“….Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.” – The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
In general, the haunted house genre features homes infiltrated by ghosts, poltergeists, demons, et al. The Haunting, a movie based on Shirley Jackson’s exquisitely written novel, is unique in that it concerns a dwelling which in and of itself is bad.
Hill House, an old Victorian mansion somewhere in New England, has been the scene of several ghastly deaths since its inception. A professor of psychic phenomenon and three clairvoyants stay overnight in the house to find out why. They get more than they bargain for. One of them will not survive the experience.
Pluses: All of the performances, especially that of Julie Harris, are fine. Davis Boultons’ cinematography makes Hill House the central character in this picture. Unlike modern horror cinema, all of the scares in this movie are implied, not explicit. You don’t get to see one ghost or one drop of blood.
Minus: I honestly can’t think of any. If you have never seen this movie, please do so. Just remember: Don’t watch it by yourself.
Cast: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn
Director: Robert Wise
Black and White
This film will be shown on Turner Classic Movies on October 31, 2016, 6pm. You can also find it on amazon.com Prime or Instant Video.