Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Terrifying Tuesdays: The Haunting (1963)

"The Haunting(1963) is a classic example the psychological horror film.  Often considered one of the best of the genre, this film is scary without ever actually showing or even acknowledging the existence of the supernatural.  In the movie, Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) gets permission from the owner to investigate Hill House, an eerie mansion with a ghostly reputation, for paranormal activities.  Markway is convinced that the house is haunted and invites known psychics to assist him in proving his belief.  Only two women, Eleanor (Julie Harris) and Theodora (Claire Bloom), accept his offer.  A fourth person, Luke (Russ Tamblyn), the nephew of the current owner, also accompanies the group.  Once they arrive at Hill House, a series of terrifying events occur, mostly centered on Eleanor, who is fearful of and yet drawn to the sinister place.  The longer she stays, the more convinced Eleanor becomes that she belongs in this house, resisting efforts by the rest of the team to get her away.  Even though nothing supernatural is ever actually shown, the film does an excellent job of getting the viewer to feel the terror experienced by the group through atmosphere -- the spooky look of the mansion, the frightening sounds, and most of all the reactions of the characters to their surroundings all lead to the conclusion that this residence does indeed deserve its reputation for being haunted.  This film is a must-see for anyone who is a fan of scary movies.

Interesting Fact:  Dr. Markway's wife is portrayed by Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny in  the first fourteen James Bond films.

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0

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