House on Haunted Hill

Synopsis: A millionaire with theatrical tendencies, Stephen Price (Geoffrey Rush) invites a number of people to stay in a vast creepy building that used to be an insane asylum. Stephen, accompanied by his bitter wife, Evelyn (Famke Janssen), offers a million dollars to anyone who can stay the whole night without leaving out of fear. When Stephen and Evelyn become trapped with their guests, they quickly realize that the house really is haunted -- and the spirits dwelling within are very angry.
Production: Warner Home Video
  1 win & 3 nominations.
 
IMDB:
5.6
Metacritic:
28
Rotten Tomatoes:
28%
R
Year:
1999
93 min
Website
493 Views


FADE IN:

BLACK SCREEN:

And in the darkness, a TICKING sound is heard. Soft and

steady -- soothing -- and then a BANG!

SMASH UP ON:

INT. HOSPITAL - BASEMENT NURSE'S STATION - NIGHT

A HAND punching a CARD into the huge, ticking TIME CLOCK on

the wall:
7:00 a.m.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL - A bleary-eyed MALE NURSE beginning

his day. Alone inside a small wood and glass cubicle, he

rips off yesterday's day-at-a-time calendar page, revealing

today's date:
October 11, 1931.

Goes to the Victrola inside the cubicle. Cranks the turntable

up to speed. Puts the huge needle down on a spinning 78: we

hear the song crackling through the empty halls of the

hospital -- depression-era Muzak: Horace Heidt & His Musical

Knight's "Keep Your Sunny Side Up"

The Nurse sharpens the last of a half-dozen pencils to needle-

points, sits down at his desk, and begins the tedium of

jotting entries into a tall stack of Patient Records.

Beat. And then he hears a soft, almost paw-like tapping on

the glass. He looks up: a PATIENT with a heavily bandaged

head is standing there, his eyes as dull and lifeless as

marbles.

The Nurse waves the Patient away. Goes back to his work.

Beat. And then the tapping is heard again. The Nurse snaps

his head up, about to bark at the man -- but the words stop

dead on his tongue:

Standing on the other side of the glass are now two dozen

patients. Likewise bandaged, staring silent and dead-eyed at

him.

Unnerved, the Nurse's finger slowly stretches towards a

buzzer-button just below the desk-top. It never makes it.

Because --

A HAND - lashes into frame and grabs the Nurse's fingers. The

Nurse looks up.

In addition to the mass of Patients outside the cubicle,

there are now six of them inside it, surrounding him. The

Nurse's eyes shoot to the still-locked doors of the cubicle,

and he utters one confused word --

MALE NURSE:

-- how -- ?

-- and then someone rams all six of his needle-sharp pencils

eraser-deep into his throat.

The Nurse gurgles and staggers -- falls back against the

Victrola, hitting the turntable crank as he goes down,

causing it to start spinning like a pinwheel.

"Keep Your Sunny Side Up" now blares through the halls triple-

time, sounding like a thousand manic chipmunks. And to the

beat of that tune, the Patients smash the CONTROL PANEL

inside the cubicle until it shorts-out and explodes! Which

pops open

INT. PATIENT CELLS -

- and sends dozens more wild, raving Humans rampaging through

the hospital, while EVERY ELECTRIC LIGHT in the place strobes

maniacally, and ORDERLIES & OTHER NURSES are chased down like

rabbits by Patients and beaten to pulp, and

INT. "THERAPY" ROOMS -

- filled with devices that look straight out of the Spanish

Inquisition are trashed to toothpicks, and some of the STAFF

are forced into devices and tortured as PATIENT RECORDS are

spindled and ignited -- flaming torches used to set

everything in the place ablaze, and A WOLFPACK OF PATIENTS

kamikaze down-

INT. CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

-- fling open a set of double doors marked "Cerebral

Hygiene," shouting: "Vannacutt!" And we see --

INT. CEREBRAL HYGIENE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

-- two people in surgical scrubs: the moustached Doctor

named VANNACUTT and a FEMALE NURSE wielding a 16mm camera. As

the two whip around, startled by the shouts, we see the

object of their ministrations: A PATIENT on a gurney being

filmed as his internal organs are slowly and methodically

extracted -- while still alive.

And then all hell breaks loose as the WOLF PACK descends:

DR. VANNACUTT manages to yank down a LEVER on the wall

labeled "Lockdown" before he's swallowed by the Mob;

From somewhere in the house, we hear heavy gear, cables and

doors loudly shutting down the house.

The NURSE is clubbed to the floor with her own camera. And

amidst all the vengeful shouts and wails, a curious thing

happens:

As one of the Patients picks up the Nurse's blood-spattered

camera and puts it to his eye, the image on screen abruptly

SMASHES TO:

INT. CEREBRAL HYGIENE ROOM - CONTINUED - GRAINY BLACK & WHITE

-- and dead silence -- and we find ourselves watching old

soundless 16mm footage of what happened next: a blur of

scalpels and saws as the Patients viciously vivisect

Vannacutt and Nurse, who've been crammed together on that

same gurney. The B&W CAMERA PUSHES IN TIGHT on Vannacutt's

screaming maw -- and suddenly we hear SOUND AGAIN --

-- but, for some reason, it's not a human cry, but the

CROWING OF A ROOSTER -- and when we PULL BACK OUT we see that

what we're now watching is the Crowing Rooster and four

blazing camera lenses that was the logo of the old PATHE

NEWSREEL. The stentorian VOICE OF PATHE booms OVER:

VOICE OF PATHE:

October 11, 1931: Los Angeles!

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Dick Beebe

Dick Beebe was a writer and actor, known for House on Haunted Hill (1999), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) and Rocky Marciano (1999). He died on June 20, 2008 in New York, USA. more…

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