Friday, April 1, 2011

Crowded House

The Haunting (1963) - Wise

Robert Wise makes a G-rated film scary with the camera angle, movement, sound and tight editing. It's the usual setup- a paranormal studies in a haunted mansion, 3 chosen people, pounding at the door in the middle of the night, cold spots, etc. But it's so effectively creepy.

Julie Harris is mousy, easily irritable Eleanor, wrecked with guilt in the death of her mother. Claire Bloom is sexy Theo and young Russ Tamblyn is Luke, the heir of the haunted mansion. There is a great lesbian sexual tension btwn Eleanor and Theo throughout. But the real star is Wise's direction. There are no "boo" moments or ghosts, but he creates the glum atmosphere with great skill that really gets under your skin. I remember watching the terrible CG ridden remake of this and how nothing worked. Wise, a veteran filmmaker, shows you what you can achieve a lot with little things.