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Horror Blogs > Blog > Movie of the Day - 1/16/2007 Blog - By TheCabinet RSS

Movie of the Day - 1/16/2007
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The Haunting

Those that followed this site back in the day know that this horror film has a special place in my heart.  Back then, I put the spotlight on The Haunting and wrote an analysis of the courting of the main character by the good doctor, the psychic and the house itself.  I also wrote another article about the effect past-RKO producer Val Lewton had on director Robert Wise and ultimately the film itself.  You see, The Haunting is one of my favorite horror films of all time and one of the greatest examples of what psychological horror is and how powerful it can be.

Since then, Wise has unfortunately passed away and The Haunting was given the remake treatment and frankly treated not that good.  The original was directed by Sound of Music/West Side Story director, Robert Wise.  The remake was directed by Twister director Jan De Bont.  Excellent work there Dreamworks.  I can see why these Hollywood folks had to band together to make their own studio to escape the traps of Hollywood studio filmmaking, because this movie was so different than the nonsense you would expect from modern-day Universal.  Oh wait.  It was pretty much the same.  Everything, and I mean everything, that made the first film good was completely abandoned and replaced with CGI in-your-face nonsense.  Subtlety people!  The book/movie was all about subtlety!  Is it any surprise that the remake bombed, despite boasting a cast of Lili Taylor, Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liam Neeson?

Enough harping on an ill conceived and executed remake (aren't most of them?) or I'll start lashing out at the surge of pointless, heartless remakes that have deluded the market as of late.  Back to the ORIGINAL 1963 movie called The Haunting.  If you haven't seen it or (worse) watched the remake first, you owe it to yourself to see this film.  This is what I call a true timeless classic that is sure to give you a nasty case of the chills if you watch horror for more than the blood and guts.

The Haunting is based off the equally impressive novel, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (she of The Lottery notoriety).  It involves a group of unusual types that are summoned to a house, named Hill House, with a nasty past and reputation for being haunted.  A driven psychologist is fascinated with the paranormal and wants to get some answers for himself and, even better, the scientific community.  As he puts it, “The paranormal isn't something that is supposed to happen, but it does happen” setting the tone for the film and giving Rob Zombie a good sample for a song years later.

The main protagonist is a frail woman who has spent most of her adult life tending to her sick mother and not really living herself.  She is chosen because she had  a strange episode as a child where stones rained down on her house for days.  No explanation was ever given, but that little flirt with the paranormal makes her attractive to the team lead.  Also joining her is a psychic and a cocky kid who is in line to inherit the house someday.  Together, they hope to come up with some answers about who or what haunts Hill House.

The Haunting is as subtle as subtle will get or maybe I should say psychological as psychological will get.  I have a laserdisc copy of the film that has a rating of 'G' by the evil overlords of American cinema known as the MPAA.  I have a feeling that the rating has probably since been bumped back up for a PG rating for DVD, but still...  That ought to tell you something.  While the laserdisc rating seems a little strange, since the movie really does have some intense stuff, there isn't much to warrant a more restrictive rating.  I hesitate to say too much if you haven't seen it and for those that have should know exactly what I am talking about.  The Haunting is very subtle.  It also happens to be one of my favorite horror films of all time and one that I do not hesitate to recommend.
Filed under: Movies, Movie of the Day January 16, 2007, 3:02 pm | Permalink | 0 Comments
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