Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Haunting


 Figure 1, Peter West, (2003), The Haunted still

This is the original 1963 film of The Haunting directed by Robert Wise and was full of techniques that incoporated the tableau vivant - style, one example is the scenes symbolising death because the screen enters a first person view to indicate the viewpoint of where the character is at that moment. Then frame crops out a lot of the space and figure and concerntrates on the limp hand or feet that enter the shot to indicate that the body has become lifeless. Another use of cropping in this film was used on the main character 'Eleanor' and she narrates her thoughts to the audience, this technique feels theatrical because it engages with the viewer so that they get a clearer understanding of her reactions towards the house, characters and sounds that drives the plot. "Eleanor narrates her drive by uttering what amounts to inanities; or at least expressing things that we could care less about."(Sponseller, 2001: @, the reviewer expresses the use of hearing Eleanor's thoughts doesn't work in the film because it feels as if the character talks about her silly dreams and desires but this works because it shows the understanding of why Eleanor is completely drawn to the haunted house to escape her dull life with her sister.

 Figure 2, Peter West, (2003), The Haunted still

 Figure 3, Peter West, (2003), The Haunted still

The characters looking into the direction of where the noise originated was also effective because the audience can understand the fear of a sudden door slam or pacing foot steps. The cropped scene of an open door, curtains moving and a door slaming shut made it more believeable that an undescribing presense was terrorising the house. These ideas create the idea of a creature or objects coming to life, lurking when no one could see it, the scene where Eleanor is trying to sleep but is terrified from the sounds and holds a mysterious hand that she thinks is Theo but discovers that there was no one near her is a chiling example of something feeling real when it can't be seen as a being coming to life.

 Figure 4, Peter West, (2003), The Haunted still

There was a strong connection between Eleanor and the house because at times the house was planting possessive ideas in her head. Two scenes that demonstrate this was Eleanor looking up at the window to the play room and she leans over and begins to fall, the other was the scene where Eleanor has the urge to climb the dangerious stairs in the library and they begin to creak and slowly unhinge from the framework, the character then almost falls from the top as if being pushed. The struggle of the connection overcomes Eleanor in the final scenes of the film where she has been forced to drive away but something else appears to be driving and trying to keep her there, which results the car crashing into a tree and killing her indicating the idea of the only way for Eleanor to stay. "A lot of the film has scenes where the voices in Eleanor's head are doing the talking. Her rationalization of events, her fears, her goals, her wants and needs. This is one superb characterization of a woman tormented by her inner demons, now facing demons from the paranormal." (West, 2003: @, West shows that Eleanor has a purpose in the house because all these strange things are centered around her and eventhough the events are disturbing, she feels some comfort in the attention she gains from the other characters.

 Figure 5, Billy Loves Stu, (2010), The Haunted still

The idea of the uncanny was used in the form of the playroom as it was a happy place and the audience would immediately think of a friendly environment to connect to this room but because of the dark history of the deaths that have occured there and the room always locked to shield the character's from the unpleasantness of the truth. The use of the draught spot changed the way the viewer would perceive this room because the atmosphere would be disturbing and a place to advoid rather than a space that invites people into. "...I feel is perfect to be watched at Halloween because it has that olden ghost story feel to it which Halloween deserves. Because of The Haunting’s sheer class in direction, cinematography and sound design..." (Spaws, 2010: @ ), this quote implies that the film has successfully created the right atmosphere and tone through the quality of production gaining the right camera positions, lighting and sounds so that the haunting would be more believeable.


Figure 1, West Peter, (2003), The Haunted still from film, Movie Reviews, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/ 11/ 10

Figure 2, West Peter, (2003), The Haunted still from film, Movie Reviews, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/ 11/ 10

Figure 3, West Peter, (2003), The Haunted still from film, Movie Reviews, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/ 11/ 10

Figure 4, West Peter, (2003), The Haunted still from film, Movie Reviews, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/ 11/ 10

Figure 5, Stu Loves Billy, (2010), The Haunted still from film, Movie Reviews, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/ 11/ 10

Spaws Bruno, (2010), The Haunting (1963) - Top 100 horror films, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/11/10

Sponseller Brandt, (2001), The Haunting (1963), Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/11/10

West Peter, (2003), The Haunting (1963) DVD Review, Avaliable @:, Accessed on: 30/11/10

1 comment:

  1. Great Adam - really - some good insights, nice connections between the film and the wider topic of Unit 3; you've obviously spent your time thinking about this movie, and doing the clerical stuff - Harvard Method and illustration list - however, just a note, when it comes to the citation in the text, you don't need to include within the brackets the website too - leave that info for the bibliography - so, instead of

    (Spaws, 2010: @ )

    it should be just (Spaws, 2010).

    Adam, I'm expecting great things from you - you're working really hard, following instructions and taking on new skills; this is all I can ask of a good student, and I'm pleased - but, as I expressed in the crit, I'd like to see more of your character, and more confidence too.