William Castle's HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959) has all of the right elements to make up a nifty haunted house movie, and yet none of them at all. And it's certainly not to be confused with any number of similarly titled pictures (or their remakes) like HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, or, Jesus knows, the 1963 original THE HAUNTING (of Hill House) among many, many others. But in this one, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, an eccentric millionaire pays a group of people he's never met before $50,000 to spend one night in a mansion with a murder laden history. The cast is actually quite good -- Vincent Price is, of course, the eccentric millionaire; Carol Ohmart (who could be Meryl Streep's mother if you see her in SPIDER BABY from 1964) is his wife, Annabelle, the couple convinced that each is trying to kill the other in what might be a kinky game of homicidal slap-and-tickle; Nora Manning (played by Carolyn Craig, a terrific screamer and someone who was murdered in real life) a low-level employee of Price whom he's never seen; Richard Long as the down-to-earth Lance Schroeder; Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum) is a columnist with a gambling addiction; and Elisha Cook Jr. as Watson Pritchard, the group's token drunk who waxes on at the drop of a disembodied head about how many murders have occurred in the mansion and how none of the guests have a chance of surviving the night once the ghosts start coming for them. The only weak link -- and he almost kills the entire thing, as it were -- is Alan Marshal as Dr. David Trent, a psychiatrist studying "hysteria." The actor's a stiff, and all any William Castle movie needs is a cast member as inert as the script. They all get party favors in the form of guns in tiny coffins, they wander from room to room learning who once got murder in each one, they mosey through the basement where a vat of acid still bubbles beneath the floor, and there's thunder and lightning, too, usually accompanied by one of Nora's impassioned screams. And there are two creepy housekeepers, Jonas Slydes and his wife who looks just like my mother does now, inside and out: The end of movie makes no sense at all, and as the closing credits roll you realize you've seen absolutely no ghosts, that the characters have experienced no symptoms of ghosts being there whatsoever, yet Elisha Cook assures us it's the only truly haunted house in the world. Spoooooooooky.