The Haunting Film Details
Overview: 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.
Tagline: You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror
Review: The supernatural sub-genre has always been appealing and scary because of its enigmatic nature that to this day we still don’t have a full grasp on and understanding. This subgenre is based on that fear of the unknown, the truths that are invisible to the naked eye and yet exist all the same as air, but also how what we don’t understand or have a full comprehension of could possibly turn against us. This is one of my favorite horror films in the supernatural subgenre, there have been a few in the past but it’s really in the films execution that makes it timeless and to this day still one of the best. This was based on a story by Sherley Jackson which is cool since she’s one of my favorite horror authors and she was also one of the first female ones of her kind which is cool. What made her stories good was that it dealt with both supernatural and psychological horror which really do fit together since both ghosts and the demons haunting the human psyche are most of the time felt but not seen or touched. I really love the cinematography; the film is shot in black and white but that to me makes it all the more better it sort of adds to the nightmarish quality of the film. I really like the mansion set piece which looks beautiful but at the same time foreboding as there is a bit of a gothic quality to both the interior and exterior. The use of the shadows from the interior to the exterior of the house as well as some cinematography of the house, all that helps to make the house a character. It a very imposing and menacing house sometimes whenever a light or two is on in the window it feels almost like an evil eye is watching you. I really like the interior designs of the house, some of them may have been a partial inspiration for some of the interiors of the mansion from the video game “Resident Evil.” The ensemble for this film is memorable as they all are unique and has different personas. Two characters I really like that are my favorites are Luke played by Russ Tamblyn his character is a bit of a sceptic of the group but he’s not a stereotypical one as we do see from things happening his mind slowly but surely opens up as there are a few things that are unaccountable. But he’s also a guy that seems like someone that is loose and wants to have fun, he’s actually got a few really good lines, one that’s my favorite in one scene where he gets spooked along with myself when he says “my feeling is telling me to get the hell out of here” his feeling is correct. Theo played well by Claire Bloom, I’ll admit I had a bit of a crush on this actress, really like how she fit well in that black cat like get up she was wearing just sizzles sexiness with the persona to boot. Really like how she has this spunk and feistiness about her, but I really emphasize with her as she’s a person that beats to a different drummer. From her empathic abilities she isn’t afraid to embrace certain emotions she holds and be herself, but also perceive certain things no one else can see. The suspense is great, it’s true it’s a slow burn but like with most of these slow burners you get use to the pace, and as the film goes on and for most of these supernatural films I feel it works to its benefit. There are even moments in the film that can really catch you off guard, where for a while things are calm and peaceful and then the next minute something happens which I honestly didn’t expect it really hit me like a ton of bricks and I like that. Like that balcony scene which made me jump and was another that gave me a cold chill. This film has lots of memorable moments that actually gave me genuine chills. From a simple scene where we suddenly see the doors to the Nursery Room are just open, that gave me an arctic chill because I know the doors were perfectly locked there was no way in or out, I remember thinking, “Alright, I know I didn’t open them and neither did any of the group.” And of course, that scene in the bedroom, that turned my blood to ice as we see the aftermath once the lights are turned on. However, I think what really made the film scary is its enigma. The whole mystery surrounding Hill House to this day has no explanations, you guess is as good as mine. I really like that it’s enigmatic it really ads to its menace making the house an unpredictable force of evil. But also, this is a film where as you watch it again you sometimes are able to uncover more but also draw your own analysis/conclusions. I have really only three possibilities I drew up, One the previous owner Crane possibly dabbled in black magic, may ‘be summoned some demons and didn’t put them back. One scene we see some really bizarre books in the library scene which are nursery/fable books aimed for kids. But the content of them is very disturbing let alone I hardly consider it children’s literature as each of the pages contain forms of sadistic consequences and abuse for every supposed bad thing they do. But also, the pictures are of demons and devils tormenting mortals. This made me wonder if Crane could have been part of some cult as these aren’t the kind of books you find at a “Barnes and Noble”. Another is on Elenore being a reincarnate of Crane’s daughter Abigail Crane. Throughout the film you do see some uncanny parallels of both the history of the house and Abigail but also Elinore’s life also which in a way set up eerie foreshadowing. As we discover Abigail did suffer from abuse from her father just as Elenore suffered abuse from her mother, and also, we see how both the death of Abby and Elenore’s mother are similar. Could these things somehow be the reason the demons of the house are targeting Elenore for history to repeat itself. Though the other is Elenore herself, throughout the film there is this interesting character study on Elenore whom is the one protagonist that is from beginning to end having the hardest time of all. She’s a person that clearly suffers deep depression that is taking its toll on her. She also suffers denial which has made her repress certain truths mainly about herself but worst of all not dealing with her personal trauma from the abuse she suffered from her ailing mother, which built more and more like mildew. Elenore is never truly secure and has little freedom from the time she was taking care of her mother to even afterward, has no place to really call home, no real family, but worst of all no life of her own which sucks. But we hear that Elenore has psychic power as she told a little story about her past on exercising telekinesis. I can’t help but think Elenore may ‘be more powerful than she thinks but doesn’t realize it, somehow the energy of the house has triggered it and made it work subconsciously. I’m thinking with these powers either she either inadvertently has summoned the demons in that house and their preying on her anxieties, or she has somehow made all her psychological demons manifest and is inadvertently making most to everything in that house happen. Like that message on the wall for her, could actually be message she made in her mind for her need for a home to call her own but also a sense of a family waiting for her to come home. I don’t know like I said before I’ll let you draw your own analysis/conclusions. Overall if your into the supernatural subgenre of horror this is a vintage classic worth entering if you dare. Rating: 4 stars
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 112 min
Also known as: La casa encantada,Будинок з привидами,The Haunting,La caa embrujada,Yö kauhujen talossa,La mansión embrujada,A Casa Maldita,O stoiheiomenos pyrgos,Gli invasati,Spøgeriet på Hill House,La mansión de los espectros,Bis das Blut gefriert,La mansión encantada,Tatari,Опседнутост,たたり（1963）,Nawiedzony dom,La casa embrujada,邪屋,La maison du diable,En natt i fasornas hus,A ház hideg szíve,Until the Blood Freezes,Логово Дьявола,The Haunting of Hill House,Det spøker på Hill House,Det spökar på Hill House,Vor Schreck gebannt,Desafio do Além,Поседнуће,Ο στοιχειωμένος πύργος