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The Haunting

4.9 15
Director: Robert Wise

Cast: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson


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One of the most highly regarded haunted house films ever produced, Robert Wise's The Haunting (based on Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House) weaves the dark tale of a questionably sane young woman and a sinister house which holds a terrifying past. Invited to join anthropologist Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), ESP expert Theodora (Claire


One of the most highly regarded haunted house films ever produced, Robert Wise's The Haunting (based on Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House) weaves the dark tale of a questionably sane young woman and a sinister house which holds a terrifying past. Invited to join anthropologist Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), ESP expert Theodora (Claire Bloom), and probable heir to the estate Luke Sanderson (Russ Tamblyn) in order to dispel the near mythical tales that surround the house, unstable Eleanor Vance (Julie Harris) agrees to spend a few nights in the house following the death of her mother. As they slowly begin to discover, the horrific and seemingly unbelievable tales may hold more truth than the skeptical guests might have previously expected. With a seemingly unstoppable supernatural force lurking in every shadow, the probability of anyone escaping the evil clutch of the cursed mansion seems increasingly remote.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Things that go bump in the night bump overtime in 1963's The Haunting, the quintessential haunted-house film from genre chameleon Robert Wise. The setup is as straightforward as they come: An anthropologist (Richard Johnson) arranges for a handpicked group of guests to stay at a remote New England mansion to investigate legends that it is haunted. Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn play the guinea pigs in this experiment, which unfolds into a classic ghost story where the spirits in question really do make quite a nocturnal racket. Don't expect much in the way of visual effects however: The Haunting is a Monkey's Paw-type thriller where what you don't see turns out to be scarier than what you do. Wise accomplishes this feat with some exquisite lighting and camerawork that simply immerses the viewer in an atmosphere of eerie mystery that, like the prolonged foreplay of an expert lover, continues long after other films would have climaxed. Harris provides a strange voiceover throughout, gradually revealing her character's strange affinity with the forces at work, while reinforcing the discomforting sense that the line between what is tangibly real and what is delusional can be difficult to draw. And some intriguing erotic tensions wind their way through the group, tensions that seem to become yet another layer of psychic danger. Ultimately, a lot is left to the imagination in The Haunting -- unlike its flashier 1999 remake -- making it a masterpiece of thoroughly distilled suspense.
All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
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.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Commentary by Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Director Robert Wise and Screenwriter Nelson Gidding; "Great Ghost Stories" Essay; Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Julie Harris Eleanor Vance
Claire Bloom Theodora
Richard Johnson Dr. John Markway
Russ Tamblyn Luke Sanderson
Lois Maxwell Grace Markway
Fay Compton Mrs. Sanderson
Susan Richards Nurse
Rosemary Dorken Companion
Rosalie Crutchley Mrs. Dudley
Valentine Dyall Mr. Dudley
Diane Clare Carrie Fredericks
Ronald Adam Eldridge Harper
Amy Dalby Abigail at 80
Verina Greenlaw Dora
Paul Maxwell Bud
Mavis Villiers Landlady
Howard Lang Hugh Crain

Technical Credits
Robert Wise Director,Producer
Davis Boulton Cinematographer
Maude Churchill Costumes/Costume Designer
Nelson Gidding Screenwriter
Tom Howard Special Effects
John Jarvis Set Decoration/Design
Denis Johnson Associate Producer
Alan McCabe Camera Operator
Mary Quant Costumes/Costume Designer
Elliot Scott Production Designer
Humphrey Searle Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Tom Smith Makeup
David Tomblin Asst. Director
Gerry Turner Sound/Sound Designer
Ernest Walter Editor
A.W. Watkins Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Haunting
1. Credits [2:11]
2. Hill House History [4:22]
3. Expectations [2:35]
4. Family Skeleton [3:29]
5. Eleanor's Journey [2:06]
6. Waiting for Her [3:42]
7. Mrs. Dudley's Instructions [3:53]
8. Alive [3:39]
9. The Only Ones Left [4:36]
10. Uneasy Explanations [:05]
11. Sleep Well [4:28]
12. Night Noises [5:13]
13. Supernaturally Practical [6:58]
14. Writing On The Wall [3:47]
15. Conservatory Dance [4:27]
16. Fearful Heights [2:49]
17. Girl Talk [4:46]
18. Cold Spot [2:34]
19. Whose Hand? [2:17]
20. Burden Of Fear [4:23]
21. Hill House's Monster [4:55]
22. New Ghost Hunter [2:33]
23. It Knows I'm Here [5:14]
24. Bulging at the Seams [4:33]
25. Coming Apart [2:20]
26. The Spiral Staircase [2:51]
27. Atop the Stairs [4:01]
28. Out Of Place [3:40]
29. The Accident [3:56]
30. We Who Walk Here [3:19]


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The Haunting 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
mike-s More than 1 year ago
Let's see....what we have here is a black and white horror movie, no special effects to point out, a cast of adaquate actors/actress and an overused story of a hauted house. So what's the big deal? The big deal is the direction of Robert Wiss which takes in all the previous facts and puts them together to scare the hell out of you. Truely one of the best horror films made, no question. This thing is a MUST for you to see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago