The Haunting

Every night of television now, in advance of Hallowe’en, is rife with horror and gore. If you look hard enough you may find some classic films amongst the never-ending slasher fest.  I have never been a huge monster movie fan although I have very fond memories as a kid of putting together those now highly collectible Aurora monster models. I had the Wolfman, the Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera. If only my parents had advised me to leave those models hermetically sealed in their boxes I’d be recouping a small fortune in mid-life.

As much as I enjoyed their assembly (maybe it was the glue) the iconic movie monsters did not really strike terror into my fluttering young heart. It was the suggestive ghost move that really had me sleeping with the closet light on…and the worst (and by that, I mean the best) of them all was the 1963 film entitled The Haunting. The Haunting scared me so badly that I bear the psychological scars to this day. And, of course, the irony is that the film showed you nothing..no blood, no gore, no gargoyles morphing through the glory of computer animation. Not a single person in this film misbehaved with a power tool.

The Haunting did it all with the power of suggestion. You thought you saw things. There were sounds in the night that no one would want to hear. I don’t think I slept for a month after I first saw this movie…and even afterwards I had one eye continuously propped open. I have never experienced anything remotely paranormal in my life. I keep looking for it. I’m ready if it happens. But, so far, there has been nothing. If I did experience a night like the characters in The Haunting you’d have to keep me in a cell like Dracula’s Renfield or push me deep into a closet like that girl in The Ring.

I know I have nightmares to this day that are rooted in viewing The Haunting. They remade it in 1999 and, predictably, it was an orgy of computer effects and sledgehammer symbolism. The remake was a joke.

But if you find the original I can promise you no one in the room will be laughing.

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6 Responses to “The Haunting”

  1. Danny Bailey Says:

    I love the Aurora references Dave. Do you remember ” The Forgotten Prisoner ?”

  2. Funny you should mention ‘The Haunting.’ That was also the scariest film I ever watched and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. What was it about some of those old suspense movies that made them so much more special than the multitude of bad movies they churn out today ? The remake of ‘The Haunting’ was almost unwatchable. The other scary event in my life involved those Aurora monsters you mentioned. During an earthquake in the middle of the night one of these monsters fell from above my window and scared me half to death !

    • I think we were engaging more of our imaginations back in the 50’s and 60’s. The Outer Limits used to scare the hell out of me too. Hallowe’en seemed to be steeped in a much spookier ambience. Now..they go to shopping malls.

  3. Are those models worth something?

    I just threw all mine in the trash.

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