The Thursday List, Episode 8
"The Haunting" (1963)
A scientist, two psychic sensitives, and a skeptic go to check out a very haunted house indeed, and no hilarity ensues whatsoever. Robert Wise's 1963 film adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House, is considered by many, including this reviewer, as the best haunted house movie ever made. A solid story and script coupled with amazing technical direction plus an excellent cast give this film an atmosphere of unease, darkness, mystery, and psychological horror that just about can't be beat, and the best thing is that by and large it's a slow burn from beginning to end. It's masterful. Highly recommended.
"The Legend of Hell House" (1973)
There is no such slow burn in 1973's "The Legend of Hell House". Once it gets going, it keeps going and doesn't really let up, just gives you enough time to breathe. Adapted by Richard Matheson from his own novel, this film has the same premise as "The Haunting" but approaches from a different angle and much more ferociously. The cast shines, especially Roddy McDowell, and the direction is determinedly '70s and very effective. It may not be the best haunted house film ever, but it's close... and probably the most fun to watch. Highly engaging, highly energetic, and... Highly Recommended.
"Event Horizon" (1997)
A bit overambitious but well done and with a great attitude, "Event Horizon" is probably the best haunted house in space movie ever made. It's more than a hair over the top and sometimes tends to try to hard, but there's something about the film that just screams underdog. It's got a good script and direction, and the cast does pretty well. It just keeps barely not quite coming completely together. Having watched it more than a few times, I believe there's a good, fun, healthy attitude about the film, and it's really great fun to watch, especially with friends, which makes raises from average to slightly above average. And so while your mileage may vary, I say... Recommended.