The Haunting is a 1963 American supernatural psychological horror film directed and produced by Robert Wise and adapted by Nelson Gidding from the novel The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson. It stars Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Russ Tamblyn. The film depicts the experiences of a small group of people invited by a paranormal investigator to investigate a purportedly haunted house.
Screenwriter Gidding, who had worked with director Wise on the film I Want to Live! (1958), began a six-month write of the script after reading the book, which Wise had given to him. He perceived the book to be more about mental breakdown than ghosts, and although he was informed after meeting author Shirley Jackson that it was very much a supernatural novel, elements of mental breakdown were introduced into the film. Julie Harris was cast by Wise who found her ideal for the psychologically fragile Eleanor, though during production she suffered from depression and had an uneasy relationship with her co-stars.
The film was released on 18 September 1963. The Haunting was released on DVD in its original screen format with commentary in 2003, and was released on Blu-ray on 15 October 2013.In 2010, The Guardian newspaper ranked it as the 13th-best horror film of all time. Director Martin Scorsese has placed The Haunting first on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time. I have seen this film on a lot of YouTube reviewers list’s as a scary flick and I think the subtle special effects, lack of CGI and black and white film are what give it this quality.
The Innocents is a 1961 British psychological horror film directed and produced by Jack Clayton, and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, and Megs Jenkins. Based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by the American novelist Henry James, the screenplay was adapted by William Archibald and Truman Capote, who used Archibald’s own stage play—also titled The Innocents—as a primary source text. Its plot follows a governess who watches over two children and comes to fear that their large estate is haunted by ghosts and that the children are being possessed.
Archibald’s original screenplay for The Innocents was based on the premise that the paranormal events depicted were legitimate. Displeased with Archibald’s take on the material, director Jack Clayton appointed American writer Truman Capote to rework the script. Capote’s rewrites incorporated psychological themes, resulting in a final work that suggests other alternatives to the plot. Filming took place partly on location at the Gothic mansion of Sheffield Park in Sussex, with additional shoots occurring at Shepperton Studios in Surrey. Shot in CinemaScope, The Innocents incorporated bold minimal lighting as well as deep focus, employed by cinematographer Freddie Francis to achieve a distinctive—and sometimes claustrophobic—atmosphere. The film also pioneered the use of synthesised electronic sound created by Daphne Oram.
The Innocents received international distribution from the American film studio 20th Century Fox, and received its London premiere on 24 November 1961. It was released in the United States the following month on 15 December in Los Angeles and Christmas Day in New York City. The psychological underpinnings of the film’s screenplay have resulted in it being the subject of numerous critical and scholarly essays, particularly in the area of film theory. Of the various film adaptations of James’s work, The Innocents has received the most critical debate. Then again, James’s original novella has also received the same critical and scholarly treatment. Having read it multiple times I think it’s a coin toss as to whether it’s ghosts or delusion. My personal feeling is, it’s both, which is one reason I really like the film. This is another film selected by The Guardian as one of the 25 best horror films ever made and Ii also made Matin Scorsese’s list.
The Changeling is a 1980 Canadian supernatural psychological horror film directed by Peter Medak and starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. Its plot follows an esteemed New York City composer who relocates to Seattle, where he moves into a mansion he comes to believe is haunted. The screenplay is based upon events that writer Russell Hunter claimed he experienced while he was living in the Henry Treat Rogers mansion in the Cheesman Park neighborhood of Denver, Colorado in the late 1960s; Hunter served as a co-writer of the film.
Critical reception has been mixed but I find this on a lot of best horror lists and when it doesn’t make a list there are almost always commenters who think it should have. George C Scott usually pays tough characters and in this film he plays someone vulnerable and troubled. who first has doubts, then, convinced, regains himself as he searches for answers. It’s an excellent performance by an actor known for them. This movie is compelling enough for me to rewatch and I love the cinematography and the backstory behind the haunting.
The film was released on LaserDisc with a digital Stereo soundtrack by HBO Videos in 1982. The film was also released on DVD by HBO Home Video in 2000. The independent distributor Severin Films announced a limited edition Blu-ray release of the film, which was released in the United States on August 7, 2018
The Others (Spanish: Los Otros) is a 2001 English-language Spanish gothic supernatural psychological horror film. It was written, directed, and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. The film takes place in an isolated manor on the island of Jersey, off the British coast. In this house lives Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two children, Nicholas (James Bentley) and Anne (Alakina Mann).
The first strangeness begins with the arrival of three servants, who say they are responding, to Grace’s advertisement for domestic help. There are indeed vacancies because the previous servants decamped in the middle of the night with no notice at all. Coincidentally, the three new applicants have served at the house previously. She hires them: Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), a middle-aged Irish woman, a young mute girl Lydia (Elaine Cassidy), and the ancient gardener Mr. Tuttle (Eric Sykes). Then there is the status of the father and husband, which is ambiguous. The movie takes pace just at the end of WWII and the presumption being he has been killed in action, we are unsure what Grace is expecting for the future. Watching Nicole Kidman take her character through a slow descent to the breaking point is fascinating and disturbing.
The film won seven Goya Awards, including awards for Best Film and Best Director. This was the first English-language film ever to receive the Best Film Award at the Goyas (Spain’s national film awards), without a single word of Spanish spoken in it. The Others was nominated for six Saturn Awards including Best Director and Best Writing for Amenábar and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Alakina Mann, and won three: Best Horror Film, Best Actress for Kidman and Best Supporting Actress for Fionnula Flanagan. Kidman was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Drama and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, with Amenábar being nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, a rare occurrence for a horror film. Awards don’t always mean great cinema, but in this case the source of the awards as well as the number are telling.
Rogert Ebert thought the pace was too slow, but this is a Spanish movie, not an American one. I enjoyed it and and on subsequent viewings found you discover more little nuances which eyes and mind conditioned to a faster pace miss. Even the disease of the children, which at first may seem as though it has it’s source in the mother’s mind rather than biology, is in fact a real disease. This ultra-rare disease is called Xeroderma Pigmentosum. When sunlight hits the skin, horrible boils develop and throats close up, causing suffocation and death. That in itself is pretty scary but it also is used to give clues to what is really haunting the house.
Stir of Echoes is a 1999 American supernatural horror film directed by David Koepp. Koepp’s screenplay is based on the novel A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson. It stars Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Erbe, Illeana Douglas and Kevin Dunn. It was released in the U.S. on September 10, 1999.
Tom Witzky is a phone lineman living in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago with his pregnant wife Maggie and his son Jake, who possesses the ability to commune with the dead. At a party one evening, Tom challenges Maggie’s sister, Lisa, who is a believer in paranormal activity, to hypnotize him. After putting him under, Lisa plants a post-hypnotic suggestion in Tom urging him to “be more open-minded”. Tom then begins experiencing visions of a violent scuffle involving a girl who he later learns is Samantha Kozac, a 17-year-old that disappeared from the neighborhood six months prior. Tom becomes obsessed with Samantha and begins probing members of the community about her disappearance. This of course has consequences. Even as he investigates, he is plagued by visions of Samantha. When he asks Lisa to re-hypnotize him again and reverse her suggestion it only results in the appearance of Samantha commanding him to “Dig”. Dig he does, only getting himself in deeper with everyone, including his wife, as he wrecks his house.. If you want something taugt and edgy in your horror, this is it. Stir of Echoes is disturbing on many levels and the suspenseful thriller side of the movie is as good as the horror side