The Haunting vs. Psycho

Image

Image

With the recent death of actress Julie Harris I was prompted to rent the old classic horror film, The Haunting. Don’t confuse it with the hideous 1980’s remake starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Liam Neeson, the original is far superior. If you haven’t seen it, and you like suspense vs. blood and guts its well-worth the time.

The Haunting was made in 1963, three years after Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho. The heroine of Haunting is plane-jane Eleanor (Julie Harris) Nan to her friends. Like Norman Bates she has been the long-suffering caregiver to her ailing mother; recently deceased. Like Marion Crane she flees in a car, not entirely her own, from her hum-drum/miserable existence, heading for a gothic mansion, deep in the wilderness, that will be her undoing. During the drive both women have an ongoing debate in their heads, pondering this decision and its ramifications for their lives.

Eleanor’s destination is Crane mansion, yes both films have Cranes in them! Shot in glorious black and white, the interiors of the Bates Motel office and the Crane Mansion are filled with stilted images of life. Norman’s office is filled with spooky stuffed, taxidermied birds that watch Marion’s every move. Eleanor is under the surveillance of cold, maleficent statues, gargoyles, and walls that appear to have eyes. Our heroines are being watched by inhuman things!

Both films have the hidden and lost charm of older films. That is, first viewings are deceptive, you think you understand… but do you? It takes multiple viewings for the mystery to unravel, and even then do you really understand?

Next: Haunted House as Mother?

Advertisements

One thought on “The Haunting vs. Psycho

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s