The Producer & Director who gave us one of the greatest musical ‘West Side Story’ also gave a chilling and brilliant psychological horror, the same year Hitchcock made his the most anomaly ‘The Birds’. Great film-critic Pauline Kael called it, ‘elegantly sinister scare movie’. It opens briefing us the 80 years enigmatic and deadly history of haunted hill house. Next a curious anthropologist arrives to haunted house for the psychic and paranormal research and starts investigating the abnormal truths. Accompanying him are three ensemble companions who some or other how have strange inclinations towards supernatural stuff and work as stimulants to the plot, especially abnormal Eleanor (played memorably by Julie Harris) who’s suffering from inherent guilt conscious psyche about her mother and guided by a strange hallucinatory spell.
Those who love classic B&W noirs will surely enjoy watching the sinister interior spell of the haunted house. Use of canted frames, reflective mirrors, long staircases, statuettes and labyrinthine rooms with odd and pounding doors add enigma and thrill to any viewers. The staircase sequence is really tour de force and as breathtakingly tense filled and as unexpectedly shocking as some of Hitchcock’s best. Robert Wise managed to bring the scary stuff without using any of today’s conventional gimmicks, no ghosts, no zombies, no torture, no bloodshed. Only unsolved mystery with brilliant use of camera movement, lighting, editing and sound recording.
Highly recommended to all classic lovers and fans of psychological horror/thrillers.