A group of investigators are assembled to stay the week at the supposedly haunted Hill House in order to determine whether there is any paranormal activity occurring in the isolated mansion, but creaky floorboards and distant moans are only the start of the odd happenings that befall them. Unlike the other spook shows of the time (particularly in the cases of William Castle's gimmicky HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL or 13 GHOSTS), Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING reveals very little on screen, opting for subtly implied horrors and psychological terror over full bodied apparitions or cheap thrills. One could even argue that Hill House isn't even haunted, but rather that the four would-be ghost hunters are either giving in to their overactive imaginations or possibly suffering from a group psychosis. As we explore each of the characters, we find various breaks in each of there personalities that could easily allow for such delusions. Even the tragic ending can be seen as a complete coincidence, just another ambiguity left for the viewer to decide upon. The low angled exterior shots and long tracking shots through the cavernous hallways also give the house itself an ominous life of its own, including a dark heart and breathing walls. While the smart script is competently acted and engaging, the intent focus on its characters, lengthy dialogue, and lack of physical specters may surprise new viewers expecting a more visual experience. THE HAUNTING is still a step above all other entries of its time, and a definite Horror classic!
Number of views: 1.