If you’ve ever read Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, you’ll understand why I appreciate the film adaptation, The Haunting (1963); not that drivel with Katherine Zeta Jones. It is rare to see an almost identical translation from print to screen, and this is one of those rarities. There are some differences, but I won’t get into them, they don’t harm the story.
Eleanor “Nell” Lance has had a rough go of it for the last eleven years as she took care of her invalid mother until her dying days. Now, all she wants is to get away from it all, and the perfect solution comes in the form of an invitation to visit Hill House. Her sister is a selfish bitch, she didn’t lift a finger to help Nell care for their mother, and she treats her like child. Unfortunately, the dream vacation Nell had envisioned, instead she gets a stay in a haunted house.
The camera angles shot in this film are like something you’d expect from Hitchcock. The effects were created with the camera and lighting, no stop-motion animation that was very popular at the time, giving the film a life that isn’t expected; and how the 1999 remake failed. Even my version of this theme (Hydrangeas on the Lanai) doesn’t compare to this masterpiece, but I still like what I did with it.
The Haunting is a stunning visual and psychological drama that you shouldn’t miss. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.