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Subject: [Gola Movie Challenge] #2 - The Haunting (1963) rss

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Avri
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On January 29, Gola said,
Gola wrote:
. . . it occurred to me that it might be fun & interesting as a project for 2012 to watch all the movies I've listed as favorites to see how they hold up for me.

And I agreed.

So last night, with the little one sleeping (albeit fitfully) and jojopi out at the showcase of one of her actors, my buddy Tom - the same one who watched part 1 of the challenge with me - came over to watch The Haunting starring Julie Harris.

Not, as I always imagine, starring Karen Black.

I love good horror movies. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I've even seen half a dozen I consider good. But this one is on the top of that short list.

I contend that, done well, there's nothing scarier than nothing happening.

Most movie "horror" relies on the cheap jump scare. Yes, you jump, or scream, and grab your date's hand. But the tension is released, and where's the fun in that. Real horror comes from unreleased tension - I promise you, what I'm seeing in my imagination is much scarier than anything you can show me on a screen . . .

Unless it's a spiral staircase. Those things are terrifying.

Watching again for the first time in a handful of years, I was struck first by the level of acting - much higher than I typically expect from 60s era movies. And the pacing is wonderful - allowing the story to breathe and the viewer's imaginations to do their worst while neither stalling completely nor rushing a single beat.

The camerawork makes many scenes look as if they were shot from the POV of the house, watching Nell, and the occasional "shaky-cam" shots were used far more sparingly and effectively than in Blair Witch (which The Haunting predates by 4 decades . . .)

I know that "it is a truth universally acknowleged" that voice over is bad, but I like Nell's internal monologue here, and the bookend narrative, detailing the sickness of the house.

And had I really simply missed the lesbian subplot all these years?

In all, I'm 2 for 2 in my favorite movies holding up over the years. Looking forward to the remaing dozen.

Just to add to the creepiness factor, my new DVD player decided to get in on the act. I checked that everything was working before Tom arrived. (The reason Tom and I watched Heathers and not The Haunting last time out was that my DVD player died and guess which one was available in Netflix). Once he did and I tried to hit play, the DVD remote refused to respond. Then, during the movie when I needed to change the volume, the TV remote buttons stuck, increasing the volume to 100, then down to 0.

Creepy enough, but then the both remotes were working just fine again this morning . . .


Gola Movie Challenge:

Heathers
The Haunting
When Harry Met Sally . . .
Leaving Las Vegas
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Metropolitan
Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Prestige
500 Days Of Summer
Play It Again Sam
The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Adaptation
Bull Durham
A Night At The Opera
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Joe Gola
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I like this one too. The whole sequence with the face in the wall is really chilling. I just wish it was starring someone other than Julie Harris; she's a good fit and all, but I find the performance a little grating.

nycavri wrote:
And had I really simply missed the lesbian subplot all these years?

Same here! I had seen it a couple times when I was younger and never picked up on that, but then I watched it again last year and was like "hey, wait...."
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Avri
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Gola wrote:
I just wish it was starring someone other than Julie Harris; she's a good fit and all, but I find the performance a little grating.


Maybe that's why it's always Karen Black in my head . . .
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D. Watson
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Good choice, I like this movie alot. I always lump this one together with Huouse on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price. I must have seen them back to back on TCM on some October night one time.
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