The Haunting (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Haunting1963

The Haunting (1963)



Critic Consensus: Both psychological and supernatural, The Haunting is a chilling character study.

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Movie Info

Anthropology professor Richard Johnson investigates reports of psychic phenomena at a "troubled" New England mansion known as Hill House. He is joined by Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, women of radically different temperaments who share a common gift for ESP. Cynical Russ Tamblyn, who stands to inherit Hill House, goes along with the paranormal investigators, hoping to get a few laughs. He doesn't -- nor does Harris, the person most adversely affected by the various ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night which reside throughout Hill House. Both Julie Harris and Claire Bloom insist to this day that they experienced genuine ghostly disturbances during the filming of The Haunting. Conversely, director Robert Wise noted that he wanted to undergo a paranormal experience, but never did.

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Julie Harris
as Eleanor Lance
Claire Bloom
as Theodora
Richard Johnson
as Dr. John Markway
Russ Tamblyn
as Luke Sanderson
Fay Compton
as Mrs. Sanderson
Rosalie Crutchley
as Mrs. Dudley
Lois Maxwell
as Grace Markway
Valentine Dyall
as Mr. Dudley
Diane Clare
as Carrie Fredericks
Ronald Adam
as Eldridge Harper
Freda Knorr
as Second Mrs. Crain
Janet Mansell
as Abigail at 6
Pamela Buckley
as First Mrs. Crain
Howard Lang
as Hugh Crain
Claud Jones
as Fat Man
Amy Dalby
as Abigail at 80
Rosemary Dorken
as Companion
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News & Interviews for The Haunting

Critic Reviews for The Haunting

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (11)

Wise brilliantly uses black and white widescreen to strand his characters in odd-shaped rooms or corridors, making the watcher's eye skitter frantically over the letterbox screen to catch every ingeniously rendered detail.

September 8, 2020 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

When The Haunting digs into the internals of its story, summons its spirits and lets them play havoc with cold reason, it has a power and fervor unmatched by any film ghost stories.

November 1, 2018 | Full Review…

People stare about in terror and squeak: 'The house, it's alive!' The picture, it's dead.

October 19, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Properly creepy, unlike like the dodgy remake.

September 25, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The artful cinematic strokes of director Robert Wise and staff are not quite enough to override the major shortcomings of Nelson Gidding's screenplay.

September 25, 2007 | Full Review…

Pretty effective when it came out; it may be a little stiff in the joints by now, but it's still a much better scare show than the recent stinker remake.

September 25, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Haunting

One of the best ever and perhaps the template for the haunted house genre. A scientist wants a team of "experts" to verify if a celebrated haunted house is the real deal or what. Robert Wise gets his scares with sound and weird camera angles, shadows and music. There's no buckets of red corn syrup, no chopping of body parts, no unkillable killing machine with a fetish for William Shatner facemasks, only the hint of something out of reach in the dark. And it has stood the test of time. Richard Johnson's English scientist whispering his lines does some considerable spooky damage as well. Julie Harris' voiceover is only a tad annoying, but bearable in the overall scheme of things.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Julie Harris' narration gets a little excessive at times but otherwise, great classic horror film that sports a great brooding atmosphere, mesmerizing cinematography, and a great ensemble cast.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

A sophisticated Gothic tale that doesn't show us anything that would actually frighten us to death but still manages to create an eerie sense of dread as it probes into the psychological and emotional unbalance faced by its protagonist and blurs the line between reality and illusion.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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