Hillbillys in a Haunted House – USA, 1967

‘They’ll scare your pants off… and give you a chill for life!’

Hillbillys in a Haunted House is a 1967 American comedy horror musical film directed by Jean Yarbrough (The Brute Man; King of the Zombies; The Devil Bat; et al) from a screenplay by Duke Yelton. It was produced by Bernard Woolner (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman).

The film is a sequel to The Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966), with Joi Lansing replacing Mamie Van Doren in the role of “Boots Malone”.

Country singers are headed to Nashville. Their car breaks down and they stop overnight at an abandoned house. A ring of international spies (Lon Chaney, Jr., Basil Rathbone and John Carradine) who live in the house are seeking a top-secret formula for rocket fuel.

While it is never revealed for whom they are spying, they carry out their activities under the cover of a supposed haunted house, which comes complete with a gorilla in the basement…

Reviews:

“So there are a few reasons to watch this turkey: (1) if you’re a classic horror buff and want to see these icons one more time (2) if you’re a Country & Western fan and are willing to sit through the bulk of this nonsense to get to the music (3) if you’re into the pneumatic Monroe/Mansfield/Van Doren wannabe Joi Lansing . If you’re not in any one of those three categories, steer clear.” Gary Loggins, Cracked Rear Viewer

“The good news is that the three horror icons, Carradine, Rathbone and Chaney Jr., have a few decent scenes (Carradine, at his absolute hammiest, is especially entertaining), as does George Barrows in his monkey suit […] To be fair, Hillbillys in a Haunted House isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation would lead you to believe…” 2,500 Movies Challenge

“The film rarely concerns itself with the haunted house aspect – certainly, Jean Yarbrough, a director famous for his poverty row career, fails to establish any atmosphere. There is the minor appearance of a ghost and a lurking ape, one of the staples of the Old Dark House genre, but mostly the film seems to centre more around spy capers, which were then in fad thanks to the success of the James Bond films.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Sure it ain’t Citizen Kane by a longshot, but the combination of Ferlin Husky’s cockeyed charisma, Joi Lansing’s blouse-busting pulchritude, cobwebbed skeletons and rubber bats, sub-vaudeville skits and a pretty decent gorilla suit is oddly appealing. And dang it all if the toe-tappin’ country tunes ain’t too shabby.” Andrew Pragasam, The Spinning Image

With the exception of the performances of Basil Rathbone and John Carradine, Hillbillys in a Haunted House appears to have been cast with amateurs. Ferlin Husky sings well, but can’t act. Unless you love country music, you’ll probably hear way too much of it in this film. Just about everyone except Basil sings a pitiful song.” Marcia Jessen, BasilRathbone.net

“It’s pretty awful, but just how excruciating it is may well depend on two factors: 1) your tolerance for country music, and 2) the degree of your affection for the familiar faces of John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., and Basil Rathbone.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

The rest of the pressbook is on Zombo’s Closet

Cast and characters:

  • Ferlin Husky as Woody Wetherby
  • Joi Lansing as Boots Malone
  • Don Bowman as Jeepers
  • John Carradine as Dr. Himmil
  • Lon Chaney Jr. as Maximillian
  • Linda Ho as Madame Wong
  • Basil Rathbone as Gregor
  • Molly Bee as herself
  • Merle Haggard as himself
  • Sonny James as himself
  • Jim Kent as himself
  • Marcella Wright as herself
  • Richard Webb as Agent Jim Meadows
  • Larry Barton as Hillbilly
  • George Barrows as Anatole the gorilla
  • Pat Patterson as Hillbilly
  • Allen Jung as Janitor
  • Jay Jasin as Television Announcer
  • Marshall Wright as Hillbilly
  • Virginia Ann Lee as Agent Ming Toy

Wikipedia | IMDb | Image credits: The Dwrayger Dungeon

 



Categories: 1960s, comedy horror, haunting

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