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The Haunting
The Haunting
Actors: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Fay Compton
Director: Robert Wise
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
G     2003     1hr 52min

A group is introduced to the supernatural through a 90-year old New England haunted house. Be prepared for hair-raising results in this classic horror film!


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Movie Details

Actors: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Fay Compton
Director: Robert Wise
Creators: Davis Boulton, Robert Wise, Ernest Walter, Denis Johnson, Nelson Gidding, Shirley Jackson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/05/2003
Original Release Date: 09/18/1963
Theatrical Release Date: 09/18/1963
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English, French, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Charles W. from WEST PITTSTON, PA
Reviewed on 4/17/2010...
Very Boring, didn't finish watching it.
2 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
Aimee S. (Ariadnae) from SCOTTOWN, OH
Reviewed on 6/29/2008...
I simply love this movie. First, it holds closely To Shirley Jackson's story. The characters are finely drawn, especially Eleanor and I love how we are allowed to hear her inner thoughts. We never see the ghosts haunting Hill House, but they are frightening none the less. Watching Eleanor's slow destruction is an exercise in how horror films should be made. Watch this film!
5 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The story has, by now, been imitated endlessly. Four people on a haunted house just to study it. But this is just the premisse.The great Robert Wise sets up the most perfect, most classic haunted-house film ever made. The screenplay is built on the principle that you don't have to see it (the gore, the blood, etc.) to feel the fear. So, this is one of those great films where the tension is constructed upon the things you hear... the things you know are there.In the pre-CGI era, you really had to create something out of what you had. So, Mr. Wise had a great script (years ahead of its time), great characters, great actors, a great cameraman, and settings that are a wow!This is what makes this film so much better than any other (not to mention its remake - who clearly goes for the predictable cheap-trick CGI effects).The story is told in the most perfect classic form. From beginning to end, you follow the story in the most careful pace. Beat by beat. From the prologue to the conclusion, the story is peerlessly told.The characters and actors are great to watch: Julie Harris is the perfect troubled woman haunted by inner ghosts, while Theodora (the beautiful Claire Bloom) is the perfect icy clairvoyant who may or may not be a lesbian (everything is constructed with such taste...). Richard Johnson is great as the Doctor who must keep control of the experiment. Russ Tamblyn is also great as the non-believer who's in just for the adventure. As we will discover, all of them have weak points the house will explore. So it is possible to say that this is one film where the set (in this case the house itself) is one character just like the others.The house has personality. It's not that unbelievable-monumental-lifeless-overdone-cathedral we see in the remake. This one is more realistic. We all know (and are fascinated by) houses like this one. It has style, visual integrity, proportion and it also puts into the film a nice touch of claustrophobia. As long as the characters are there, they are at its mercy. This "house character" is always present. Trying to get in. Banging at the walls and doors, trying to make itself graphically visible through the shots......This is where we get to the camera work - certainly one of the best ever made. In a house so rich with character, the distorted wide-angle lenses (let's not forget that Wise worked with Orson Welles) add much to the final effect. Corridors, statues and other objects are always there to remind you the house is present. They actually keep surprising the characters as if they were saying "we are here". This is why this film is so much superior than its sequel: you don't have to see the statues move... for you know they do when you are not there. In fact, this film constructs a state where you know the things that happen when you don't see them happen. That's pure film magic.I wonder why nobody does films like this any more. Why do they always go now for the CGI obviousness...I just love the wide-angle lens that smoothly move through the rooms... the time we are allowed to see those beautiful sets. and all the uncontrolled fear that invades the characters. The soundtrack is another great element. The film is constructed in an almost silence (which is very confortable at the beginning). So much that the noises made by the hauntings are almost unbearable when the things get rough.This is one of those films that were meant to be seen ONLY in widescreen, for the compositions inside the shots make great use of it (in fact I never saw it in a Pan&Scan version - I cannot imagine how awfull it must be). This DVD edition has a great commentary audio track by the actors and director but lacks any kind of documentary about how it was made (which I'd love to see). But we can't have it all... If (like me), you love the genre, you will love this film, which is a one-of-a-kind effectively constructed cinematic work. Just don't watch it alone... in the dark... in the night..."
A chilling, sinister, sophisticated things that go bump
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 05/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is not often I love a book and go on to enjoy the Movie adaptation. To Kill a Mockingbird, comes to mind. But this is the case with the marvellous movie The Haunting. Since I adore spooky, sinister tales, I treasured Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. And forget the silly, inane remake, this is the Mount Everest of Haunted House movies, only rivalled by The Legend of Hell House made nearly a decade later with Clive Revill, Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowell and the Innocents with Deborah Kerr and Pamela Franklin. These three would make a super triple-feature of Houses with Things that go Bump, since all three deal not only with the supernatural, the complexities of the mind, but the force of the will lingering after death.The Haunting is a rather faithful adaptation of Jackson's dark and spooky novel. The key word being spooky - not gory. If you are looking for buckets of blood, search on. This is a sophisticated movie that chills rather than shocks. Staring the gorgeous Richard Johnson as Dr. John Markway, a man determined to prove ghosts do exist. And since he believes he will find them at Hill House, he arranges with the current owner to rent the house to carry out his research - though part of the pact is he must accept her grandson Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblin) to keep an eye on things.Markway invites a wide range of people to come and take part, people with a past that showed their lives were brushed by the paranormal. However, only two come: Theodora, a clairvoyant with vague lesbian hints played by Claire Bloom, and Eleanor Lance brought to aching life by the brilliant Julie Harris.Eleanor is a timid woman, browbeaten her whole life. She spent her youth tending her ailing mother and is now forced to live with her sister and her family. They are quick to take her money for rent, but show her little respect. In her one act of rebellion in her whole life, she accepts the invitation from Markway. When she arrives at Hill House, no one is there except a cranky gatekeeper and his equally cranky wife, who inform her they leave when it gets dark and there won't be anyone to help her.Eleanor gets spooked, but finds Theodora, a chic, smart woman with a biting sense of humour. Despite the women being total opposites, they instantly like each other and set about to explore the dark, brooding and nearly suffocating house. Just as they are about to panic, they stumble into the dining room where Markway is. He performs introductions, and takes them on a tour, while giving the strange history of the house. Seems despite the house's ancient feel it is not that old. Hugh Crane built it for his first wife. However, she never saw the house, being killed as the carriage crashed into a tree on the way to occupy it. We learn Hugh was an overbearing, macho, zealot who tormented his daughter with devils and Hell rather than nursery rhymes. The second Mrs. Crane met an equally strange death in the house, leaving it to go to Hugh daughter, Abigail. She grows old and dies in the room that was her nursery, tended by a nurse/companion. Since there was no family, the nurse inherited the house. However, her enjoyment is short lived, as she later hangs herself from the ceiling in the library. Since then, no one has been able to live in the house.It is not long before all sorts of sinister and chilling todos begin plaguing the women, especially Eleanor, for it seems the House has targeted her, even to a mysterious "welcome home, Eleanor" scrawled across the wall. Eleanor begins to remake her
image into the person she would like to be in her heart. She starts to have romantic illusions about Markway, only to have them shattered when his strong willed wife ( Lois Maxwell, Moneypenny from the Connery Bond films!!) shows up demanding he stop this nonsense about ghosts. The movie is quite believable, walks the thin line in the Henry James' Turn of the Screw style story, of how much is real and how much is within the mind. The acting is faultless with the four leads turning in understated, yet oh so perfect performances. In Black and White, I could not imagine this movie in the brilliant washes of colour needed for colour filming. The dark lensing of The Haunting lets those shadows rule and give it threatening, disturbing feel that sets the tone for the movie.So turn out the lights and enjoy one of the best haunted house film, and if you are lucky enough have that triple feature with The Innocents and The Legend of Hell House! A great way to spend a rainy Saturday night!"
Do houses have souls? This one does - Robert Wise shows us h
Mannie Liscum | Columbia, MO United States | 10/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you want your horror spoon-fed to you and all your scares have to be sight gags (as has become common place in recent horror flicks), this is definitely NOT the movie for you. "The Haunting" is great cinema. Filmed in B/W - which does great things to the mood of the movie - and almost entirely without obvious scares. The Haunting's ability to deliver goose bumps comes from the expert visual flair delivered by Robert Wise, as well as solid ensemble acting. Wise was a critically acclaimed and accomplished director (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Run Silent Run Deep & West Side Story) when he made The Haunting, and directoral abilities come through loud and clear. This movie never fails to give me the shivers when I watch it.

Wise's film (Nelson Gidding's screenplay - Gidding also scripted Wise's The Andromeda Strain & The Hindenburg) is based on the the book "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson. The Haunting (the movie) remains faithful to the basic story set forth in Jackson's book. However, like most movies, The Haunting, is not a direct translation of the text to film. The first third or so of the book is quite well represented. However, it would seem for pacing reasons that Gidding constricted the "action" of the middle portion of the book, and for simplicity of character's condensed two characters from the last third of the book (the wife of Dr. Montague [book]/Dr. Markway [film] & her friend Arthur) into one (Markway's wife). The latter change results in a different final act of the movie as compared to the book and leads to the only "overt" scare of the film (which is not present in the book). Otherwise, I believe Wise has brought to screen a creepy rendition of Jackson's book, at least equal in its ability to scare as this classic piece of literature.

The 90's remake of The Haunting is utter garage in comparison. No mood at all, everything is feed to the viewer not by spoon but intravenously. Where Wise assumed that moviegoers would have a brain and enjoy using it, the makers of the 90's version of The Haunting felt we all wanted to be plugged into the "Matrix" and have no personal experience. If you like a thinking persons horror/suspense movie try Wise's materpiece. If you want blood, guts and everything obvious go see a Saw movie.

The Haunting - great cinema, 5 stars!"