|Fig. 1 The Haunting Poster|
|Fig. 2 Carriage Accident Screenshot|
|Fig. 3 Character Screenshot|
The idea of this haunted 'diseased' house being seen as a home to Eleanor brings up, in the audiences' minds, all those things they used to worry about when they were younger. The homely and safe being tainted and changed into the 'unheimlich', the unfamiliar and unsettling. Freud mentions the use of the 'familiar' being turned into the 'unfamiliar' in order to create an unsettling atmosphere for the audience. This is all seen within his theory of 'The Uncanny', this acknowledges the fear and dread that is evoked when a viewer sees something that was once familiar to them becomes unfamiliar, for example, the door to the bedroom the characters were in, in The Haunting, is dividing them from the presence outside but before while they feel safe it begins to bend and buckle unnaturally under the weight of something. This door, that was once seen as a solid and safe boundary for them has become unnaturally moulded and bent. Another example of this is seen when Eleanor first enters the house. She believes she's alone and as she starts to feel more nervous she frightens herself by unexpectedly glimpsing her own image in a mirror. Barbara Creed describes her reaction as:"The uncanny gaze is structured in relation to the uncanny object, sensation or event in order to intensify the spectator's inner sense of foreignness, strangeness and doubleness." (Creed, 2005:30) The use of her seeing her own reflection in a familiar object, such as the mirror, makes the audience feel just as unnerved as she is. They know it is just a mirror, but in a house that's described as 'diseased' and 'haunted' they feel that even the normal, familiar objects could be dangerous. Anything showing the image of the viewer can be deemed to threaten them as their likeness could be affected by the house around them.
|Fig. 4 Eleanor and Theo Screenshot|
The Haunting is a beautifully shot film where the camera and sound does all the work the CG in the remake couldn't. The subtle take on a fairly worn haunted house theme is most welcome and appreciated by those fans of the genre. It is one that includes powerful themes and suggestive shots that need little more than a slight gesture to portray their meaning. It was refreshing to see something that had such respect for the psychological horror it wanted to be and for upholding the studios want for gore-less film.
List of Illustrations
Figure 1. Wise, Robert (1963) The Haunting Poster. At: http://tikiloungetalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/the_haunting_poster.jpg (Accessed on: 02.12.10)
Figure 2. Wise, Robert (1963) Carriage Accident Screenshot. At: http://www.thirdfactory.net/images/haunting_bracelet.jpg (Accessed on: 02.12.10)
Figure 3. Wise, Robert (1963) Character Screenshot. At: http://www.eerie-evenings.com/EttingtonParkHotel%20-%20The%20Haunting.jpeg (Accessed on: 02.12.10)
Figure 4. Wise, Robert (1963) Eleanor and Theo Screenshot. At: http://mediafiles.cineplex.com/Blog/English/350x300/thehaunting_350x300.jpg (Accessed on: 02.12.10)
Nathan, Ian (2006) The Haunting. http://www.empireonline.com/search/default.asp?search=the+haunting (Accessed on: 02.12.10)
Worland, Rick (2007) The Horror Film: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
Creed, Barbara (2005) Phallic Panic: Film, Horror and the Primal Uncanny. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press
Fuss, Diana, White, Patricia (1991) Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories. New York: Routledge