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on 17 April 2009
I defy anyone to watch this film alone at night and not be at the very least unsettled but most likely scared witless. It is the subtle but mounting tension conveyed through the skewed camera angles and sounds and half glimpsed terrors in the sublimely american gothic mansion of Hill House, that create such an oppressive atmosphere. The sense of something truly malevolent manifests in two terrifying scenes, one where a satanic faceforms in shadow on a wall, whilst the muffled cries of a child come form the
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on 9 February 2016
The original haunting, the imagination is the scariest place to hide.
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on 27 June 2016
Really creepy best film I have seen or ages came really quickly
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on 8 June 2010
Going against the flow here, but I bought this film on the strength of its reviews and can only express disappointment. The entire film feels old and dated. Personally I much preferred The Innocents and even The Legend of Hell House which are from a similar era.

Not for me.
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on 14 September 2003
This is an impressive film, made before the standard slasher flick desensitised audiences to horror. Far from being stale when compared to modern gore, of which I am a fan, I found The Haunting facinating and far more psychologically imposing. The lack of computerised effects and the fact that the film is shot in black and white, means that the horror comes from the good script writing, artisic lighting and strangely unnerving camera angles. The plot is clever but simple and uncontrived. Its characters, who bring with them a taint of the supernatural, stay in a disturbed house as part of a doctor's experiment to prove the existance of unexplainable forces. I found myself intrigued by the story. We the audience are left to infer the more sinister facts. We become a watcher sharing the dreadful secrets of the house and its occupants. This is a truly haunting film. It evokes the childhood worries of those creatures that only you can hear in your bedroom at night. But perhaps its greatest power lies in the suggestion that it is we as people who hold the power to twist our surroundings.
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2007
This is one of the most scariest, thought-provoking and original chillers to ever set foot in the film industry. Don't bother with the 1999 rehash, stick with this and you'll be in for a spine-tingling treat...

Starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn and Fay Compton and directed by a well-accomplished director Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, The West Side Story, The Day the Earth Stood Still), The Haunting tells the story of Dr John Markway (Johnson), a psychic researcher who brings along two mediums (Harris & Bloom) to help him investigate a extraordinary mansion that's thought to be haunted...

In this classic supernatural horror, you won't find any gore or blood as it plays entirely on terror that you can't actually see which is probably one of the most original of ideas seen in films like this. Robert Wise directs with such passion, such commitment that he can do no wrong, from pulsating doors to the classic spiral staircase scene, and his cast are picture-perfect as they try to uncover and eventually escape the terror of Hill House (I think that's what it's called) while the ending, to me, is truly a shocker!

You don't have to be a film critic to know that this is simply one of the greatest films ever made (among a whole lot of others) so add this to your collection!
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on 27 September 2016
bit to dark for me and over acted but it is good
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on 27 October 2003
Without a doubt this is my all time favourite film in all genres. The fact that it manages to be so spine chilling without ever having something that is physicaly scary in it is what made me fall in love with it. Moving around the house delivers the same sort of feeling that walking the coridoors in 'The Shining' does, but almost 20 years prior to it. Just that air of knowing that there is something sinister about the house.
The music also brings to cinema what the music from silent hill brought to video games. The bizarre cluttering and echoing of the hallways can be the main attribute of the fear that the house envokes in you. An advantage that the book didnt have, yet this adaptation still stays very faithful to it. And together with some fantastic camera work (considering the time....and it still stands out), Genuinly believable acting and the chills added by the fact that it's black and white and you get what is easily the greatest pyschological horror film ever.
Channel 4 (uk) recently did a show called 'the 100 greatest scary tv moments' and I was upset to see the breathing wall/ face in the wall sequence from 'the haunting' wasnt included. As for the modern remake...I don't dispise it like many do. I think it's an alright film...but NO WHERE NEAR in the same league as the original. If you watch it..dont consider it a remake because its had 'hollywood' moments added to it that take away the whole reason why the original was so good.
But truely...this is great. y fave film ever
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on 21 May 2009
This has to be one of the, if not the greatest, haunted house film ever. Like all these other reviewers are at pains to point out, the ghost is never seen - but it is, in some of the most spine tingling scenes of paranormal activity ever put on film, heard. The director Robert Wise very shrewdly concentrates the action on the unravelling pysche of the protagonist Nell Lance.

The premise of the film - and the novel for that matter - is very simple. An academic - Dr Markway - interested in the supernatural hires Hill House, The family seat of a long dead industrialist, and a house with a very bad past, to conduct an experiment. One by one his volunteers all decline and he's left with Luke; the heir to the estate, Theo; a swinging (in the 60's sense) psychic and Eleanor; a timid woman who's life has been taken up with caring for her invalid mother. Although Eleanor - or Nell as she comes to be known, denies it, Markway has evidence that during her childhood she was the focus of poltergeist activity when stones rained down on her house from out of nowhere. As soon as the quartet enter Hill House it's clear that something very nasty, and very evil is lurking in its recesses.

Apparently whilst in discussion with Shirley Jackson - the novelist on who's work the film is based - Wise commented that the narrative wasn't really a ghost story but the descent of a fragile woman into madness, Jackson replied "No. But it's a bloody good idea". Wise really runs with this vision of the house and haunting as a projection of poor Nell's fractured mind, and by God it works out a treat. Beyond the borders of the screen lie some unspeakable horrors and the suggestion is always there that these spirits are Nell's creations. As the tension mounts and the haunting begins to focus squarely on Eleanor (Nell) she sheds her fear and begins to see the attention of the spirit as evidence of some sort of fulfilment, a matter of destiny. By then the wheels are in motion for one of the most psychologically complex and chilling climaxes in horror cinema, and all this without any visual trickery whatsoever. It's intrepid, subtle and intelligent filmaking, the like of which has all but died out in this age where the formula for success seems to be simply to unleash an unholy stack of CGI wherever possible.

It's worth noting that the source material, Jackson's brilliant novel The Haunting of Hill House has some much more overtly flashy touches and yes, some gore. But Wise chooses to ignore these elements and the result is a truly subtle, adult, film that will stay with you for a long while after the credits roll.

The sets, lighting and camera work utterly convince in bringing to life the claustrophobic feel of Hill House "one big distortion" Nell calls it, and every skewed angle and unlit corner adds to the effect.

The cast too are peerless. Julie Harris, known for her melodramatic style shines as Nell, helpless but determined to change, at once infuriating and utterly pitiable. Her attraction to Doctor Markway is naive and girlish and totally underpins the emotional and sexual inexperience that leads to her strange obssession with Hill House. Claire Bloom slinks around the screen in head to toe Mary Quant as the gay pyschic Theo - adding another frisson of sexual tension to the plot. A complex character who both antagonises and soothes Nell; its a skilled performance. Russ Tamblyn (Luke) and Richard Johnson (Dr Markway) are admirable foils for the central female performances and Rosalee Crutchley's wan, haunted, housekeeper Mrs Dudley, manages to be both superbly eerie and wryly amusing at the same time.

It's a pity that more of Shirley Jackson's work wasn't adapted for the screen as she had a rich back catalogue of very scary stories in her relatively short career but "The Haunting" more than makes up for it. This really is a must own for any serious fan of supernatural cimena or horror in general and at this price it's a crime to pass it by.
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on 7 June 2011
Julie Harris is so highly strung in this film that you can almost hear her twang. Clare Bloom, calm and lovely as ever, is the perfect foil for this. Richard Johnson and Rosalie Crutchley are excellent in support. Russ Tamblyn disappoints.

If you have ever experienced a real cold spot, then the scene outside the nursery door will make your hackles rise.

Wise was correct in his choice of monochrome for this picture. It adds to the creepy atmosphere of foreboding.

The paranormal is a difficult subject to use as entertainment because we know so little of it. Either blood dripping fangs or decomposing bodies, somehow alive, seem to be the inevitable choice of many producers. Robert Wise did not fall for that with this film, which may disappoint some.

I did not know that Hillman exported the Minx to the US. Well, I don't think they actually did. This film was made in England, and errors abound as the crew try to make us believe it is set in the USA. After all this time, we should forgive them for that.

Look out for Bonds Miss Moneypenny, (Lois Maxwell), who appears in the latter part of the film.

Some of the other reviewers seem to have expected a little too much of it. I like this film. Scare the kids with it.
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