The Haunting (1963)

G   |    |  Horror


The Haunting (1963) Poster

Hill House has stood for about 90 years and appears haunted: its inhabitants have always met strange, tragic ends. Now Dr. John Markway has assembled a team of people who he thinks will prove whether or not the house is haunted.


7.5/10
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  • Claire Bloom in The Haunting (1963)
  • Julie Harris and Richard Johnson in The Haunting (1963)
  • Richard Johnson and Lois Maxwell in The Haunting (1963)
  • Claire Bloom and Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963)
  • Julie Harris in The Haunting (1963)
  • Russ Tamblyn in The Haunting (1963)

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User Reviews


15 April 1999 | Ross-23
Will keep you on the edge of your seat for 2 hours!
Seeing 'The Haunting' in the horror section, rated G, was the first surprise this movie offered. Even though the rating may seem tame, the film offers a lot more than many of the trashy 80's and 90's horror movies which always seem to make it into video stores and hang around like a bed smell. This small gem of a movie may not stand out on the shelf and probably wouldn't appeal to many horror fans scouring the shelves for the latest gore flick, but if their eyes were to look past these to 'The Haunting,' they would be in for a pleasant surprise. This film is what a supernatural story should be - forgoing the usual barrage of special effects and buckets of blood, and relying on excellent cinematography to achieve the scares. The black and white combined with unique camera angles give Hill House an eerie, almost mystical appearance. Even though some of the acting may be a little corny at times (amid some superb acting, it must be said), the film manages to build tension steadily without ever showing the 'ghost,' therefore leaving you on the edge of your seat throughout. The main character (Elenor Lance) does unfortunately grate on the nerves after a while, being an overly neurotic and paranoid character, but otherwise the cast acts creditably well...even though the house steals the show! If you want a movie that gets your heart racing, turn down the lights and pump up the sound. Hill House will have you on the edge of your seat and keep you there for almost 2 hours. I only hope the remake this year does this superb film justice.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Johnson later said he received invaluable film acting advice from Robert Wise. Wise told him to keep his eyes steady, to blink less, and to try not to time his acting (Wise said he would take care of that in the editing room). Johnson also credited Wise with helping him to craft a much more natural acting performance.


Quotes

Dr. John Markway: An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever ...


Goofs

Mrs. Dudley says she sets out dinner at 6 p.m. and leaves soon afterward, when it begins to get dark. Another scene establishes the date as being August 21. Most of the northeastern US observed Daylight Savings Time through late October even before the Uniform Time Act of 1966; nevertheless, sunset in Boston that time of year is around 5:50 p.m. and could not be more than a few minutes later anywhere in New England. Mrs. Dudley might leave right after serving dinner, but it would already be twilight, and quite dark in such a heavily forested area.


Alternate Versions

The original cut of movie (shown 24/9/03 at Filmhouse, Edinburgh) has several differences from the general release print -

  • Alternate opening with voice-over by the Mrs. Sanderson character in place of the Markway monologue. The titles prior to this scene are slightly different. The 'History of Hill house' scene continues into the meeting with Mrs Sanderson and Markway but in this version, it is Sanderson who is doing most of talking.
  • The following scene from the general release print of Markway listing his subjects on a blackboard is missing. In its place is a scene where Theo throws her lover out her apartment and, next to a photo of her lover, writes "I Hate You!" on a mirror in lipstick, looks at her reflection and mutters "I hate you too...". She then receives her invitation from Markway. This is delivered to her by her landlady, who requires the excess postage to be paid. Theo already knows this is to be paid and there is humorous exchange concerning her ESP or her 'gift.'
  • There are several extended scenes involving Eleanor's 'inner thoughts' - most of which tie into her thoughts on her possible relationship with Markway. The scene showing her traveling to Hill house is extended with more 'inner monologue' material including a couple of shots of her turning onto 'Route 238' and commenting on "Journey's end in lovers meeting...".
  • The Morning/Harp scene runs longer and contains more dialogue from both Eleanor and Markway. This print had a title card prior to the MGM logo - "This print is on loan from the National Film and Television Archive."

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