December 14th, 2011: The Haunting (1963)

Cast and Crew: Robert Wise (Director); Lois Maxwell

What It’s About: Anthropologist Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson) invites three strangers to join him in investigating Hill House, a 19th century mansion with a history of tragedy and supernatural activity so extensive that it is said it was “born bad.”  They are psychic Theodora (Claire Bloom); mousey, isolated Eleanor (Julie Harris), who experienced a poltergeist; and skeptical playboy Luke Saderson (Russ Tamblyn) who is to inherit the mansion.   Markway’s exact aims are unclear, as is the true nature of the house, but one thing is certain:  one of Markway’s guests brought their own demons with them.

Why Watch it Today?: Today’s film was based on Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House.  Jackson was born 95 years ago today in 1916The Haunting is an excellent adaptation of Jackson’s novel, and one of the all time great haunted house films, perfect for a cold December evening.  Pop some popcorn, make some hot cocoa, snuggle up under some warm blankets, turn down your lights and be prepared to pay very careful attention to every noise your home makes when you finish.

Where to Get It: iTunes or Vudu, Libraries, or Netflix (Rental)

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