''The Cat and the Canary'' is a stage play by John Willard from 1922 that was highly influential in the HauntedHouse horror genre.

Its plot concerns the inheritance of Cyrus West, an eccentric old man with much contempt towards his relatives and who decreed that his will is to be read in his mansion twenty years after his death, at midnight with all his living relatives present.

Twenty years later, on a dark and stormy night, six of his relatives arrive at the mansion to hear out the will. The old family lawyer opens the envelope containing the will and it is written that Cyrus' fortune goes to his most distant relative with the surname of West, who happens to be Annabelle. Only OnOneCondition though; she must be deemed sane, as Cyrus felt that his relatives were insane like he was during his last days. If she fails to fulfill this condition, the fortune goes to Cyrus' second most distant relative, named in another letter.

This is a start for one very long night, as an AxCrazy mental patient who slashes at his victims like a cat is stalking the West mansion grounds, and Annabelle's sanity is put into question after the lawyer suddenly vanishes.

The play has been adapted into several movies, notable ones being the 1927 silent film (which was one of the earliest Franchise/UniversalHorror movies), 1930 sound remake of the latter titled ''The Cat Creeps'' and its Spanish version ''La Voluntad del Muerto'' (both are now unfortunately lost), the 1939 version starring Creator/BobHope, and a British version in 1979 with Creator/OliviaHussey.

!!The play features:
* ClosedCircle: Nobody is allowed to leave the house -- supposedly.
* CreepyHousekeeper: Mammy Pleasant.
%%* CutPhoneLines
* {{Fainting}}: Annabelle, twice -- first after being molested by the hand, the second time after discovering the corpse.
%%* FangsAreEvil
%%* ForDoomTheBellTolls
* HisNameIs: When Crosby attempts to tell Annabelle the name of the other possible inheritor, he is dragged inside the BookcasePassage.
%%* HandOfDeath
* TheNounAndTheNoun
%%* OldDarkHouse
* OnOneCondition: Cyrus's heir must keep her sanity.
%%* PeekABooCorpse
* TheShrink: Doctor Patterson arrives at the house to examine Annabelle.
%%* TitleDrop
* WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: That's when the will is read.

!!The 1927 film features:

* AccidentalPervert: Paul when he in a state of panic (he thought he saw a ghost) hides under the bed in the room of aunt Susan and her daughter Cecilly and catches glimpses of them undressing.
* AllInTheEyes: Used on Paul when Susan finds him under her bed.
* BigOlUnibrow: Sported by the character creditd as Guard.
* ColorWash: One version has different colour schemes for certain moods: Lighted indoor scenes are sepia tone, moments in the dark are dark blue and the horror moments are red.
* FemmeFatalons: In a fake-out, a clawed hand reaching across a couch is revealed not to belong to the monster.
%%* HostileWeather
%%* MadEye
* MadnessMontage: Shown in the opening where Cyrus literally sees cats descending as if he was a canary.
* NerdGlasses: Paul, signifying his cowardice up to a point.
* RuleOfSymbolism: Cyrus West sees his relatives as "[[TitleDrop cats circling around the canary]]".
%%* SayMyName
* SecretPath: The house is filled with secret stashes and paths.
* SymbolSwearing: Susan's swearing when she sees that it was Paul under her bed.
* TookALevelInBadass: When Paul finds himself confronted by he killer, he removes [[TheGlassesComeOff his glasses]] and shit goes down.

!!Other versions feature:

* TheBigEasy: 1939 film.
* VideoWills: In the 1979 version.