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The Haunting of Hell House

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The Haunting of Hell House
Directed byMitch Marcus
Written byMitch Marcus
Lev L. Spiro
Based onThe Ghostly Rental
by Henry James
Produced byRoger Corman
StarringMichael York
Andrew Bowen
Claudia Christian
Aideen O'Donnell
CinematographyRuss Brandt
Edited byDaniel H. Holland
Music byIvan Koutikov
Distributed byNew Concorde
Release date
  • November 16, 1999 (1999-11-16)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Haunting of Hell House is a 1999 American horror film directed by Mitch Marcus and based on "The Ghostly Rental" by Henry James. It was also known as Henry James’ the Ghostly Rental. The film stars Michael York, Andrew Bowen and Jason Cottle.


James Farrow (Andrew Bowen) is a young student who discovers his girlfriend is pregnant and in a panic, pressures her and forces her to an illegal abortion. However, James' lover dies during the abortion due to the negligence of the abortionist and he is left in a pit of grief and guilt. He begins seeing demonic, ghostly visions of his deceased girlfriend and begins to visit the house where they had first met. Unable to live in the state any longer, James requests the help and advice of Professor Ambrose, an eerie man whose life has been shattered by multiple tragedies and unfortunate events in his family. Professor Ambrose is also tormented by visions of his deceased daughter in the haunted house where spirits are restless and vengeful.


  • Michael York as Professor Ambrose
  • Andrew Bowen as James Farrow
  • Jason Cottle as Fletcher
  • Claudia Christian as Lucy
  • Aideen O'Donell as Sarah
  • Brian Glanney as Jenkins
  • Ciaran Davies as Graham
  • Colm O'Maonlai as Reginald
  • Mike Finn as Lieutenant Ryan
  • Mitch Marcus as Professor Benest


In March 1998 the Merlin Film Fund issued a memo to investors seeking to raise more than E£1 million to make the film, then called The Ghostly Rental. The investment would be supported by loans from National Irish Bank and Ernst & Young would act as tax consultants on behalf of investors. To put in a maximum of IR£25,000 (E31,750) an investor was only required to pay IR£7,600 and the remainder would come from bank loans, which would then be repaid when the movie was produced. An individual could then write off 80% of the IR£25,000 against tax, leaving IR£9,600 repayable by the Irish tax authorities. After the initial investment of IR£7,600 this guaranteed a profit of IR£2,000.[1]

The Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands granted the section 481 certificate for The Ghostly Rental subject to strict guidelines. These included the stipulations that Irish crew would fill 19 senior positions among the 82 staff involved and that the company must produce audited accounts confirming "the direct expenditure on the employment of Irish personnel and on the purchase of Irish goods and services to be some IR£ 1,121,068".[1]

The film was shot in Ireland at Roger Corman's studio in Galway and went straight to video.[2]

Irish tax authorities later sent demands to more than 1,000 investors claiming that Merlin Films Group failed to provide sufficient proof that the funds it raised for the production of various movies in Ireland were spent in concurrence with the regulations governing the tax breaks.[1]


Brendan Kelly of Variety wrote that "it's not quite the campy fun it could've been."[3]


  1. ^ a b c Merlin's horror movie: [Final 1 Edition] Dalby, Douglas. Sunday Times; London (UK) [London (UK)]09 Oct 2005: 5.
  2. ^ ATTACK OF THE LOW-BUDGET HORROR FILMS: [All Editions: Four Star B, Three Star B, Two Star P, One Star B] DOUG NYE, Special from Knight Ridder Newspapers. The Record 29 Oct 1999: Y01.
  3. ^ Kelly, Brendan (1999-08-30). "Review: 'Henry James' the Ghostly Rental'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-02-20.

Further reading

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The Haunting of Hell House
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