Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Haunting, Friday at Page Hall


The Haunting

(UK/US, 1963, 112 min., b/w)
7:30 p.m. Page Hall, UAlbany downtown campus, 135 Western Ave., Albany
Listed first in a list of the “11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time” by director Martin Scorsese in the Daily Beast, October 28, 2009
Ranked #13 of the “25 Best Horror Films of All Time” by the critics of The Guardian (UK), October 22, 2010
Steven Spielberg regards The Haunting as one of the “seminal films” of his youth and reportedly told director Robert Wise that it was “the scariest film ever made.” – Judy Sloane in Film Review, June 1995
Between his phenomenally sunny musical successes West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), director Robert Wise found time to make this brooding, low-key shocker, based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. The material seemed to free up Wise’s baser talents:  The off-kilter, black-and-white photography goes a long way in intensifying the production’s minimal special effects, and the actors uniformly overplay their parts, giving the film a streamlined momentum it might have lacked otherwise. Though the story’s lesbian subtext was toned down for the film, the sleek Claire Bloom injects some much-needed sexual tension into the proceedings; the film is less about the group’s battle against poltergeists than about the inner struggle between the virginal Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris) and her conflicting desires. Jackson’s story would be adapted for the screen again, in 1999’s sub-par The Haunting. Michael Hastings,  All Movie Guide