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The Haunting

Where to Watch The Haunting


The Haunting, a 1963 horror cinema classic, is a striking and suspenseful exploration of the supernatural. This British psychological horror film is directed by Robert Wise, starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Russ Tamblyn. It's an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's 1959 horror novel The Haunting of Hill House. The story is told without the explicit violence or gore that most modern audiences associate with the genre, relying on eerie ambiance, the power of suggestion, and the viewers' imagination to create a sense of fear and dread.

The film revolves around the enigmatic and menacing Hill House, an imposing Gothic mansion with a dark history located in a location that is never specified but is between many hills. The house is reputed to be cursed or haunted due to its history of tragic events and deaths. In trying to unravel the mysteries of the house, Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson), an anthropologist with an interest in paranormal activity, gathers a team of individuals who had previously experienced paranormal events.

The team includes Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris), an introverted, psychologically fragile woman who is chosen because of her history with poltergeist-like incidents. She's depicted as the most sensitive to the house's mysterious energies, and her grip on reality progressively unravels as the house appears to exploit her loneliness, isolation, and suggestibility.

Also invited is Theodora (Claire Bloom), a chic bohemian suggested to be a psychic—who's also implied to be a lesbian in a forward-thinking portrayal for a film from the era. Her character often provides a sardonic comic relief in the chilling narrative. The final character rounding up the primary characters is the young and skeptical Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn), the heir to Hill House, whose character serves as the voice of skepticism against the supernatural occurrences.

Both the setting and the characters are developed skillfully, bringing the movie to life. Hill House itself is as much a character as it is a place, the intricate and sometimes dizzying set design heightening the atmosphere of dread. Knockings, whispers, and shadows are expertly utilised to devastating effect, allowing the Hill House to embody its haunting presence.

The Haunting utilises both visual and audio cues masterfully to create a sense of fear and lurking danger in the film. Filmed in black and white, director Robert Wise's use of Panavision anamorphic format, along with the stunning cinematography, create a gripping, atmospheric, uncanny experience. A great deal of the story is visually told, through dutch angles, mirror reflections and innovative set designs. Its genuinely creepy set pieces, combined with a brooding score by Humphrey Searle, capable of sending chills down the spine, create an unmistakably mysterious atmosphere that contributes substantially to its iconic status.

Julie Harris' phenomenal performance as the anxious and introverted Eleanor is unforgettable, as she walks the fine line between sanity and madness, making the audience question the line between the supernatural and the psychological. Her nuanced performance, combined with the rest of the principle cast's outstanding portrayals, truly brings the chilling narrative to life.

Despite being released in the early 1960s, The Haunting holds an enduring cult status for its exceptional demonstration of psychological horror. It's a masterpiece of subtlety and suspense, using psychodrama and suggestion instead of explicit monster horror to create an atmosphere of true terror. Its theme revolves around the psychological implications of fear, vulnerability, manipulation, and isolation.

To summarize, The Haunting elegantly blends elements of horror with soaring suspense, creating an experience that leaves much to the imagination. It's a cinematic treat for enthusiasts of psychological horror who favor suspense over gore. Its storyline, performances, and direction, combined with the chilling atmosphere, renders it one of the classics among ghost films.

The Haunting is a Horror movie released in 1963. It has a runtime of 112 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 74.

How to Watch The Haunting

Where can I stream The Haunting movie online? The Haunting is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Tubi TV, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Haunting for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Robert Wise
Julie Harris, Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn
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