Do you happen to be in the market for a mansion in the Hollywood hills that was designed by a famous architect, was often seen in films, is unoccupied (except for maybe a few ghosts), and you’ve got an eight-figure budget to play with? Then I have just the place for you.
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
Kimi and I watched a marathon of great old Vincent Price movies the other night, including the original House on Haunted Hill from 1959. The plot involves an eccentric millionaire and his wife, who invite five people to a “haunted house” party, promising each of them $10,000 if they remain in the house until dawn.
The main actors in the film are Price, Richard Long, and Elisha Cook, Jr., but the real star is the house itself. It got me to wondering where the exterior shots were taken. Mr. Google revealed that it was the Ennis House in Hollywood, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was time for a road trip.
We wound our way through the Hollywood hills near Griffith Park towards the hulking edifice at 2655 Glendower Avenue. We rounded a corner and there it was. The house, which was built in the 1920s and was influenced by FLW’s interest in pre-Columbian art, hovers over east Hollywood like a Mayan spaceship. The exterior is surfaced with 16-inch interlocking cement blocks that were cast on site using local materials to make the house fit more smoothly into the color scheme of the surrounding hills.
The house was used as a film location as early as 1933, and in addition to Haunted Hill, it has been seen in Blade Runner (1982), and the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
It was heavily damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and a non-profit organization named The Ennis House Foundation poured millions of dollars into its reconstruction. A year ago the foundation put the house up for sale with an asking price of $15 million.
Incidentally, if an eccentric millionaire just happens to invite you to a “haunted house” party and offers you a princely sum if you are willing to stay the night … you may just want to opt out and enjoy a quiet evening at home.