The Haunting (1963)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Anthropology professor Richard Johnson investigates reports of psychic phenomena at a "troubled" New England mansion known as Hill House. He is joined by Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, women of radically different temperaments who share a common gift for ESP. Cynical Russ Tamblyn, who stands to inherit Hill House, goes along with the paranormal investigators, hoping to get a few laughs. He doesn't -- nor does Harris, the person most adversely affected by the various ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night which reside throughout Hill House. Both Julie Harris and Claire Bloom insist to this day that they experienced genuine ghostly disturbances during the filming of The Haunting. Conversely, director Robert Wise noted that he wanted to undergo a paranormal experience, but never did.
Rating:
G
Genre:
Classics , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Cast

Julie Harris
as Eleanor Lance
Claire Bloom
as Theodora
Richard Johnson
as Dr. John Markway
Russ Tamblyn
as Luke Sanderson
Fay Compton
as Mrs. Sanderson
Rosalie Crutchley
as Mrs. Dudley
Lois Maxwell
as Grace Markway
Valentine Dyall
as Mr. Dudley
Diane Clare
as Carrie Fredericks
Ronald Adam
as Eldridge Harper
Freda Knorr
as Second Mrs. Crain
Janet Mansell
as Abigail at 6
Pamela Buckley
as First Mrs. Crain
Howard Lang
as Hugh Crain
Mavis Villiers
as Landlady
Claud Jones
as Fat Man
Amy Dalby
as Abigail at 80
Rosemary Dorken
as Companion
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Critic Reviews for The Haunting

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (5)

People stare about in terror and squeak: 'The house, it's alive!' The picture, it's dead.

Full Review… | October 19, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The artful cinematic strokes of director Robert Wise and staff are not quite enough to override the major shortcomings of Nelson Gidding's screenplay.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Pretty effective when it came out; it may be a little stiff in the joints by now, but it's still a much better scare show than the recent stinker remake.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

What makes the film so effective is not so much the slightly sinister characterisation of the generally neurotic group, but the fact that [director] Wise makes the house itself the central character, a beautifully designed and highly atmospheric entity.

Full Review… | September 22, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Makes more goose pimples than sense.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

This is one of the best supernatural chillers ever made.

Full Review… | October 7, 2013
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for The Haunting

The Haunting is a stellar haunted house flick with a great cast. Director Robert Wise crafts a memorable film that has some genuine scares, something that is missing from many horror films of today. The Haunting is a brilliantly acted film with a great cast and it has such atmosphere to create memorable terror. The Haunting is one of the greatest haunted house films ever filmed. Director Robert Wise creates a terrific film, and The Haunting is one of the most memorable, most efficient haunted house films in the horror genre. This film relies on atmosphere to create the horror and Robert Wise has a terrific eye of what makes a memorable and effective horror flick. The cast deliver great performances and The Haunting is a perfect ghost story. Director Robert Wise genius direction keeps you imagination guessing and what the horrors are that lurk in the dark. This is superb filmmaking at its terrifying best, and remains the quintessential haunted house film to watch. This is a masterful horror classic that is still scary after all these years. The film relies heavily on the unseen to create the terror, and it proves that at times you don't need blood or gore to create the terror on-screen. Sometimes all you need is the fear of the unknown, what you can't see brings even more genuine terror than most psychotic mad men. The Haunting set the standard for all haunted house films that would follow. Robert Wise has crafted a must see horror flick, a definite classic of the genre. This film will definitely give you a few good scares. If you want a great atmospheric horror film, then The Haunting is a definite must see. Robert Wise definitely knows how to create effective horror with a dark atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. A flawless classic.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

½

In between his masterpieces "West Side Story" (1961) and "The Sound of Music" (1965), director Robert Wise tried his hand at an old-fashioned ghost story, "The Haunting," starring Julie Harris. It is spooky. But what really sets it apart is the psychological depth of its depiction of the main character (Harris), a spinster who barely has the courage to leave the house. Because of some childhood experiences with the paranormal, which get documented by the local police, she comes to the attention of a scientist doing research on the supernatural. He invites her to join a small team of intrepid researchers who move into a supposedly haunted house hoping to conjure up spirits. Boy, do they succeed. Not just are the scary experiences effective, gradually a drama builds around Harris's character, where the house seems to have a special interest in her. The film is marred by endless speeches from the head scientist, and ultimately it's not much more than a good ghost story. But anyone interested in gothic horror will have a good time with this one. Just don't expect a masterpiece. "Psycho," which was made a few years before, was much better.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Probably the deepest haunted house film I've seen, it contains some great cinematography.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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