A Haunting We Will Go

the haunting II

On October 31st. Here’s how it works, for anybody who hasn’t partaken. We all get ahold of Robert Wise’s THE HAUNTING, and watch it sometime before Halloween. Then, on the day itself I post a piece about the film, one of the greatest ghost stories — or is it? — of all time. And everybody has a nice chat. Just the thing to get you in the mood for All Hallows Eve itself.

THE HAUNTING (original version) is available on Amazon UK very cheap and if you buy it via this link, I get a tiny percentage! In fact, if you follow this link to Amazon and buy ANYTHING, I get a tiny percentage.

The Haunting [DVD] [1963]


18 Responses to “A Haunting We Will Go”

  1. “. . .and we who walk here, walk alone. . .”

    A great favorite of (wait for it)

    Roman Polanski.

  2. A wonderful post to wake up to. The prologue alone – the perfect marriage of Shirley Jackson’s words to picture and sound – is worth the price of admission. For those who deride Robert Wise as being a “competent craftsman”….In this case, I’ll take craftsman to artist any day. In person, Wise had a bland and pleasant quietness that could never invite comparisons to his former boss. In the end, this was the man who saved Hollywood with that dreadful Julie Andrews picture and then turned around and made the THE SAND PEBBLES. No one else has ever pulled off a trick quite like that.

  3. Also a great favorite of…….Rob Zombie.

  4. It’s a cinematic seance in which he revives the spirit of his early master — Val Lewton.

    What’s wonderful about the film is its two-pronged impact. It takes place in a creepy old house full of weird noises AND what happens there is a projection of Julie Harris’ mind.

    I’ve actually been in the presence of poltergeists — but I’ll save that for a full-press discussion of the movie.

  5. Wow, that’s going to be REALLY interesting to hear about. The work of Sam Raimi is full of borrowed lines of dialogue from The Haunting, and Brian Yuzna is a big fan too. Although the ick-factor filmmakers can never ever touch on what makes the film so successful, which is its restraint (and I hate to use that oft-misused word).

    With Polanski it makes sense — the detailed sound world of Repulsion seems like a direct response, and the ambiguity pursued by both Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant is very much in the same vein.

  6. Wise’s The Haunting is one of the great sound films. It’s remindful of Bresson’s admonition “The eye must listen before it looks.”

  7. Absolutely. And sound is something we’re all inclined to underestimate in cinema. Wise, having been an editor, knew its power all too well, and having worked in low-budget movies with Lewton, he knew how to work with what wasn’t visible.

  8. Christopher Says:

    just the sight of the Mansion exterior is enough to raise the hackles…looks like a big ol’ tomb.
    Tho not a Robert Wise and often ignored,I re-watched the Lewton Isle of the Dead the other night,still think the last 30 mins contains some of the eeriest moments of all the Lewtons and my fave Bus hissing shock of all never mentioned..Being splicing these in with my Halloween viewing..

  9. Isle of the Dead SERIOUSLY disturbed me as a kid! I’d say it’s certainly the most alarming of the Lewtons. Although The Ghost Ship (screening on BBC2 tonight) has much to commend it for chills also.

  10. Christopher Says:

    I’ve got Ghost Ship down for another look.I didn’t seem to like it the first time I saw it..Need to see what I’m missing there..
    Also gonna watch Bedlam too,which features one of my favorite Ian Wolfe characters, as a guy tossed into the Asylum for having found a way to make Motion Pictuers!

  11. Yes, the proto-cineaste is a fantastic moment.

    The Ghost Ship offers one of the best understated psychos in Lewton’s cinema, and any film that features Skelton Knaggs in a prominent role is destined for greatness. His perf here makes TGS one of a select group of films narrated by mutes.

  12. The Lewton classics were all low-budget films. With The Haunting Wise had tons of money.

    And to think it was made between West Side Story and The Sound of Music

  13. Christopher Says:

    lets see..what crazy title would the top brass have made Lewton stick on The Haunting if Wise had done it back in the RKO days?..
    My Life as a House?…GhostBusters?..

  14. I’ve just ordered The Haunting (plus three other DVDs) via your Amazon link, and am now hoping the Royal Mail does the right thing by its employees and settles the dispute in time for it to arrive by Halloween. If not, at least I’ll be a well-informed, first-time viewer.

  15. I’ve just ordered the DVD through your Amazon link — so that’s another pile of cash to add to the massive Cairns fortune. Hope I have time to watch it between whenever it arrives and Halloween…

  16. Woohoo! I’m going straight to Amazon to gaze at mu mound of gold coins.

  17. I watched it last night for the first time, with the lights suitably dimmed, and am looking forward to the discussion come the weekend… Since I’m taking an anthropology class at the moment, I was most amused by Markway’s profession.

  18. I just updated the alley…


    Minnelli’s COBWEB with stills!!!

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