never tidy up.

Well, that's a very fetching outfit, but hardly suitable for a party.

I'm not going to the party.

Mm, "You Spend The Night Ghost Party" was your idea, remember?

Since it's going to cost me $50,000 dollars, I want you to have fun.

The party was my idea until you invited all the guests.

Why all these strangers? Why none of our friends?

Friends? Do we have any friends?

No. Your jealousy took care of that.

I had a reason for inviting each guest.

I wanted kind of a cross section, from psychiatrist to typist.

And from drunk to jet pilot.

They share one thing. They all need money.

Now let's see if they're brave enough to earn it.

And you call this a party?

Could be.

Why do you always do that? It spoils the champagne.

It might explode. Never does.

Would you guarantee that?

That isn't funny, Frederick. Would make a good headline.

Playboy kills wife with champagne cork.

Would you join me? No, thank you.

Just a sip might improve your humor.

My humor is fine, thanks.

And I haven't poisoned it.

It's always good to know that.

Have some, you'll enjoy the party more.

Go on.

Your trust is so touching.

And I'm not going to the party.

Of all my wives, you are the least agreeable.

But still alive.

Would you go away for a million dollars in tax-free?

You want it all, don't you?

I deserve it all.

Your jealousy isn't tax free.

And your possessiveness is maddening.

If ever a man had grounds for divorce.

But can't prove them. The time will come.

You'll slip up one of these days. You think so?

If I live long enough.

You remember the fun we had when you poisoned me?

Something you ate, the doctor said.

Yes, arsenic on the rocks.


You'd do it again if you thought you could get away with it, wouldn't you?

Darling, what makes you think that?

Something about you.

I hear that hanging is very uncomfortable, in case you get any more ideas.

Don't let the ghosts and the ghouls disturb you, darling.

Darling, the only ghoul in the house is you.

And don't sit up all night, thinking of ways to get rid of me.

It makes wrinkles.

This is what she used on my brother and her sister.

Hacked them to pieces.

We found parts of their bodies all over the house.

In places you wouldn't think.

The funny thing is the heads have never been found.

The hands and feet, and things like that... but no heads.

The wife, probably in a rage threatened her husband with a knife, and then, carried away by hysteria took a swing at him, and simply went on from there.

Well, she certainly went on. How many people did she kill, Mr. Pritchard?

Only two. Her husband and her sister.

No one else was here.

So there are two loose heads just floating around in here somewhere?

You can hear them at night.

They whisper to each other and then cry.

Since our host isn't here, would anyone care to mix me a drink?

Certainly, what will you have?

Good evening.

I'm your host, Frederick Loren.

Since we're all strangers to each other, let's get acquainted with a drink, shall we?

Mr. Loren.

I advise you to call this party off now.

The ghosts are already moving and that's a bad sign.

Let me apologize for my wife. She will join us later.

What do we have? Scotch with ice.

Doctor? I'll have the same.

Now before the party begins, let's go over the details.

The caretakers will leave at midnight, locking us in here until they come back in the morning.

Once the door is locked, there is no way out.

The windows have bars that a jail would be proud of.

And the only door to the outside locks like a vault.

There is no electricity, no phone, no one within miles, so, no way to call for help.

Like a coffin.

So, if any of you decide not to stay for the party you must let me know before midnight.

Of course if you leave, I shan't be able to pay you anything.

I'm interest in your reason for this... party.

Besides some pleasant company.

Ghosts, doctor.

I think everyone wonders what they would do... if they saw a ghost.

And now my wife is giving us all the opportunity to find out.

Amusing. Ghosts, etc... being only creations of hysteria... your party should be a success.

So Pritchard here promises us genuine ghosts.

Seven now, maybe more before morning.

That's cheerful.

4 men have been murdered this house.

And 3 women.

You planned your party very well, Mr. Loren.

4 of us are men, 3 are women, there's a ghost for everybody.

So Pritchard, why don't you take us on a tour through the house... and let's see what happens, uh.

See that stain?


A young girl was killed here.

And whatever got her wasn't human. Don't stand there!

What do you mean? Where?

It's too late. They've marked you.

Ridiculous. The roof probably leaks.

Oh, that must be what it is. Who would want to haunt me?

I would say any self-respecting male ghost.

I hope it doesn't come back.

Oh Mr. Pritchard, you are the life of the party.

Oh, he hasn't even started yet.

Wasn't there a man who threw his wife into a wine vat or something?

That was in the cellar.

There's been a murder almost every place in this house.

All this belonged to a Mr. Norton, who didn't die here. He was electrocuted later.

Mr. Norton did a good deal of experimenting with wines.

But his wife didn't think it was any good.

So he filled a vat with acid and threw her in.

She was supposed to stay down, but the bones came up.

It's a funny thing, but none of the murders here were just ordinary.

Just shooting or stabbing...

They've all been sort of wild... violent and different. Look out!

Thank God, she didn't fall in.

You mean there's still acid in there?

Destroys everything with hair and flesh.

Just leaves the bones.

My, it's dry and dusty down here.

Because there is a cure for that, that stinks, come on.

How did you get invited to this party?

No. Let them go on. I mean, what did he tell you?

Mr. Loren said everybody would get 10 thousand dollars.

But he didn't say anything about being locked in?


He just made a deal with me on the phone.

But nothing about having to stay.

Aren't you going to stay?

If I don't, I lose 10 thousand dollars.

I'm going to stay, too.

10 thousand dollars. Yes.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I don't know.

Well, I believe in what that doc says you can spook yourself.

Not a complaint, seeing things that are not really there.

Or were they?

What do you do with your 10 thousand?

If we get it.

What do you mean "if we get it"?

Won't he pay us if we stay?

Oh I'm sure he will. Ten thousand is no more to him than a nickle is for us.

We were in a automobile accident.

Now I am the only one in the family who can make any money.

Well, I have never seen so many doors.



Does it go any where?



Help me! Please!

Lance is gone!

And there's a ghost!

See what I mean? Please come on!

Did you say Lance is gone? Gone where?

We'll have to break it down! It's locked!


Are you all right?

Nothing that money won't cure.

I must... have bumped my head.

The only way you could bump your head in here, is to run head on into the wall.

You didn't do that, did you?

Let's get a bandage on that.

I wonder why they didn't kill him?


He didn't bump his head, they hit him.


Nora, when you came in, you said something about a ghost?

There was something. What did it look like?

Well, it was wearing a black thing that went all the way to the floor.

Weren't you a little frightened at the time?

Oh, yes.

That, Mr. Loren, is hysteria.

Well, then doctor, how do you explain what happened to Lance?

Was that hysteria too?

You better get that checked in a day or two.

Thanks, doc.

Wait for me in the hall.

The ghosts are coming closer, Mr. Loren.

You really believe in your pet ghosts, don't you Pritchard?

Before the night's over, you will too.

Would you like a drink, Lance? No, thanks.

I'd like one. Scotsman.

Mr. Loren, are you really going to pay anyone who stays all night?

Certainly, 10 thousand dollars.

Will there be much red tape, or delay?

You're in a hurry, dear? Frankly, yes.

Or frantically.

Here you are, my dear.

Someone or something was in here when I came in, but where?

And if the door was locked, how did it get out?

What you saw might have been a ghost, Nora.

But what was in here with me, was no ghost.

I don't know, I was so scared.

That sound different to you?


Three, six, nine, twelve.

12 feet.

Three, six.

Now I'm going to knock on the other wall.

When you hear me, you knock on this wall.

Tap lower down!

Oh, Lance! I saw it again!

Where did it come from? From in here.

But if it ran out of here, I'd have seen it.

Lance, it doesn't run, it just floats.

Yeah, but, why didn't I see it?

You don't believe me!

How can I?

I'm Annabelle Loren.

You must be Miss Manning.

I realize this is a very unusual and a very, very dull party.

Wouldn't you like to freshen up?

This is your room.

Depressing, isn't it?

I doubt if I'll spend much time here.

It's going to rain. The perfect atmosphere for my husband's party.

Why did you come here?

He said he'd give me 10 thousand dollars.

Why did he pick you? I don't know.

My supervisor just came and said I've been invited.

How long have you known my husband?

I just met him tonight.


Why you?

What were you doing, wandering around by yourself?

Well, I was in the cellar with Lance.

Mr. Schroeder.

I just left, that's all.

Don't do it again.

Don't go anywhere in this house by yourself.

Go on, fix you face and I'll come by for you in a few minutes.

But I...

You're in danger.

We all are.

But who?

I hope for your sake, you'll never find out.

I am Annabelle Loren. Are you looking for something?

Not exactly.

Are you the doctor? No, I am Lance Schroeder.

The pilot. You've hurt yourself? Oh, it's just a bump on the head.

Which is my room? I believe this is it.

Thank you, Mrs. Loren.

Annabelle, Lance.

You were with the young girl in the cellar.

Why was she so upset? Was she?

And you don't look like the type to go around bumping your head.

What did it really happened, Lance?

Well, Nora thought she saw a ghost, but I didn't see anything.

She was just frightened then?

And mad at me I think. I kidded her about it.

I wouldn't joke about anything else that happens here tonight.

Now don't tell me that you're taking all this seriously.

Aren't you?

Well, I'd like to find out what hit me.


If I need help, may I count on you?

Yeah, sure, I guess so.

Look, what's going on here anyway?

I mean what is with this party business?

This is no party. He is planning something.

Your husband? I don't think he really was.

Must be pretty big if he is going to lay out 50 thousand.

Money doesn't mean anything.

He has a reason for getting us all up here to this dreadful old house.

Well what for? He doesn't even knows us.

Maybe that's exactly why you're here?

Well, what can he get away with?

Oh, he thinks his big money like his can getaway with anything.

You know of course that I'm his fourth wife.

The first simply disappeared.

The other two died.

Lance, I don't want to join them.

You mean he...

All his doctors said they died of heart attacks.

Two girls in their twenties. Well, what can he do?

My husband is sometimes insane with jealousy.

Nothing matters to him anymore. Please be careful.

Would he hurt you?

He would kill me if he could.

Annabelle, you're missing all the fun.

Nora Manning was almost killed by a falling chandelier.

The pilot bashed his head in.

Is he badly hurt?

The saturnine psychiatrist bandaged him up.

Don't you want to go and console him?

As you do with most men in your fashion.

You are so clever, Frederick.

Since I lie awake at nights, wondering why I married you.

It was rather a mistake.

You didn't marry me, dear. I married you.

Unpleasant, but no mistake.

Hurry up.

Frederick, for last time, I'm not going to your party.

And for last time, it's not my party, but yours.

And you are going.

I am not. You ready dear?

No. Are you ready dear?

Yes, damn you.

Would you adore me as much if I was poor?

No, thought you wanted to be as a lovely widow.

It's almost time to lock up the house.

Then your party will really begin.

I wonder how it will end.

It's close to midnight, Lance. Okay, I'll be down in a minute.

Who is it? Your host, my dear.

It's almost midnight, Nora.

We're all going to get together down in the living room.

Alright Mr. Loren, I'll be right down.

Come with us.

Come with us, before he kills you.

Where is Nora? Miss Manning?

I don't want to stay here!

Nora, what happened?

That's Jonas Slydes and his wife.

They have been caretakers here for years.

She's blind, you know?

I'm not going to stay here!

Well doctor, it looks like we have a real case of hysteria on our hands.

Oh, I thinks she's just a little upset, not hysterical.

Good evening.

Hello, my dear.

This is my wife. These are our guests.

Ruth Bridgers.

Dr. Trent.

You know Watson Pritchard, of course.

Nora Manning and...

This is Lance Schroeder.

Get me out of here!

Now what about the 10 thousand?

I don't care. He wants to kill me.

Who wants to kill you?

Mr. Loren.

May I have your attention, please.

I think you all remember the bargain we made about staying all night. 10 thousand dollars apiece.

If any of you don't survive, 50 thousand dollars will be divided amongst the rest of you.

If I should die...

You will be paid by my estate.

When the door is locked from the outside by the caretakers, we'll all be forced to to stay in this house until morning.

If any of you decide not to stay... you must leave with the caretakers now.

You won't have a chance to change your minds later because there'll be no way to get out.

I don't want to stay! Wait.

It isn't midnight yet. Who told them they could leave?

They never leave before midnight.

Well, they've gone now.

I was going to ask you whether you wanted to stay or not... but it seems that the caretakers have made the decision for you.

We're all locked in now.

But I don't want to stay.

I sorry my dear, but it's too late now.

Darling, haven't you had enough of this silly game?

Get some cars up here for these people and let them go home.

But pay them first.

This is your party, remember?

In spite of my wife's faith in my ability to do the impossible, we will all have to stay in this house until eight o'clock in the morning.

But we have some party favors for you... in these little coffins.

This is my wife's idea and I must say I think it's rather dangerous.

I suppose you all know how to use one of this things but in case you don't... you just press down on this lever with your thumb and then pull the trigger.

You see, they're loaded.

These are no good against the dead, only the living.




Go ahead, take it.

Miss Bridgers.

And here is yours, dear. I don't need it.

It was your idea.

Who knows, you may want to use it on me before this night is over.

Throw these guns away, they won't do you any good.

I agree with Pritchard on that point although not for the same reason.

Dr. Trent...

don't you approve of our little party favors?

Suppose Nora had had a gun when she mistook the blind woman for a ghost.

I don't think anyone else is going to walk around in total darkness.

Oh, I'm sure we're not going to go running round the house shooting each other, aren't you?

Who knows? Fear makes people do amazing things.

Mr. Pritchard, you said your sister-in-law killed a man and woman here and cut them up.

You said they found hands and feet, but they never found any heads.

Would you like to see one of those heads?

Would you all like to see one of those heads?

Okay, just follow me!

Darling, I really don't need this.

Just go look in my suitcase.

Just go, look.

But it was in there! A woman's head!

Nora, I think you're a little upset.

Would you care for a sedative?

Get out! Get out all of you!

All of you get out of here and leave me alone!

Just get out of here!

You think it's alright to leave her by herself, doctor?

I wished she'd taken the sedative.

Well, what do you suppose she thought she saw?

They're closing in on her.

Look Doc, I think somebody ought to stay with her.

There could be a million people around her but if they wanted her, they'd get her.

What if he's right?

He's too drunk to know what he's talking about.

I wonder. I'll join you in a minute.

Do you think it would do any good if you went in and talk to her?

Would you think there really was a head in her suitcase?

I don't know.

Something like that would put me right over the edge.

Well, could you sort of stay up here, I mean, in case she needs help?

All right. I'll be in my room. Just call if you need.


Are you sure there are only seven people in this house?

Positive, except for the ghosts.

I don't believe in ghosts nor in frightening women.

In Nora's case, it's gone far enough.

Perhaps too far.

What do you suggest we do about it, doctor?

Don't frighten her any more!






What do you know about this?

They've taken her. In a little while she'll be one of them.

Where is Nora?

Where is she?

It's too late.

You'll never find her again.

Pritchard, if you know where she is, you'd better tell me now!

She's gone! She's gone with them!

And there's nothing you can do about it.


Take it down!


She is dead, Mr. Loren.

Your wife hanged herself.


Lance! Nora!

Lance, hide, please hide.

What's the matter? Hide!

He tried to kill me.

He grabbed me and choked me and put me in that room.

And then he went away and left me.


He thought I was dead.


Mr. Loren.

Are you sure about this?

I don't know. It... it was dark, but it must have been him.

Has anybody seen you since he left you?

I heard some people in that room, but I went by and nobody saw me.

Mrs. Loren is dead.

But how?

Loren said she committed suicide.

But I think somebody killed her.


I'm sure you've come to the same conclusion I have.

Yeah. I think so.

Let's all have a meeting and discuss what to do.

The living room? Okay. In a minute.

I've got to go downstairs.

Now you lock yourself in here and don't let anybody know you're here.

If he thinks you're dead he won't come here.

And I'll get back as soon as I can.

You'll be alright.

And if you have to... you use it.

So beautiful.

So greedy.

So cold.

What are you doing in here? Wait, don't we...

What do you mean, coming in here?

I don't want them to take her away. You're drunk.

They will if you don't watch her. You're drunk!

Alright I'll put it, Pritchard! Why did you come into this room?

I'm the only one who understands. Understands what?

Your wife isn't there anymore, she's already joined them.

Now Pritchard, I've had enough of your spook talk.

Get out you sot, and don't come back into this room again!

Where is what's her name...?


I didn't disturb her since I don't think this concerns her.

Now you're right.

Mr. Loren, isn't there some way we can get out of this house now?

No. None at all.

We could try breaking out.

The only door to the outside is made of steel.

The bars at the windows are set in solid stone.

We gotta stay.

I'm not afraid of your ghosts, Pritchard.

But I am afraid.

When we came here a few hours ago, the only thing we had in common was the 10 thousand dollars we'd get.

Now however we share something else.

The death of Mrs. Loren.

So far tonight, one of us was almost killed by a falling chandelier.

One of us was mysteriously slugged.

One of us is being driven to the brink of absolute hysteria.

And one of us is dead.

Were these accidents? Suicide?

And we must stay here for six more hours?

6 hours?

Six of us.

Time enough. Who will be next?

How will it happen?

Let me ask you a question doctor.

You were the first one to see my wife dead.

Did you also see anything that she could have climbed up on and then jumped? No.

Did any of you?

There was nothing.

How then did she get up there?

So high, Exactly, Mr. Loren, how?

She couldn't have pulled herself up there.

She couldn't have dropped from the ceiling.

Do you think your wife killed herself?


She was murdered.

By one of you.

Or you, Mr. Loren.

To deliberately kill someone you must have a reason.

We were all strangers to your wife.

Only you had a motive for murder.

What husband hasn't at some time wanted to kill his wife?

What husband hasn't had a thousand opportunities to do it in such a way so that he'd never be suspected.

I'm not such a fool as to hang my wife from a ceiling by a rope.

The fact remains that you or one of us murdered Mrs. Loren.

And that's the matter for the police. So, how do we get the police?

That's my point. We can't until morning.

What began as a silly party given by an eccentric, has now involved us all in murder.

For once Pritchard may be right.

If another murder is in the works, let's stop it now.

Another murder? Why not?

Maybe one of us saw much.

Why should even a millionaire want to give each of us 10 thousand dollars to spend one night in a gloomy old house?

To see some ghosts and have a party?

No. Have you finished trying me, doctor?

And is the verdict guilty of murder?

No, this isn't getting us anywhere.

Somebody killed Mrs. Loren, we know that.

One of us is guilty and the rest of us are innocent. Okay.

Now what we have to do for the next six hours is to protect ourselves... from each other.

Do you really think...? I don't think anything.

I just know that I'm going to my room.

And if anybody comes in, I'll shoot him... or her.

And if we all stay in our rooms... we'll be safe.

Because the innocent will have no reason to leave his room, and the guilty will admit his guilt if he or she does.

And we all have guns. Then we are all agreed?

Oh I wish this night were over.

Rooms? Guns?

I tell you it doesn't make any difference.

They are through with us here.

What's the use of saying good night?

Good night.

Good night, doctor.

Nora, it's me, Lance.

Are you okay?

They've all gone into their rooms, and locked themselves in.

Lance, I've been thinking.

It was so dark there below. Maybe it wasn't Mr. Loren.

It was him, alright. He tried to kill you and he did kill his wife.

How can you be so sure? She tried to warn me.

Asked me to help her.

The doc thinks he is going to try and kill one of us.

Now there must be a way out of this place and I'm going to find it and get the police before he does.

I'm going with you.

But if he finds out you're alive...

No, Nora, you're safer here than any place else.

Now just lock yourself in and keep quiet.

If I find a way out, I'll come back and get you.






An admission of guilt, doctor?

Certainly not. There's either somebody else in this house or one of us has left his room.

Did you hear anything?

Organ music? That and someone walking.

You got yours?


You look downstairs and I'll look up here.

Why not together?

We maybe only minutes, seconds left to someone's life.

Why waste time?

It's almost over darling.

Every detail was perfect.

What's happening? We've done it.

The perfect crime. Beautiful.

Has she killed him?

Not yet.

But she will.

Get me out of this hanging harness.

What's taking that girl so long? What time is it?

At first I couldn't get Nora to want to protect herself with a gun.

But after you appeared at the window everything began to work just as we had planned.

You were wonderful.

Just the touch which finally drove her into complete hysteria.

It will be worth all of our planning, darling.

Where is Nora now?

What's happening? On her way to the cellar.

So scared, she'll shoot the first thing that moves.

And Frederick? On his way to the cellar too.

David, are you sure none of them will suspect us?

Of what?

An hysterical girl accidentally shoot somebody?

Who would suspect that we planned it that way?

That we drove her to it. What about my suicide?

For just a ghost party gag.

We'll claim it was a dummy since I merely want to touch you.

And the caretakers?

Well, they had no idea what they were really doing.

What about Nora? She's not stupid you know.

Darling, believe me. Everything we planned is working perfectly.

Nora is sure Frederick murdered you.

She can spread Frederick attacked her the cellar, not me.

And now Nora is almost out of her mind with fear.

The heads, the music, your hanging.

I tell you, when Frederick walks in there, she'll shoot him.

It's taking too long.

David, you ought to be there.

When you hear the shot come down to the cellar.

Nora! No!



At last you've got it all.

Everything I have, even my life.

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

Come with me murderess, come with me.

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 started your game of murder that I was playing too.

There must be some way to get in here!

It's right along here, some what.


I've shot Mr. Loren! He's down in the wine cellar.

Alive? I don't think so.

It's him! He's alive!

You didn't shoot anyone, my dear.

I loaded your gun with blanks.

I can tell you all now...

Trent and my wife were planning to kill me.

They failed.

Trent tried to throw me in the vat.

My wife stumbled and fell.

I'm ready for justice to decide if I'm innocent or guilty.

Now there are nine.

There'll be more, many more.

They're coming for me now.