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?: On October 21st, the investigators find an “educational” book written by Hugh Crane, the original owner of the house, for his daughter; it also happens to be the date that Crane dedicated the book. The Haunting is an excellent adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House, and one of the all time great haunted house films, perfect for an October 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.
I’m reading the Jackson novel now (never seen the film). Considering I have about 20 pages left, it’s quite likely I’ll finished on the 21st. Good timing.
Excellent. Then just get ahold of the film and watch it. Personally, I preferred the film to the book, but I believe I’m a heathen in that regard, popular opinion condemns me.