House of Fright (1961)

89 mins | Horror | 3 May 1961

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HISTORY

The film was originally titled The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. According to a 6 Mar 1960 NYT article, Wolf Mankowitz wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in the summer of 1959. On 29 Jul 1959, DV reported that Jonas Rosenfield, Jr., an advertising executive for Columbia Pictures, recently met with Hammer Film Productions, Ltd.’s James Carreras and Michael Carreras, to discuss The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, one of four active co-productions between Hammer, a British entity, and Columbia. An article in the 17 Aug 1959 DV discussed Columbia’s focus on foreign production activity, noting that overseas productions in the next six months “would equal its domestic output.” Principal photography began three months later in England, on 23 Nov 1959, as stated in a 2 Dec 1959 Var production chart.
       The picture was released by Columbia in Oct 1960 at the London Pavilion in London, England, under the title The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. The 11 Oct 1960 DV review noted it was the sixth film adaptation of Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Two months after the London release, a 14 Dec 1960 Var item indicated the U.S. release would now be handled by American International Pictures (AIP). A 9 May 1961 DV article explained that Columbia Pictures had relinquished the U.S. distribution rights after the Production Code Administration (PCA) had denied a seal to the film, citing inappropriate homosexual subject matter. Subsequently, ... More Less

The film was originally titled The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. According to a 6 Mar 1960 NYT article, Wolf Mankowitz wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in the summer of 1959. On 29 Jul 1959, DV reported that Jonas Rosenfield, Jr., an advertising executive for Columbia Pictures, recently met with Hammer Film Productions, Ltd.’s James Carreras and Michael Carreras, to discuss The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, one of four active co-productions between Hammer, a British entity, and Columbia. An article in the 17 Aug 1959 DV discussed Columbia’s focus on foreign production activity, noting that overseas productions in the next six months “would equal its domestic output.” Principal photography began three months later in England, on 23 Nov 1959, as stated in a 2 Dec 1959 Var production chart.
       The picture was released by Columbia in Oct 1960 at the London Pavilion in London, England, under the title The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. The 11 Oct 1960 DV review noted it was the sixth film adaptation of Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Two months after the London release, a 14 Dec 1960 Var item indicated the U.S. release would now be handled by American International Pictures (AIP). A 9 May 1961 DV article explained that Columbia Pictures had relinquished the U.S. distribution rights after the Production Code Administration (PCA) had denied a seal to the film, citing inappropriate homosexual subject matter. Subsequently, AIP was forced to cut a snake dancing sequence in order to obtain a PCA seal before the film was released, as House of Fright, in early May 1961 in Detroit, MI, and Cincinatti, OH. According to a second review of the picture in the 17 May 1961 DV, AIP had briefly considered re-titling the film Jekyll’s Inferno, but chose House of Fright for “commercial reasons.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Chula Vista Star-News [Chula Vista, CA]
8 Jun 1961
p. 19.
Daily Cinema
7 Oct 1960.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1959
p. 8.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1959.
---
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1959
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
11 Oct 1960
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
9 May 1961
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
17 May 1961
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1961
p. 7.
Lebanon Daily News [Lebanon, PA]
6 Jun 1961
p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1961
Section B, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jun 1961
Section B, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
16 Jun 1961
Section C, p. 12.
New York Times
6 Mar 1960.
---
The Gazette and Daily [York, PA]
1 Jun 1961
p. 19.
Variety
2 Dec 1959
p. 20.
Variety
26 Oct 1960
p. 10.
Variety
14 Dec 1960
p. 3.
Variety
11 Jan 1961
p. 14.
Variety
10 May 1961
p. 3.
Variety
17 May 1961.
---
Variety
21 Jun 1961
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (London, 1886).
SONGS
Selected songs, words and music by Monty Norman and David Heneker.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Jekyll's Inferno
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll
Release Date:
3 May 1961
Premiere Information:
Detroit opening: 3 May 1961
Lebanon, PA, opening: 9 June 1961
San Francisco and Los Angeles openings: week of 14 June 1961
Production Date:
began 23 November 1959
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor, print by Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
MegaScope
Duration(in mins):
89
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with drugs in an attempt to separate the good and evil natures of man. One night he injects himself with his personality-changing serum, and the somber Jekyll is transformed into the debonair Mr. Hyde. He visits the Sphinx, a West End nightclub, where he encounters Jekyll's neglected wife, Kitty, dancing with his close friend, Paul Allen, an inveterate gambler. Though Jekyll tries to submerge the evil nature of Hyde, he cannot prevent himself from plotting Paul's death, and he lures his former friend into the dressing room of Maria, a snake dancer. As the terrified Paul is crushed to death by a python, the bestial Hyde assaults Kitty. Following the rape, the hysterical woman throws herself off the balcony to her death. By now the character of Hyde has taken almost complete possession of Jekyll. After murdering Maria during a moment of passion, he kills a stableboy, places his body in Jekyll's laboratory, and sets it aflame. Hyde identifies the charred body as Jekyll and convinces the police that the doctor was the deranged killer responsible for the recent deaths. At the coroner's inquest, however, the character of Jekyll emerges, and the true facts of the case are finally ... +


In Victorian London, Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with drugs in an attempt to separate the good and evil natures of man. One night he injects himself with his personality-changing serum, and the somber Jekyll is transformed into the debonair Mr. Hyde. He visits the Sphinx, a West End nightclub, where he encounters Jekyll's neglected wife, Kitty, dancing with his close friend, Paul Allen, an inveterate gambler. Though Jekyll tries to submerge the evil nature of Hyde, he cannot prevent himself from plotting Paul's death, and he lures his former friend into the dressing room of Maria, a snake dancer. As the terrified Paul is crushed to death by a python, the bestial Hyde assaults Kitty. Following the rape, the hysterical woman throws herself off the balcony to her death. By now the character of Hyde has taken almost complete possession of Jekyll. After murdering Maria during a moment of passion, he kills a stableboy, places his body in Jekyll's laboratory, and sets it aflame. Hyde identifies the charred body as Jekyll and convinces the police that the doctor was the deranged killer responsible for the recent deaths. At the coroner's inquest, however, the character of Jekyll emerges, and the true facts of the case are finally revealed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.