2. A black and white film: The Haunting (1963)
List Progress: 8/12
When the film The Haunting was made, the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House was only four years old. But director Robert Wise clearly saw how the novel was going to become an absolute classic of horror writing, and he adapted it accordingly with an absolute classic of horror cinema. This atmospheric, dread-filled movie makes changes to the source material as needed, but it has so much respect for Jackson’s novel and the spirit behind it. The end result is, in a word, haunting.
The Haunting tells the story of Hill House, a New England manor that is just wrong. The house has been steeped in tragedy since its construction, but even by design, it is slightly off and corrupted. Doctor Markway is a researcher studying the supernatural, and he has gathered a number of psychically-attuned people to try and lure the ghosts of Hill House into the open. There is Theo, a woman with ESP; Luke, the charming nephew of the current owners of the property; and Eleanor Lance, an emotionally-broken woman who has spent the past eleven years caring for her domineering invalid mother. These troubled people all bounce off of each other in the pressure cooker of Hill House, and it is painfully beautiful to see everything build up and eventually explode.
There is not too much to say about The Haunting other than that is a beautiful, artistic piece of horror filmmaking, with a fascinating approach to camerawork and layered queer subtext that later adaptations like the 2018 Netflix mini-series largely bungle. For fans of classic film, horror, queer themes, and just good movies, this is a great way to spend a chilling evening.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.