Often overwrought in its performances, this adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House - a group of people gather in a large old house to determine whether or not a poltergeist is the source of rumours that it is haunted - still manages to produce its fair share of frissons. What makes the film so effective is not so much the slightly sinister characterisation of the generally neurotic group, but the fact that Wise makes the house itself the central character, a beautifully designed and highly atmospheric entity which, despite the often annoyingly angled camerawork, becomes genuinely frightening. At its best, the film is a pleasing reminder that Wise served his apprenticeship under Val Lewton at RKO.
Cast and crew
Julie Harris Claire Bloom Richard Johnson Russ Tamblyn Fay Compton Rosalie Crutchley Lois Maxwell Valentine Dyall