The Haunting (1963)

Sorry it’s been a while, I planned to have a whole daily series of Halloween movie reviews, but my past two weeks have been swamped with college stuff. Dumb college messing with Halloween!

The Haunting (1963)
 Dir. Robert Wise
 Writ. Nelson Gidding, Shirley Jackson
 Stars: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson
 112 mins.
 IMDB Rating: 7.7

As you all know, I’m not a horror kinda girl. However, this one looked good, it was rated G so it couldn’t be THAT scary, even for the old-version of a G rating, so me and my friend Amber decided to watch it together.

…. holy CRAP that was SCARY!

Beyond scary, this movie was actually really amazing! I love the 60’s style of a prologue intro. It’s so good for setting the scene. Generally, these days, NOBODY would think of opening with a voice-over prologue, but it works! Also, the internal monologue (well, okay, it’s actually more like dialogue with two sides of herself, but whatever) of Eleanor is so good. I love that look into the character’s head. It makes it more creepy because you now EXACTLY how twisted this woman’s mental state is.

The best part of this movie is the way it was SHOT! Not only was the mise-en-scene just INCREDIBLE, all the lighting, the props, the sets, EVERYTHING, but the SHOT COMPOSITION! That was EXQUISITE! There is a lot of use with reflection work. There’s a reflection of Eleanor in the floor in one bit, then there’s a whole shot where the camera is on Lucas and John but there is a large mirror behind them that shows Eleanor and Theo’s faces and expressions in reaction to what’s being said.

Theo threw me, honestly. I was not expecting such a blatantly lesbian character in a movie from 1963. The things she said to Nel and the way she looked at her, it was all so openly and obviously flirting. It was a little distracting because I kept going ‘oh wait, lesbian moment!’ but that’s my fault, not the movie.

As I said earlier, this movie was REALLY scary. I understand that the rating is G because there’s no blood, no violence, no cursing really, no guns, just casual drinking, ect. However, the first truly terrifying scene is when Nel runs into Theo’s room because of the banging and it’s coming closer and closer and then it starts scraping on the door and then THE DOOR KNOB STARTS TURNING and it’s already a terrifying doorknob with a face and stuff, and JESUS CHRIST! I’m glad my lights weren’t out and I could hear other people awake in the rest of the house, because that was REALLY scary, okay?! I’m pretty sure if it was re-rated today, it would be PG-13 on ‘scary sequences’ alone, because G is like ‘7 year old kid ready’ and no 7 year old kid could watch that movie without pissing their pants.

All in all, that movie was REALLY FREAKING INCREDIBLE! So good! Everybody watch it if you haven’t already!

My Rating: 9/10

About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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