The Haunting

1963

The Haunting

Critics Consensus

Both psychological and supernatural, The Haunting is a chilling character study.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 39

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,292
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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.

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
Claud Jones
as Fat Man
Amy Dalby
as Abigail at 80
Rosemary Dorken
as Companion
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News & Interviews for The Haunting

Critic Reviews for The Haunting

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (5)

  • When The Haunting digs into the internals of its story, summons its spirits and lets them play havoc with cold reason, it has a power and fervor unmatched by any film ghost stories.

    Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…
  • People stare about in terror and squeak: 'The house, it's alive!' The picture, it's dead.

    Oct 19, 2008 | Full Review…
    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.

    Sep 25, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    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.

    Sep 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 23, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Makes more goose pimples than sense.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Haunting

  • Oct 07, 2016
    Julie Harris' narration gets a little excessive at times but otherwise, great classic horror film that sports a great brooding atmosphere, mesmerizing cinematography, and a great ensemble cast.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2013
    The exposition leaden dialogue leaves something to be desired, but its easy to see why the film considered a standard for the "haunted house" genre. There are still moments that are unsettling, mostly because Robert Wise uses sound and silence so well. Julie Harris' unhinged performance is great.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 02, 2012
    Don't really see what the acclaim is all about. At first I was going to give this movie credit, because it was difficult in the early 60's to pull off a good horror movie with the lack of special effects. At the end of this movie however, the veer away from making it a scary story at all, and it just becomes the tale of some insane lady. 10 years later they would have institutionalized her. Instead she kills herself because she thinks she "belongs". WTF.
    Mace R Super Reviewer
  • Mar 06, 2012
    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 r Super Reviewer

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