S4E10M – The Haunting (movie)*


Wherein we weigh the two filmic adaptations of this supernatural horror story by two journeymen directors with somewhat similar tutelage, both of whom were supported by talented and capable casts, but with diverging results: one held close to the book’s psychological leanings while the other, bolstered by advancements in special effects, reached for a more thrilling terror experience. Amanda Andros (playwright: https://www.instagram.com/scribblergrll/) and Laura Valle (Major Horror community fansite: https://www.facebook.com/welovescary/) join me again as we return twice more to this not sane haunted house (with yet another review to follow later). 

Our discussions were lengthy and centered mostly around the production aspects for both movies. Amanda brought up the auteur style of directing, and while we contrasted these movies with that directorial form, we also saw a great deal of effort put into these visual expressions of the story. Laura had seen the first movie before and felt it was just as enjoyable to re-watch, but she was sorely disappointed in the later version which she had hoped would simply be a fun ride if nothing else. Ryan agreed with the overall consensus of his guests that the earlier black and white film captured all too well the psychological horror present in the book, yet the later director’s background in action films seemed to lead this work too far away from what made the original story great: i.e. the delicate balance between the psychological and supernatural.

We had loads of fun delving deeply into the backgrounds of these two talented directors and the various thoughtful elements they incorporated into their films. Contrasting the results led to interesting talk about various competing theories which directors must choose or blend when they undertake to make a visual representation of a work of literature. In many ways, this episode exemplifies the core of what the podcast is about. 

So, ignore creaky doors, incorporeal mutterings, those strange wall scrawlings, and odd spots of temperature shift–lean in, listen, stream and thrall with podcast musings and scary delight!




“The Haunting (1963)” by Robert Wise (Julie Harris) (movie)

Ryan: 5 Stars “…The 1963 Film is a cleverly undertook film that perfectly captures the essence of Jackson’s book while empathizing the more psychological aspects in just the right way so that something slightly different and sinisterly Beautiful is realized…

Amanda: 4 1/2 Stars “…The 63’ version was very Hitchcockian and Orson Wells with the camera angles, it was visually striking…it was a very close adaptation and visually enthralling as well as with the sounds and dialog…lot of internal monologuing in the 63’ version…

Laura:  5 Stars “…The 63’ version is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book that really…used a lot of fantastic camera work and sound…was really scary and effective…

*** * ***

“The Haunting (1999)” by Jan de Bont (Liam Neeson) (movie)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…while the 1999 remake attempts to pay tribute to the older cult classic but from a new angle by interjected thriller elements and choosing to focus on the supernatural elements which the previous film tended to avoid in a more grandiose way so that it tends to overshadow itself despite the heaps of talent involved…

Amanda: 1/2 Star “…which was also very captivating. The 99’ version is just a grotesque funhouse and distortion of the novel…it was not faithful to the vision of the novel…

Laura: 1 Star “…the 99’ version veered quite a bit from the original source material and was kind of a big mess of special effects and over the top…”  



On this episode we mentioned the real life hotel in England where some of the cast stayed and which served as the outside of Hill House for the 1963 movie. To learn more about the Eddington Park Hotel visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettington_Park_Hotel, or book a stay there: https://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/ettingtonpark/#. Some of the strange experiences of the crew for that film reminded Amanda of the infamous curse alleged to afflict the cast and crew of the Poltergeist film series. Snopes did an article on this topic, “Is the ‘Poltergeist’ Curse Real?” which is found here:  https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/poltergeist-curse/.

The film school interview of director Jon de Bont mentioned by Ryan on the show took place at the New York Film Academy for the director’s release of his hit film “Twister,” and you can watch this here: https://youtu.be/CBuj1N-jVa0. Ryan also compared some of the over-the-top special effects in the 1999 movie to a typical concert by outrageous heavy metal rockers GWAR. You can watch the official music video from one of their original hit singles “Sick Of You” on the Metal Blade Records music channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbnm-0r3suM.

Last, but certainly not least, we made much ado about the cameo appearance of incomparable actor Bruce Dern in the 1999 movie, which reminded Laura of his role in cult classic film “The Burbs” directed by former NDIOS subject director Joe Dante. Enjoy this short compilation clip of the actor in the aforementioned film aptly titled “The Burbs: Bruce Dern, Master of Physical Comedy” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbQbflIH8E8.


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

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