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 »
Mrs. Dudley says she sets out dinner at 6 p.m. and leaves soon afterward, when it begins to get dark. Another scene establishes the date as being October 21. Most of the northeastern US observed Daylight Savings Time through late October even before the Uniform Time Act of 1966; nevertheless, sunset in Boston that time of year is around 5:50 p.m. and could not be more than a few minutes later anywhere in New England. Mrs. Dudley might leave right after serving dinner, but it would already be twilight, and quite dark in such a heavily forested area. 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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There is no blood, there is no slashing, today this would be rated "G." But, this is the scariest movie, ever. Every time I watch this masterpiece (and I have watched it over 50 times), I see or hear something new.
The density of the black and white is incredible. The camera angles and reflection shots are unsettling. The score is appropriately terrifying, from the ringing of tiny bells to the cannon ball rocking down the hall.
The cast is excellent. The direction superb. This is horror at the peak of perfection--it is in your mind. The only thing better is to read the book by Ms. Jackson on a dark night when you are all alone, and "far from town." As Stephen King said about Shirley Jackson, "She never had to shout." Mr. Wise is to be credited with bringing her whispers to the screen.
Rent this for Halloween. Or, own it forever. I still have trouble getting to sleep after I watch this.
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