The Haunting

The Haunting Directed by Robert wise, 1963

The opening scene was almost like a painting the clouds in the sky were still, the house was shrouded in such a shadow it was only a silhouette, the only thing you could see clearly were the shrubs below. A male narrator explained the house's history.
At several parts of the film only one light would be on, or would turn when the viewer knows there is none of the characters we were introduced in there.
Several shots were ambiguous. We see one of the tenant's carers caring up some rope on a silver platter, ever so neat.
Present was also a strange backward foreshadowing in the way the last tenant died, in her last attempt to get help using her cane via knocking on the wall; Elanor and the others found a statue of the first owners and whilst they jokingly compared themselves to the characters, they seemed to either prove correct, or doom themselves, as Theo called Elanor the house carer, who incidentally killed her mother the same way she killed the 'the little girl'. 

Throughout the story we see signs that Elanor is, unstable, naive and child like. The room we first see her in is all dolled up and seems overall cutesy, through the arguing with her sister he appears to behave like her mother, a music box plays through out, she even gets teased by her sister's daughter, who incidentally does nothing about that.

To indicate the House was bad, the gates and most of the house's exterior was spiky, the house was also given human attributes"Its watching me" with that said we are shown all the windows, making the windows the eyes and the main door the mouth. slightly changing the "Eyes being the window to the soul".
She later goes on to call the house he whenever she got frustrated enough. 

Many different camera angles where used or as Elanor said "All the angles are slightly off"  in a successful attempt to disorient the viewer and make them feel what the characters are possibly feeling as it "Distorts the entire house". A present noticeable thing in the movie is the importance of women, all except maybe 2 of the statues were women, of what importance is unsure however like many of things made by man, the male figure is seen nowhere as important as the female, in a strange turnabout it has become the dominant. 

one of the many interesting after thoughts of the movie is after seeing the writing on the wall "Help Elanor come home" you realise that it appears the house is asking her to become one with the house, i.e. this is where she belongs. 

Its only once we get to the end of this story do we hear a narrator for the house again, but unlike the first time we meet it it has a female voice, it has Elanor's voice... leading us to believe that the first narrator we heard wasn't only a narrator but a someone who was killed and absorbed by the house..


  1. Hey Lyn-Dae - it's great that this has arrived on your blog - BUT - please take note of the clear instructions on your brief in regard to the presentation of your film reviews...

    "Reviews of the ‘The Unhomely Cinema’ Film programme. Please note – in addition to and support of your own critique, your reviews must include a minimum of 3 quotations from 3 different published reviews + poster art + supporting stills. Please note - Harvard Method must now be used for all quotations and all illustrations to be referenced correctly. Reviews are to include bibliography and illustration list."

    Also - please watch your spelling etc. People will judge you on the way you write - which is why I'm pushing all of you to think more carefully about this aspect of your degree output.

  2. .. oh, but I forgot to say that I like your analysis very much - the gender imbalance is interesting (did you pick up on the lesbian subtext, for instance? With Theo as the almost vampiric sexually ambiguous psychic?) Also, note the use of mirrors throughout - they're everywhere in the movie. I personally find the film very sad - I meant what I said at the end of the film 'poor Eleanor' - she is a truly tragic character. Many people find her too shrill and irritating. I find her fascinating!


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