Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Review - The Haunting 1963

Fig 1. The Haunting Poster
 The Haunting

Directed by : Robert Wise

Starring : Julie Harris

Fig 2. The Haunting Still

 From the open sequence, this film creates that tense feeling that the audience feels throughout. The camera shots are most key in this picture, because the scenes are shot in such a way that the area that is in focus, is darkened up by an odd back lighting effect. For example everytime the front of the house is looked at, it has that eerie light from behind. (Haflidason, 2007) stats that the director uses '.. deliberately unsettling camera angles he captures the movie in icy cold shadow-strewn photography'. Indeed this is true, just by simply looking at the character's face when they are most scared, it is plain to see that those faces become whiter and brighter than they were. This is all to do with the clever use of light, the stronger the light contrasts, the scary the moment is ment to be.

Fig 3 Julie Harris in The Haunting 1963

'...a good old-fashioned ghost story where the unknown is more frightening than what is known.' (Stryker, 2005)
 This film creates a large sense of irrational fear, mainly through the use of the mirrors. Throughtout the film, the mirrors became a 'hot spot', constantly looking at them to see if something will happen. Maybe a ghost, maybe an object will move or anything along those lines. You constantly find yourself waiting/expecting something to happen, if somehting hasn't happened yet, it could always be the next mirror.

Fig 4 The Haunting Still 2

'... this film lays siege to your senses through your ears first and foremost, while the visual component of the attack is largely subliminal.' (Ashlin,2010) Although the visuals of this film are superb, the noises of which the house creates, makes this film what it is. It the noises that sends that irrational fear to the audience, if you could see what was making h noises, then the fears wouldn't be irrational. The first use of the strong sounds, is the scene where Eleanor and Theo are in their room and theres large knocking and srapping at the door, or as Ashlin describes it, 'pounding on the walls and floors with the force of a rhinoceros wielding a sledgehammer'. This scene is the most effective because the link with the noises to the camera angles on the faces of the characters, sends a new level of fear to the audience. What is behind the door?

Illustration Bibliography
Fig 1, The Haunting Poster, 1963, [photography], http://www.fatally-yours.com/wp-content/uploads/The%20Haunting%20DVD%20cover.jpg, (14/12/2010)


Halfidason, A, 2007, The Haunting 1963 Review, http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/12/12/the_haunting_1963_review.shtml, (13/12/2010)

Stryker,J, 2005, Review The Haunting [1963], http://www.horrorexpress.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1796, (14/12/2010)
Ashlin, S, 2010, The Haunting 1963, http://www.1000misspenthours.com/reviews/reviewsh-m/haunting1963.htm, (14/12/2010)

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