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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:
Turner Home Ent
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Special Features

Commentary By Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Gidding; 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


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The Haunting 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Full of shadows and eerie noises, this black and white chiller is far superior to that dreadful 1999 remake. This version leaves more to your imagination as you jump at the bumps in the night. Incredibly close to the book, ''The Haunting of Hill House'', by Shirley Jackson, it's a must-see movie. I highly recommend reading the book also. ''No one can hear you if you scream in the night,''
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt, this is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. If you're looking for a psychological thriller, this is it. This is not a slasher or blood and gore movie like they tried to make the sequel. The original is the best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let's not beat around the bush here. I think that this is the best and most frightening horror movie ever made. If you prefer the 1999 remake then you are either under 16 or dead. I cannot even begin to tell you why it should give you the creeps on a dark winter evening, I just suggest you cosy up with a loved-one and a good bottle of wine (a nice Chilean Grenach I'd say) and unlock the door into the supernatural world waiting at Hill House. We who walk here....walk alone.
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite horror movie. It is a faithful screen version of Shirley Jackson's gothic novel "The Haunting of Hill House". Do not overlook this outstanding frightfest. You won't be disappointed.
MaryEnfinger More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely the most frightening movie I have ever seen. I have been watching it for 30 years and it still scares me to death. The original rocks! No blood or guts, just psycological torture.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best movies ever made. Based on one of the best noels ever written. By one of the best writers ever.
TheIcemanCometh More than 1 year ago
Wise's film is hands-down the best of all haunted house fare. The 90s remake is pathetic beyond words, completely ruins Shirley Jackson's simple, effective story. This is a production that doesn't rely on special effects but instead uses them so quietly that you'll get goosebumps...especially when the house finally comes alive for all the investigators. What you don't see is far more sinister and terrifying than what any CGI can do. A good cast, good writing, and brilliant direction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have this on VHS and could hardly wait until the DVD was released. After 40 years of watching this film, it still chills me. Like ''Psycho,'' it is not to be viewed home alone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know it sounds silly. But even though I'm now a grown man, I still can't watch this film by myself without the lights on. But I do enjoy trying.
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