Whoa. Last night’s movie kind of boggled my mind. In a good way, not like some of the crap I’ve watched. I watched The Haunting (1963). This movie is like the mother and father of haunted house movies. I’m still not sure if I liked it or not but I think my opinion is more favorable than it was last night.
Hill House has been home to scandal, murder, insanity, and suicide. Like the Overlook Hotel, it was born bad and as the years have passed it has accumulated more and more ghosts. The dead are not quiet in Hill House.
Dr. Markway is a paranormal investigator who wants to study the house. He selects Eleanor “Nell” Lance and Theo “just Theo” as part of his study because they’ve had paranormal experiences in the past. Luke is along for the ride because he stands to inherit the house. He acts as the skeptical voice.
Odd things start to happen once they’re in the house. I don’t want to be too specific because I don’t want to ruin it for you. I saw the remake of The Haunting from 1999. It was ok but very overwrought. In contrast, the original shows what you can do with lighting, sound, and camera angles. There’s very little actual ghostiness but the characters’ reactions ensure that you realize that what’s happening is scary.
In fact, a good portion of the movie, for me, was determining whether what was happening was actual haunting activity or symptoms of Nell’s fragile mind. That could be an explanation if it weren’t for the fact that the others experience the oddness as well.
The house itself is its own character, all twisty hallways, baroque carving, damask, statues, and silken wallpaper. In other words, it is exactly where I want to live. The exteriors are Ettington Hall, near Stratford-Upon-Avon. It’s a hotel now so you can visit it and go inside.
I guess my final word is that it’s quite a beautiful movie, it’s quite a good movie, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought there would be more explicit haunting activity. Also, I suppose that I say this quite a lot, but it shows what you can do with less technology, when you require practical effects to scare people as opposed to CGI cherub statues. I still think you should watch this very unsettling movie.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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