THE HAUNTING

(1963)
With Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Lois Maxwell, Fay Compton
Directed by Robert Wise
Black and White

      A classic haunted-house film, miles ahead of the wretched 1999 remake, THE HAUNTING proves that the most terrifying moments on film are not dependent on gore and special effects, but on how well the viewer's imagination is stimulated.  There are no apparitions or severed heads; in fact, save for one brief gratuitous shock late in the film, there are no creepy or frightening visuals in THE HAUNTING.  Everything is dependent on such low-key tricks as seeing evil faces in the flocked wallpaper, "breathing" doorframes, and things that go bump in the night.  Director Robert Wise, who seemed to have made it his life's goal to make a great film in every possible genre, maintains the film's ominous tone throughout, leading the viewer to expect that something shocking could happen at any moment, even if it never does.  Watch it with the lights out, and you'll sleep with the lights on. 4½ - JL 

Scary Movies     The Secret Vortex


REMAKES

The Haunting (1999)