CinemaLit: The Haunting (1963) | Mechanics' Institute

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CinemaLit: The Haunting (1963)
CinemaLit October 2023: – Shades of Gothic

October 13 – The Haunting (1963), 112 minutes, directed by Robert Wise, starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, and Russ Tamblyn.

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson's acclaimed 1959 gothic horror novel, was transferred to the screen with great effectiveness as The Haunting. Directed by the ever-versatile Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Sound of Music), the set-up sounds banal and predictable, but the film is anything but. Four people of disparate backgrounds and motives arrive at Hill House, an imposing structure cursed with a grisly history. Everyone, from Wise and the cast to the set designers and cinematographer, combine to draw us into the horrible secrets of Hill House, with The Haunting now regarded as one of the most effective ghost tales ever put on film. (Image used with permission of Warner Bros.)

Hosted by CinemaLit Curator Matthew Kennedy with special guest film historian Lara Gabrielle.

October 2023 CinemaLit – Shades of Gothic

We're devoting October at CinemaLit to movies that have varying relations to the human fear response. Our films play on different moods while crawling under our skin. Reincarnation, possession, insanity, torture, prophecy, ghosts, and clairvoyance are featured. Our films take turns being eerie, disturbing, funny, campy, and genuinely horrifying. Let's creep out with Don’t Look Now (1973), The Haunting (1963), and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961).


Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies.

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”


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Jul 26 - 6:00 pm

July CinemaLit - Dreamgirls (2006)
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