The Haunting (1963)

haunting

A scientist arranges to spend a weekend in an allegedly haunted house with two assistants and its playboy heir, to try and scientifically substantiate supernatural phenomena.

The Haunting is another horror classic from the golden age that shows that CGI may very possibly have been the death of the genre. This film is all about atmosphere and the tension is palpable; the characters in particular are all well drawn and interesting, particularly Julie Harris as the psychologically damaged assistant who begins to unravel as the air of menace increases. In fact this film is more of a psychological chiller than a horror, it reminding me more of Hitchcock’s Rebecca than anything else. But the star of the show is definitely the house. It’s a brilliant location with just the right level of Gothic foreboding, brought to life with some beautiful black and white photography and wonderfully artful direction. I felt it needed another character somewhere between the pretentious prof and vacuous playboy to balance the group dynamic, and teenage Saw/Rob Zombie fans will probably find it a total yawn-fest.

But anyone who enjoys a cerebral and atmospheric chillerĀ need look no further.

6.5/10

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