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Film / House of Ghosts

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House of Ghosts is the seventh film by Christopher R. Mihm and the seventh film in the Mihmiverse Shared Universe.

Created specifically as an homage to the films of William Castle (particiularly House on Haunted Hill (1959)), the film centers upon a group of rich weirdos in Phantom Lake, Wisconsin, who are attending a dinner party on the night of a severe snowstorm.

The host and hostess hire a medium to act as the evening's entertainment, promising to open a portal to the great beyond. But what had seemed an interesting diversion becomes all too real. Soon the ghosts of the past are haunting the guests, as dark secrets are revealed and it seems uncertain who may survive the night without dying of fright.

Like many of Castle's movies, this movie is based around a Fourth-Wall breaking gimmick. Those who attend a live-screening will be presented with a Fear Shield they can hold before their face to prevent them from having the soul sucked out of their bodies by the vengeful spirits awoken by the scariest parts of the movie. Those who don't have a Fear Shield can use a box of candy or popcorn container instead.


This film provides examples of:

  • Agent Scully: Harlan. He refuses to give any credence to the idea of mediums or ghosts.
  • The Alcoholic: Mary
    • Most of the cast, honestly.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Harlan. In keeping with The '50s aesthetic of the film, there are a few hints dropped about the man who runs a women's clothing boutique who takes a young, innocent man (i.e. Ray) into his home and loves showtunes.
    • To a lesser degree, Ray, whom Harlan says was kicked out of his parents' home for unspecified reasons, though they were apparently quite religious.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Leigh running down the list of everything that his gone wrong. Her husband and butler are missing, one of her best friends has died and her party was ruined by a phony occultist! And then her dog goes missing, which seems to worry her more than anything else.
  • Author Avatar: Arthur is a director of horror movies, like Christopher R. Mihm.
  • Bedlam House: Mary apparently had her mother committed to one. She apparently heard voices that told her not to eat and she thought that her daughter was poisoning her food.
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  • Berserk Button: Leigh's dog. Her husband and butler can disappear. Her party can be ruined. One of her closest friends can die. But she doesn't lose it until she realizes her dog is also missing.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Ursula, who has been in her own little world since the strange death of her son.
    • She's strangely fixated on the idea of a magician who does tricks with cats. Or a cat juggler.
  • Creator Cameo: Christopher R. Mihm appears at the start of the film, in the grand tradition of William Castle, to warn people of how dangerous this movie could be and to instruct them in the use of their Fear Shield.
  • Credits Gag: No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture. In fact, the dogs were better taken care of than the cast!
  • Cut Phone Lines: Naturally, this happens so they can't call for help after the first death.
  • Dem Bones: Mary is attacked by a skeletal vision of her mother, who starved to death in an insane asylum after Mary committed her.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Harlan wears one.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Isaac and Leigh.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The movie centers around a seemingly haunted house.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The audience is advised to use their Fear Shields to protect them from the effects of the movie.
  • Fright Deathtrap: The House becomes this after the seance.
    • In a neat twist on the usual Staircase Tumble, Leigh dies after falling through the open space at the center of the stairwell, trying to grab her dog as it is being carried around by a ghost.
  • General Ripper: General Castle.
  • Gold Digger: Mary.
  • Haunted House: Obviously, given the title.
  • Homage: To the gimmick-driven films of William Castle in general and House on Haunted Hill (1959) in specific.
    • The relationship between Mary and Arthur is based on Annabelle and Loren.
  • Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: The Medium's device for opening the pathway to The Spirit World.
  • Mister Muffykins: Leigh's lap dog.
  • Old, Dark House
  • The Place: House of Ghosts.
  • Prima Donna Director: Arthur apparently was one back when he still made pictures.
    • He still wears a beret to parties so people know he is a director.
  • Rich Bitch: Leigh.
  • Rise of the Talkies: Apparently Arthur's career as a silent horror movie director died when "Talkies' came along.
  • Self-Deprecation: Christopher R. Mihm does this to himself in the script. At one point, Arthur mocks Mary as the last movie she appeared in was "The Monster of... something, something" and the fact that she was paid in burgers and beer. Christopher R. Mihm's first movie was The Monster of Phantom Lake and the cast and crew were largely made up of friends whom were paid in much the same manner as friends helping another friend move.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
    • In his introduction, Christopher R. Mihm says that he would like "if I may, to take you on a strange journey..." He also makes reference to the characters of House of Ghosts being "rich weirdos."
    • Some of the music is taken from Eegah!.
    • Ray covers his head with a towel, theorizing that if he can't see the monster he thinks is haunting him, it won't be able to see him. This is a reference to the recommended method for dealing with the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • General Castle's name is likely a tribute to William Castle.
  • Snowed-In: How everyone becomes trapped in the house.
  • Spirit World: The Medium seems to make contact with it.
  • Subliminal Advertising: Much like the classic William Castle horror movies, single frames of scary words are inserted into the movie just before the scary scenes start.
  • The Tease: Mary. She flirts with other men shamelessly in front of her husband, Arthur.
  • Technobabble: The language The Medium uses to describe the machine he uses to open the gateway between worlds.'
  • Those Two Guys: Harlan and Ray. (a.k.a. The Old Guy And The Tall Guy.)
  • Trophy Wife: Mary. She's the daughter of one of the actresses Arthur used to work with quite often. She outright admits she only married Arthur for his money and he only seems to care about her being arm candy he can show off.
  • Twist Ending: It turns out The Medium was a scientist testing a device that was meant to make people hallucinate as a precursor to making them more susceptible to Mind Control, but the government altered the device to turn it into a weapon that frightened people to death. The party was meant to be the first test on human subjects, with Isaac being in on the test and having been given an antidote to resist the machine's lethal effects.
  • The 'Verse
    • Deputy Hayes is married to a woman named Bertha. She just gave birth to a son, whom was named Glen, after Deputy Hayes' father. The younger Glen Hayes appears in Attack of the Moon Zombies.
    • Ursula Kaiser is the mother of Michael "Lobo" Kaiser - the soldier who became the first of the titular monsters in The Monster of Phantom Lake. It is revealed that everyone in Phantom Lake knows he is dead, but the exact reasons why are classified.
    • General Castle will go on to appear in The Giant Spider and Demon with the Atomic Brain.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: Arthur is swarmed by spiders - the animal he is most afraid of - in the basement.
  • World of Ham: The entire cast is going up to 11 and it is glorious.

Example of: