we who walk here, walk alone

The HauntingTwo exciting evenings! Last night (the night before my birthday) I spoiled myself by watching, back to back, three movies… Something that I haven’t done in many years. And then today? Pondering those movies while enjoying a wonderful birthday beer consisting of a bottle of La Fin Du Monde (which leads me to endlessly ponder the film Le Fin Absolue du Monde... Hopefully, the beer won’t have the same effect as the movie is rumored to have).

One plus to plugging away at a number of films is that I end up watching things that I just haven’t been able to get around to seeing. Last night I finally sat down for The Haunting (1963). The first of a number of film adaptations of Shirley Jackson’s novel, the only other adaptation that I have seen is Stephen King’s Rose Red, though there is a recent remake. While those I’ve seen certainly have similarities, this one I found to be a more respectable (serious) work, and aside from factors due to its era, The Haunting lacks the corniness and chintzy feel of the King miniseries. Though The Haunting does start off a bit corny (it was 1963, after all), after an hour or so the story and drama really pick up and I found myself to be involved with it.

The story of a professor who brings a group of “psychic-type” people to a haunted mansion in his attempt to prove the existence of the super-natural. the professor (played by Richard Johnson) is the acting high point of this; his easy going eagerness and confidence make you feel somehow secure while watching the movie. But the lead character is Eleanor, a woman with a troubled past and some strong psychic connections. She comes along on the mission to the house as she wants to flee her family and she is looking to find where she truly belongs, and suspects that the house might be it. She seems to be verging on a mental breakdown and the movie frequently uses the narration of her internal thoughts to express her desires and misgivings about what it going on in the house. Especially once the house starts to wake up.

 

The Haunting

 

As it is a haunted house story, the atmosphere relies heavily upon sound effects, camera angles and music… And once it gets going, it becomes pretty effective. Plus, as one would expect from a piece such as this, there are some great sets and lighting and it is great to look at.



 

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