Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of ghosts, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent death and insanity. With him are the skeptical young Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion. As time goes by it becomes obvious that they have gotten more than they bargained for as the ghostly presence in the house manifests itself in horrific and deadly ways. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Nelson Gidding's initial concept for the script was that Eleanor had experienced a nervous breakdown and had been hospitalized, and that the house was the hospital, the other characters were staff and patients, and the booms and knockings were the result of shock treatments. The entire story would have been inside the head of a mentally ill woman. However, upon discussing this with author Shirley Jackson (who simply regarded it as a haunted-house story), he decided to backpedal on that idea, but still emphasized Eleanor's crumbling sanity in his final script. See more »
Look closely at Dr. Markway as he folds his paper at the breakfast table and you can see he is holding a cigarette in his left hand. In the very next shot, Markway is holding the cigarette in his right hand instead. See more »
Dr. John Markway:
An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there... walked alone.
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This movie is a genuine Hitchcock-esque classic. Predating modern special effects, this movie subtly maneuvers the viewer into a crescendo of paranoia. My mother introduced me to this movie when I was still very young (and since the terror is of the psychological variety, it is a strangely age-appropriate movie for youngsters who wish to see scary movies).
I think that the casting, concept, and script are all brilliant. This movie does not need the glitz of Hollywood effects because there is enough cranial content to more than compensate for what most people nowadays consider necessary visual enhancements.
The cast has an amazing chemistry and plausibility. I don't recommend this movie to effects-addicts. If you appreciate well-executed theatre, believable acting, using your OWN imagination, then... see for yourself!
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