“House of Horrors” (1946) was directed by Jean Yarbrough, who also directed “The Devil Bat” (1940, with Bela Lugosi for PRC), “Here Come the Co-Eds” (1945, with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello for Universal), “She-Wolf of London” (1946, with June Lockhart and Don Porter for Universal) and the Abbott & Costello super-Cinecolor feature, “Jack and the Beanstalk” (1952, for Warner Bros.).
Who was in “House of Horrors” (1946)?
The players who appeared in “House of Horrors” (1946) were Rondo Hatton (as the “Creeper”), Virginia Grey (as Joan Medford), Robert Lowery (as Steven Morrow), Virginia Christine (as the Lady of the Streets), Bill Goodwin (as Police Lt. Larry Brooks), Alan Napier (as F. Holmes Harmon), Howard Freeman (as Hal Ormiston), Martin Kosleck (as Marcel De Lange) and Joan Shawlee (as Stella McNally, Shawlee was credited as “Joan Fulton” in the film).
Before “House of Horrors,” Rondo Hatton played another “Creeper” role in Universal’s “Sherlock Holmes” entry with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, “The Pearl of Death” (1944, directed by Roy William Neill). Hatton’s earlier “Creeper” role was known as the “Hoxton Creeper,” according to the American Film Institute’s database.
Virginia Grey previously appeared in the third installment of MGM’s “Thin Man” series with William Powell, Myrna Loy and Asta, “Another Thin Man” (1936). She also appeared in “Jungle Jim” (1948) with Johnny Weissmuller, which was the first feature in Columbia’s “Jungle Jim” franchise series.
Virginia Christine played the role of Princess Ananka in Universal’s “The Mummy’s Curse” (1944, with Lon Chaney Jr.). She later played the role of “Mrs. Olson” in Folgers coffee commercials throughout the 1960s.
Alan Napier previously appeared in Lewis Allen’s Paramount screen adaptation of Dorothy Macardle‘s “The Uninvited” (1944, with Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey). Napier later played the role of the High Priest Elinu in Virgil Vogel’s Universal sci-fi creature feature, “The Mole People” (1956, with John Agar, Cynthia Patrick and Hugh Beaumont). Napier went onto greater fame as butler Alfred Pennyworth in the hit live-action TV rendition of “Batman” (1966-68, w/ Adam West and Burt Ward).
Original working title for “House of Horrors” (1946)
According to AFI’s database article on “House of Horrors” (1946), the original working title for Yarbrough’s film was “Murder Mansion.”
Universal’s planned “Creeper” series and Rondo Hatton’s death
Universal officials wanted to make several more “Creeper” features with Rondo Hatton, according to Jeff Stafford’s article for Turner Classic Movies. The plans were scrapped after Hatton died of a heart attack related due to his medical condition of acromegaly on Feb. 2, 1946; before the general release of “House of Horrors.”
Shortly before his death, Hatton completed his final reprisal of the “Creeper” role in “The Brute Man” (also released 1946); which was also directed by Yarbrough. Universal decided to sell the distribution rights of “The Brute Man” to competing studio Producers Releasing Corporation (a.k.a. PRC).
The “Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards:” Named in honor of Hatton
David Colton and Kerry Gammill’s fan-based “Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards” were named in honor of Rondo Hatton in 2002. According to the official Rondo Awards site, the miniature award bust of Hatton was modeled after the bust of Hatton’s characterization of his “Creeper” character in “House of Horrors” (1946). Svengoolie and many icons of horror have won numerous Rondo statuettes throughout the years, according to an official Me-TV article on Sven’s recent Rondo award win!
Be sure to watch (or record) Svengoolie’s upcoming showcase of “House of Horrors” (1946), this Sat. on Me-TV!
Don’t miss out on Svengoolie’s upcoming showcase of “House of Horrors” (1946), this Sat. on the Me-TV airlanes! With Sven, Doug Graves, Kerwyn and an ensemble cast featuring Rondo Hatton, Virginia Grey, Robert Lowrey, Virginia Christine, Alan Napier, Bill Goodwin, Howard Freeman, Martin Kosleck and Joan Shawley/Joan Fulton, you will not be disappointed! Highly recommended to all fellow SvenPals and fellow aficionados of classic Universal thrillers!
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3/Cable 196/Fios 489/Antietam Cable 194 (also on QAM digital 68.6 for Antietam cable subscribers)
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2/Cable 208
In the Hanover/Gettysburg/York, Pennsylvania area: WGAL-TV 8.2/Cable 248
Live-tweet during #Svengoolie’s big Sat. telecast of “House of Horrors” (1946) this Sat. with all fellow coast-to-coast SvenPals (via Twitter)!
Watch or record Alan Napier as butler Alfred Pennyworth in the 1966-68 “Batman” TV series, with two back-to-back episodes right after Sven on most Me-TV stations, Sat. evenings at 10 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Central
NOTE: Beginning on Sat., Sept. 8, “Batman” will no longer be seen on Me-TV, as Irwin Allen’s “Lost in Space” series (1965-68) will move into the 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT time slot (according to Me-TV’s re-vamped schedule lineup, which will begin on Labor Day, Mon., Sept. 3). The 1966-68 “Batman” series can be found on Me-TV’s sister channel, “Heroes and Icons” (check local listings for channel availability/time).
In relation to Rondo Hatton:
A regional connection to Rondo Hatton! Rondo Hatton (born in 1894) grew up in the Hagerstown, Maryland area during the earliest years of his life! The town of Hagerstown is not too far from the home office/home area of “Silver Screen Reflections!” Read Julie E. Greene’s Oct. 2008 Herald-Mail article on the legendary Rondo Hatton, his films and his early days in Hagerstown! -C.H.
The “Mystery Science Theater 3000” version (with Mike Nelson) of Rondo Hatton’s final “Creeper” film, “The Brute Man” (1946) is available to watch for free on Shout! Factory’s streaming platform, Shout! Factory TV!
In relation to “House of Horrors” (1946):