''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:
* BookcasePassage: The lawyer is last seen alive standing in front of a bookcase with a hidden passage behind. His Peek-A-Boo Corpse appears in a different hidden passage behind Annabelle's bed.
* 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: An ominous bell tolls, and the caretaker says it means someone will die.
* HisNameIs: When Crosby attempts to tell Annabelle the name of the other possible inheritor, he is dragged inside the BookcasePassage.
* HandOfDeath: Multiple times, a hand comes out of a hidden passage to strangle someone or attempt to strangle someone.
* TheNounAndTheNoun
* OldDarkHouse: Possibly the TropeCodifier for the old, spooky house with hidden passages where creepy things take place.
* OnOneCondition: Cyrus's heir must keep her sanity.
* PeekABooCorpse: Crosby's corpse mysteriously disappears.
* ScoobyDooHoax: The "Cat" ends up being one of the heirs, whose purpose was to drive the girl given the fortune insane so that he (the next heir in line) could inherit it.
* 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 credited as Guard.
* ColorWash: One version has different color 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.

!!The 1939 version features:

* TheBigEasy: Or rather, the swamps of Louisiana not far from the Big Easy.
* DramaticUnmask: The villain is identified when Wally dramatically rips his mask off.
* FaceFramedInShadow: A very arty shot of a beam of light illuminating only the bad guy's eyes.
* {{Fanservice}}: No other reason for a shot showing Paulette Goddard in a slip changing clothes.
* InadvertentEntranceCue: Wally (Bob Hope) is an actor. He remarks that their setting resembles some plays he's been in. He predicts that a woman will show up, saying "In every one of these plays, there was a young lady--young, beautiful, modern, charming." Joyce (Paulette Goddard) enters immediately after he says this.
* InstantDeathBullet: Instant Death Knife, as Hendricks the security guard keels over after one stab in the back.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: Larry keeps comparing the events of the film to his plays, calling out the story beats as they happen. At the end of the first act of the movie, he says "You know how it is in a play, when just before the first act is over somebody always comes to the beautiful heroine and tells her that she's in great danger, and sometimes she is?
* PortraitPaintingPeephole: There's one in the library, which the bad guy uses to watch Joyce.
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Wally and Joyce were childhood friends but he doesn't recognize her. When he finds out, he says "Say, when did you grow up and get pretty?"

!!The 1979 version features:

* VideoWills: Technology!