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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling movie about an evil house
HIll House has been standing empty for almost 90 years. Whipsers of strange phenomena have kept would-be ocupants away for a long time; not even the owners will live their. That is, until Dr. John Markway assembles a small team to invesitgate the supposed supernatural events of the house. He invites Theodora, a psychic who lives a very different lifestyle; Eleanor, a...
Published on June 12 2004 by gac1003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A poor transfer. What a shame.
Without a doubt my favorite ghost story on film. I'd waited years for this film to be released on DVD only to discover upon receipt of the DVD the black and white photography is ruined by a shoddy transfer. The black tones, so important to the feel of this film, shimmer and move in a way that distracts from the amazing photography and potent story. It took them so long to...
Published on March 24 2004


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling movie about an evil house, June 12 2004
By 
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
HIll House has been standing empty for almost 90 years. Whipsers of strange phenomena have kept would-be ocupants away for a long time; not even the owners will live their. That is, until Dr. John Markway assembles a small team to invesitgate the supposed supernatural events of the house. He invites Theodora, a psychic who lives a very different lifestyle; Eleanor, a sheltered young woman who recently lost her canterkaerous mother and has had experienece with poltergeist phenomena; and Luke Sanderson, soon to inherit Hill House and acting as the family's representative. Together, they begin to study the house, it's history and architecture. Or, has the house chosen one of the team for its own purposes?
Horror film director Robert Wise does a magnificent job with this adaptation of the Shirley Jackson novel. Very few visual effects are used, instead relying on lighting (the one scene with the wallpaper in Eleanor's room is eerie), atmosphere, sound and the viewers own fear to create a creepingly chilling film. They make the viewer feel like actors in the movie instead of bystanders. All the actors give fine performances: Clair Bloom as Theo, Russ Tamblyn as Luke, and Richard Johnson as Dr. Markway. But, Julie Harris' performance of Eleanor makes the film. Her almost childlike confusion, fear and determination to stay the course keep you enrapt in the film.
It's very refreshing to see a horror film that doesn't rely so much on expensive special effects to get the chills across, instead using acting, lighting and story to convey terror and fright. This is a classic horror film that still delivers to this day.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the scarest 60's films in the world., June 28 2004
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
Most people see the remake and won't bother with this one, but this film is really truely pure horror unlike the remake, one of the scarest films ever made, it also tells a classic story of a repressed women and a house that makes her lose her mind, the film is so much more than all of that though, it has all the events timed perfectly as it keeps bulding more and more untill the frightning conclution, If you're a true horror fan give this one a shot, you'll love it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best horror movie ever made, Nov. 21 2001
By 
This review is from: Haunting, the (VHS Tape)
"The Haunting" is undoubtedly the best horror film ever made. This is better than anything Hitchcock made, better than anything Hammer made, better than anything else in the genre. "Psycho" looks subaverage and tame compared to this utterly terrifying masterpiece. Parts of this movie will have any sentient lifeform wizzing their proverbial pants and shuddering, spellbound but totally frozen in fear. The character of Eleanor is tragic, sad, and totally believable:the actress gives one of the best performances I've ever seen on the stage or in film. Everything was simply done right with this movie. I would go so far as to say that this movie alone, even though it was made in 1964, is a solid justification for the past and continued existence of horror movies--and there have been far more bad and just objectionable/desensitizing horror movies than substantive and intelligent ones. This surpasses the book, and the book was a classic. One of the most effective, noirish, decadent, fascinating, enigmatic movies ever made.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sustainability, Jan. 31 2008
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
I first watched part of this movie when I was 10 (when it first came on TV). I only got to the part where the woman falls down the stairs then my father had to turn the television channel for fear of my hysterical reaction. For decades I thought the movie was called "Hill House". When I finally saw the movie in total it still held the increasing suspense and mystery that makes it a classic. This movie should NEVER be put into colour and is best seen in a basement with all the lights off.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Grip Of Hill House No One Is Safe, Sept. 6 2003
By 
T. Lobascio (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
The original 1960's version of The Haunting, still manages to run circles around the dopey 1999 remake, even though it had little to no special effects or gore. Indeed, director Robert Wise's take on author Shirley Jackson's novel, remains an all time favorite haunted house film of mine. Rather than flood the viewer's senses with what Wise sees as "scary", he allows our fears and imagination of what might be out there to push the story forward. By the time of the big reveal at the end, so much tension has been built in, that the ending is much more effective and satisfying.
After her mother's recent death-and driven by a total belief in the supernatural, Eleanor Vance (Julie Harris) deciedes to join an expedition to explore Hill House, a New England mansion. She's invited there by anthropologist Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), along with the bohemian exotic Theodora (Claire Bloom), who has extrodinary extra-sensory abilities, and a stuck up playboy Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn) who will inherit Hill House if it is clean of any strange goings on. As you might imagine, strange things start to happen, shortly after the group arrives.
The character's fears (as well as our own) propel the film. The scares in the movie are driven by the mind. Screenwriter Nelson Gidding crafted a fine adaptation, that along with Wise's atmosheric touches, and a fine ensemble, allows for a fun film watching experience.
Happily the DVD has a great audio commentary with Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn, director Robert Wise, and screenwriter Nelson Gidding. Each of whom, offer some fine stories about the making of the film and bring a unique perspective to the track. For someone who has been around awhile as a director, Wise still exhibits wit, wisdom, and class, that infects the others as well. The DVD also includes an interactive essay entitled, "Things That Go Bump in the Night", a still gallery, and a vintage theatrical trailer.
Shot in black and white, The Haunting, comes highly recommended. Watching this version will help one to forget the mistakes of director Jan De Bont's needless remake
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I go home before it gets dark................., March 24 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
My only complaint about The Haunting is that I can't seem to stay awake to watch it when I'm tired or sleepy. Otherwise, it is the very finest ghost story you will ever see. I personally prefer Shirley Jackson's excellent book The Haunting Of Hill House to either film version, as it goes into much more detail. The remake isn't at all as bad as the critics say and has some new twists to offer in the story. But, the original still stands as the definitive ghost story. It takes quite awhile for the story to really get going and there is a lot of talk and very little action for most of the film's running time. But, there is at least one scene that will leave you wondering as you lie in your bed in a dark room if you are really alone. Who could ever forget Mrs. Dudley's creepy and sinister little smile when she says "There won't be anyone to help if you call out in the night". Brrrrr.......... Just turn down the lights, get someone you trust to hold onto and make sure you are wide awake when you watch it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch Your Step In Here, It's Dark, Feb. 24 2004
By 
Robert E. Rodden II (Peoria, IL. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
Man, what can I say that hasn't already been said. This was a great horror experience. And this is truly the only version on film that represents Shirley Jackson's original novel. It is a dark and frightening place these unsuspecting people step into, and it only gets worse.
Hill House is haunted, and a parapsychologist (Richard Johnson) chooses three other "researchers" to help him investigate what exactly is going on in this house. However, none of them are prepared for what will unfold.
The cast is superb, with Julie Harris playing a vulnerable "runaway" adult trying to gain respect and freedom for herself. Richard Johnson is the brave, level-headed researcher, hoping to find proof of life-after-death. Claire Bloom, sexy and unpredictable, plays the self-reliant psychic with a secret of her own. Russ Tamblyn as the synic turned believer. And watch for a surprising appearance of Louise Maxwell, Bond's Miss Moneypenny.
The film is a black-and-white masterpiece of gathering darkness and horror. Robert Wise fought Warner Brothers to keep the movie in black-and-white at a time when all major studios were insisting on color. The DVD presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio. The camera work here is tricky and masterful, catching you with odd angles and directions that cause a vague, and growing sense of angst, very much like the narrative in Shirley Jackson frightening novel. The sound quality is excellent. And the extras on this DVD are exceptional, with a full-length commentary including Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding.
Turn out the lights kids, it's the only way to meet this thing; in the dark.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wise choice for the Occult!, Jan. 15 2004
By 
inheritor (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
Call it horror or a supernatural thriller, "The Haunting" (1963) ruled out the pitfalls that made others of the genre seem pretentious. On first sight you are treated to a mansion set in an evil aura with baroque décor and looming statues. Doctor Markway (Richard Johnson) presides over the investigation, supplying us with an excellent catalog of phenomena to fuel our apprehension. Eleanor Lance (Julie Harris) is the hysterical spinster whose emotional fears become bound with ours. Then there is the wild soundtrack. Humphrey Searle composed a creepy score with a strong arrangement of brass and strings, creating an abstract and crazy effect to attack the senses. A perfect plot, script, narrative and good casting builds the horror through the viewer's own imagination. The best example of a movie to triumph over gore, intense violence and CGI. More evidence that "black and white" is not an obsolete format but an underused film technique. Robert Wise is a versatile director who showed a genuine skill in fright. You will not find "The Haunting" in any shallow top ten list with other famous horror films. You will find it taking refuge in your personal list of what you fear. A movie with a formula to survive repeated viewing and perpetual quality on DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You May Not Believe in Ghosts, but You Cannot Deny Terror", Dec 2 2003
By 
Michael R Gates (Nampa, ID United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
Anthropologist Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) satisfies his interest in ghosts and the paranormal by investigating Hill House, a strange piece of New England architecture that is reputed to be haunted by all manner of ghosts and demons. To assist him in his investigation and observations, he has enlisted the aid of three young volunteers: Eleanor (Julie Harris), a gaunt spinster who spent most of her youth caring for her invalid mother; Theodora (Claire Bloom), a brash young woman who tacitly implies that she is lesbian; and the skeptical Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn), heir to Hill House who hopes that proof of its haunting might increase its market value. Eleanor and Theodora were chosen because of their propensity for psychic experiences; Luke is there, of course, because he owns the place.
Once sequestered inside Hill House, the group does experience many terrifying and unsettling phenomena. But most of the preternatural events seem to be directed specifically at Eleanor, and when she starts to appear as if she's becoming emotionally unhinged, the others begin to wonder if Eleanor might be behind the fearful phenomena....
Robert Wise's 1963 version of THE HAUNTING is probably one of the most interesting haunted-house stories on film. Based on author Shirley Jackson's renowned 1959 novel THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, director Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding stay fairly loyal to the novel in creating real thrills and chills without showing any gore--or actual ghosts! Instead, the filmmakers tell the story of a young woman who may or may not be losing her grip on sanity, and by placing her in an unsettling environment, they then use sound and suggestion to let the real terror develop in the viewer's imagination.
The acting is very good, especially Julie Harris' depiction of a woman moving slowly out of touch with reality. And it's always a delight to ogle the beautiful dark-haired Claire Bloom. Robert Wise's direction is superb--which is to be expected from a man who worked closely with Orson Welles in editing Welles' masterpiece CITIZEN KANE (1941)--and his early experience as a sound editor works to the film's advantage as Wise shows the seemingly mundane while the sound FX are scaring the audience's pants off.
Excuse the platitude, but they just don't make 'em like this anymore. Once movies like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) let the genie of graphic violence out of the proverbial bottle, there was no going back. But movies like 1963's THE HAUNTING still stand as proof that you don't need gore to have the wits scared out of you, and any true fan of horror and spooky movies should enjoy watching this classic.
The DVD offers a fairly clean and crisp digital transfer of this beautiful black-and-white film. Included in the disc's bonuses is an interesting feature commentary by director Wise, screenwriter Gidding, and the principal actors (though it is obvious that they were not in the same room together when their comments were recorded). All in all, this DVD version of THE HAUNTING is a very nice piece to add to the collection of any serious horror fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audio Commentary for The Haunting (orig.), Nov. 1 2003
This review is from: The Haunting (DVD)
I bought this release yesterday in a 'Scary Halloween Movies' issue here in Holland. The first thing that struck me was to read about an audio commentary, which supposedly included much of the original cast but without Richard Johnson (playing Dr Markway). The poor man must either have past away, or declined to cooperate in this project I thought. How wrong could I (or the (Dutch) person(s) responsible for the text on the packaging) be?
Richard Johnson's voice suddenly appeared with the introduction of his character, sounding very much alive indeed! Much to my amusement he filled most of the audio commentary track. His contribution was probably the best, with interesting details about stage acting vs film acting, old films (better than?) new films, and his 'nearly being Bond' comment (triggered by the appearance of Lois Maxwell in the film). He was the only one to make a (very funny) reference to the 1999 disaster remake. Anyway, the announced commentary by Claire Bloom and Julie Harris turned out to be short bits, that gave me the impression they were cut-and-past work from some pre-recorded obscure interview in comparison.
By the way, Russ Tamblyn's 'real' ghostly encounter was interesing and appropriate for this hair raising picture from an era which lacked cheesy computer effects.
I intend to show this film (luckily I saw it on the BBC several years or so before the remake) to my friends, who will just have to admit that this still stands as the one and only 'Haunting'. As someone else here already said, this is the best haunted house movie around, due to it's subtile terror, a great cast and atmosphere (only the original Amityville comes close).
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