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Best Scary Movie Ever Celebrates Its 50th Birthday (TRAILER)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 29, 2013 at 12:27PM

Russ Tamblyn is showing up Tuesday night at The Regent in Westwood to do a special 50th anniversary pre-Halloween Q & A for a movie he's justifiably proud of that involved no dancing, the original 1963 "The Haunting," directed with screw-tightened efficiency by Robert Wise, who cut his teeth making movies for Val Lewton.
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'The Haunting'
'The Haunting'

Talk to Russ Tamblyn about "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" or "West Side Story" and he rolls his eyes. Enough already. But he's showing up Tuesday night at The Regent in Westwood to do a special 50th anniversary pre-Halloween Q & A for a movie he's justifiably proud of that involved no dancing, the original 1963 "The Haunting," directed with screw-tightened efficiency by Robert Wise, who cut his teeth making movies for Val Lewton. (Yes, he also directed "The Sound of Music.") 

Starring the late great Julie Harris as a mousy young woman, Eleanor, who comes into her own as the object of attention of a haunted house, the movie based on the Shirley Jackson classic "The Haunting of Hill House" is utterly terrifying. And influential. You'll see many of the psychological thriller tropes still in use today in such films as "The Conjuring"--accomplished without CGI. I first saw this as a kid; the movie features a morphing sequence that's still too intense for younger viewers. 

When "The Haunting " first opened, critic Judith Crist called it “a thoroughly satisfying ghost story for grownups... completely contemporary in its psychological overtones and implications.”  

Check out the Anniversary Classics Series page on the Landmark Theatres web site.


This article is related to: Classics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.