There are no slashers, murderers, or satanic rituals.  The Haunting is more psychological in its approach to the unseen.
This is the Kat in the Hollywood Jesus office


By Kat Bruce (16)
with David Bruce

Some Houses Are Born Bad Sleep Tight

Liam Neeson as Dr. David Marrow.
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Theo.
Owen Wilson as Luke Sanderson.
Lili Taylor as Nell.
A Roth/Arnold production, released by DreamWorks Pictures. Director Jan De Bont. Producers Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth, Colin Wilson. Executive producer Jan De Bont. Screenplay by David Self, based on "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson. Cinematographer Karl Walter Lindenlaub. Editor Michael Kahn. Costumes Ellen Mirojnick. Music Jerry Goldsmith. Production design Eugenio Zanetti. Supervising art director Tomas Voth. Art directors Martin Laing, Troy Sizemore. Set decorator Cindy Carr.
Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes.
PG-13 for intense horror sequences.
     Most haunted house movies begin the same. A group of people gather in an unfamiliar claustrophobic house, and are terrorized for a number of days by unseen forces.  The Haunting is similar to this tried and true formula, but with major differences. There are no slashers, murderers, or satanic rituals.  The Haunting is more psychological in its approach to the unseen. 
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     The movie begins with Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) doing a study on fear. He puts an ad in the paper soliciting willing people who have trouble sleeping. He offers $900 a week for those participating in his study of insomnia. Or so he says. What he is really doing is a study on fear, he chooses Hill House (pronounced Hell House) because of its frightening and ancient presence. I believe that he chooses insomniacs for his study because their sleepless nights make them more vulnerable to hallucinations.

      He draws three people to Hill House: Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a woman of the world whose outward bravado isn’t all it seems; Luke (Owen Wilson), the cynic of the group who is the first to suspect that Dr. Marrow’s study has nothing to do with sleeping; and the most sensitive of the group Nell (Lili Taylor). From the moment of her arrival, Nell seems mysteriously drawn to the mansion…and the attraction is frighteningly mutual.

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      Their first day at Hill House they learn that there is only one form of communication to the outside; Dr. Marrow's cell phone. The three subjects suddenly feel "cut off" from the outside, adding to the suspense. Dr. Marrow tells the three of the legend behind the mansion. The original owner of the house, textile baron Hugh Crain, loved children. He owned a Mill where children worked for him. Wanting to enjoy fatherhood he seeks out a wife. Despite his repulsive face features he marries the town beauty. In high hopes of raising his own children, he builds on to the house; which soon becomes a mansion. Sculptures of children dominate the house. His wife is barren and can't give birth, which causes them to divorce. Anger takes over and he kills all the children that work at his Mill, before they turn 13 (he doesn't hire teens). He remarries and has one biological child; he lets her live. The biggest revelation in the movie is when Nell finds that this was her grandfather and he is now terrorizing the children's souls.
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    During the first night Nell is haunted by ghostly children. She takes comfort in their presence instead of fearing them. The children show her the truth about her past. They need her to set them free from purgatory; they were unrightfully killed. The only way to do this is to somehow hex her grandfather into the doors of purgatory. The doors of purgatory are beautifully sculptured doors that lead to the center room of the house. On these doors are sculptured children guarded by skeletons that are neither good nor bad.
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     As the movie concludes she's wearing a white gown, standing in front of the doors of purgatory, and yelling at her grandfather to come and get her.   As he nears her the doors suck him in through her body which is in a cross figure.   In her crucified position the children's souls lifted her soul up into the sky. Sound familiar?!?

I have been so curious about this film.
It is one of several current films that explore death.
Something seems to be going on in our culture.
And this film seems to reflect our culture's inner spiritual quest.

What happens to innocent children when they die?
What happens to those who murder children?
Are there spirits around us?
Is there more than just Heaven and Hell?
Is there a purgatory?
Is there a limbo?
Are there degrees of Heaven?
Is Heaven the same for all?
Are there degrees of Hell?
Is Hell the same for all?

Here is a film for a whole group to see.
Imagine the conversation afterwards!
Do it!  Take your club, friends, group.
And do the conversation thing. You'll love what happens.

This film is loaded with great images, too.
It has a women dying in a crucified position,
setting the spirits of the innocent children free.
It has a scene of Nell's spirit leaving her body at death.
It connects with our fears of the supernatural.

I could go on....
Here is a film that is well worth your time to talk about.


Subject: The Haunting '99 and '63
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000
From: Roy Frank Goester

Goester Film Club Here. My group were wondering where the houses are that the movies were filmed in in both movies- yours in 1999 and the original in 1963 starring Julie Harris and cast. I do know that yours was filmed in studio, but what about the exterior of the place? Mostly, can you find out for us the location of the original HillHouse in 1963?? We would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time and effort. Your movie is Fantastic and scarey.
R.F.G. of G.F.C.
Our E-Mail Address is:
Roy Frank Goester
Respectfully yours.

THE HAUNTING, TM © 1998 Dreamworks LLC & Amblin Entertainment, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.