Wednesday, December 11, 2013

412. The Haunting

The Haunting
Directed by Robert Wise

Yay! A horror film!

I want to start by saying that this film did not scare me even a little bit.  The writer for this entry of The Book advised not watching it alone.  I am sorry, SJS, but you kind of sound like a wimp.  Although I suppose we all have films that scare the living daylights out of us but other people are completely immune to (this is particularly embarrassing when everyone leaves a friend's house to go to the cars after watching The Blair Witch Project but you won't leave the house without an armed escort).

However, I think a horror film can still be enjoyable even if it is not scary.  This film kind of follows the usual formula that we have now for found footage films, although, of course, this movie invented the cliche.  Dr. Markway wants to investigate the haunted Hill House and brings a lesbian psychic, the heir to the house, and, for some reason, a girl who looks like she would wet herself if she talked to a stranger.  Strange stuff goes down and Meek McGaspy begins to lose her shit.

We have had quite a few films that hail from Dullsville lately so I was really grateful to watch such an entertaining movie that had great pacing.  Now, the acting wasn't great; the exception being Russ Tamblyn, who I love.  But I still think it is worth a watch for anyone who loves horror films.  If you don't, better skip it.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Remade in 1999 with Catherine Zeta Jones, Owen Wilson, and Liam Nesson.  Yikes.

Robert Wise has said that this film is a tribute to his mentor Val Lewton.



  1. OK I may be a wimp but I am a little scared watching the trailer. I may watch it as my once-a-year scary movie. You intrigued me with your review.

  2. I've mentioned before that the genre 'Horror films' is one it can be difficult to own up to enjoying - It is so varied.. Worse, the general perception of them is dominated by just one type - the slash n' gore type. Just have a look on the shelves of a video shop (I'm showing my age here aren't I).. OK, just type 'Horror films' into the Amazon or Ebay search and see what you get.90% I'd hate to be seen even perusing the shelf/page..
    But this is one I'm happy to own up to liking and even owning.
    OK, I have to say it is a little dated in style.. parts are decidedly overplayed, and I agree Amanda, some of the acting is not the most natural.. but, hey, so what. It is great bit of Gothic OTT horror, and I relish it for that.
    As for it's 'scare factor'...Well I am not easily scared by films - I tend to 'know' it's a film too easily.. but this gave some chill moments.

    1. Hi Ray, good to see you back!

      I definitely agree with you though I think now we are moving away from slash and gore films and turning to found footage and supernatural films. And 5% of them are actually quite good.

      Yeah gothic horror is a hard genre to take seriously but I really enjoyed those kinds of books. I don't think it translates as well on screen though.

  3. I think it worked quite well, though that may be down to me being an old fart...
    It has this old gothic feel as if it was made in the forties by Lewton and it fits it quite well. Only problem really is that the characters seem to have secrets that are never properly explored. There is potential for a lot more here.

  4. Da-da da-da da, da da da-da,
    Da-da da-da da, da da da.
    Scooooby, Scooby-dooby Doo,
    Scooooby, Scoody-dooby Doo!!

    I shouldn't laugh, this was superior fare

    I tell you, what else I liked: the fact that is was from another era. If this had been made in the 21st century then I'm pretty sure I could have worked out the ending by the second reel. Not that they have reels in this digital century, but you know what I mean. But because it came from another time, and maybe just because I'm not familiar enough with the cliches of yesteryear, all bets were off and I really couldn't be sure what the conclusion would turn out to be.