The Haunting (1963)

The Haunting (the original and not the heavy cgi, special effects laden version of the late 90s) is classic horror.

It walks the line between psychological thriller, focusing mainly on poor Eleanor (Julie Harris), a sheltered woman who had no life of her own, but was confined to help her bed-ridden mother up until her death.

She’s invited to join a Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson), who is using her and a couple of other guests to explore the supernatural at Hill House, where no one has been able to spend a large amount of time, because, apparently, the dead do not rest there.

Unlike the remake, this film relies more on subtlety, lighting, and camera-work. If you settle in and watch, it’s actually a very good film.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise when you realize the director is Robert Wise. For those people who don’t know a lot about film’s directors, let me list off some titles you may be familiar with…

The Desert Rats, Run Silent Run Deep, West Side Story, The Sound Of Music, The Andromeda Strain, and two of my favorites the original The Day The Earth Stood Still and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The man could direct any genre and make it work.

I do like his take on Shirley Jackson’s novel, and he shows that you don’t have to have a lot of effects to make a spooky tale, you just need a good story, and an equally good director.

The 60s were a fascinating time for film, and I’m looking forward to working my way through the decade in my 101 Horror Movies, I know I have a lot of classic titles coming up, some I’ll be revisiting and some I’ll be looking at for the first time.


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