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The Haunting

USA 1963
produced by
Robert Wise for Argyle Enterprises/MGM
directed by Robert Wise
starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Ray Compton, Rosalie Crutchley, Lois Maxwell, Valentine Dyall, Diane Clare, Ronald Adam, Howard Lang, Janet Mansell, Freda Knorr, Pamela Buckley, Amy Dalby, Rosemary Dorken, Paul Maxwell, Verina Greenlaw, Claude Jones, Susan Richard
screenplay by Nelson Gidding, based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, music by Humphrey Searle, special effects by Tom Howard

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Professor Markway (Richard Johnson) is professionally investigating parapsychological phenomena, and now he has found a house that is supposed to be genuinely haunted ... so he gathers a small group of specialists - Eleanor (Julie Harris) who is said to have seen a real poltergeist, medium Theodora (Claire Bloom) and young Luke (Russ Tamblyn), the future owner of the house, who acts as a sort of watchdog - to find out more about the haunting of Hill House. At first though it seems the house is just built to give people a good little scare by being constructed in a non-rectangular fashion - which keeps people disoriented - and slightly off-center so the doors seem to be closing all by themselves.

It's only in the first night that things start to go bump and scare everybody out of their minds, especially Eleanor - but it is also Eleanor who totally insists on staying in the house ... because what the others didn't know, Eleanor is emotionally unhinged since the death of her mother (for which she blames herself), has no home (she lives at her sister's) and no job, and for her this whole investigation thing is the first time she is doing anything with her life ...

Instead of unlocking the parapsychological mysteries of Hill House, Professor Markway is slowly exploring the psyche of Eleanor, and Eleanor soon develops a crush on him, mainly because he's the first person who shows an interest in her - apart from Theodora, but her interest is more of a sexual nature, which repulses Eleanor.

Then Markway's wife Grace (Lois Maxwell) arrives and insists to stay, and since she is not at all into her hubby's supernatural stuff, she chooses the nursery - considered the most haunted room of Hill House - as her abode.

Upon learning that Markway is married, Eleanor becomes even more unhinged and now thinks the house itself wants her, which makes her act more and more irrational, even risking her life a few times, before Markway realizes everything is too much for her and he sends her home. But even when she drives away she has no intention to leave for home, until she, trying to evade Grace, who suddenly stumbles onto the street, hits a tree with her car and dies instantly.

Hill House has claimed another victim, while its secret still remains unlocked.

 

A textbook example of a haunted house-thriller: The Haunting uses next to no special effects (apart from a scene that shows a door breathing) to scare its viewers, instead intelligently uses sound, camera angles and camera lenses to make its horror come across - and does so remarkably well. Add to that an intelligent screenplay that juxtaposes inner turmoil and outer terror and a decent ensemble cast where nobody tries to outshine the others, and you have got one classic horror flick.

Strongly recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD