Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #169

"Library, complete with ivory tower."

"Oh. I can't go in there. My... mother. That smell."

"It's just stale air."

"No no, that other smell."

"Smells sweet to me, honey. At twenty-five cents 
a book I should do alright with this room, huh?"

I know I'm not the only person that harbors ill wishes toward the character of Luke in the original film of The Haunting, since they went out of their way to give him some just desserts...

... in the execrable 1999 remake. (Literally the only good thing to come out of that dreck is that gif.) But him talking about dissembling that gorgeous library, even if it is cluttered with homicidal ghouls and bent-neck ladies, well, it's a step too far, Luke.

I have now in the past three weeks watched all three versions of Shirley Jackson's classic ghost story - Wise's original, that dastardly remake, and Mike Flanagan's 10-episode series for Netflix - and I recommend the book-ends enthusiastically. The series ends with a bit of a whimper but it's shockingly effective for the most part. Read my previous thoughts here.

Still nothing tops the 1963 film - it remains, I think, the greatest Haunted House Movie ever made (give or take The Innocents) - as I re-watched it last night for the first time in many years (you can read my real-time Twitter thoughts with some lovely gifs in this thread here) I was surprised and astonished anew by how dynamic and modern and ahead-of-its-time Wise's camera-work is in the film. 


Laramie Dean said...

I'm teaching it in my film studies unit next week.

Aquinas1220 said...

Okay... maybe it was because I had to keep pausing it to answer the trick-or-treaters, but I watched the original "Haunting" last night after years of recommendations from friends, and it just left me shrugging "meh'. It could be that other films have ripped the original off so much that it feels redundant to me. It could be that I wasn't getting into the "dated" filming style (although I love Psycho, released 3 years prior). I did love the not-so-subtle lesbian vibe Theo was giving off (pretty daring for the time), and I appreciate the more psychological fears the film leans into, but it just wasn't working. Maybe I'll give it another go.