Dir. Robert Wise, 1963
Starring: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom
~ ‘Creepy Mansion’ B&B ~
Discounts for Queer Groups.
This isn’t the first or last film to tell the story of a bunch of strangers thrown into a creepy mansion for a few nights, but it may well be the cleverest and gayest of them all!
By the late 1950s, Freudian psychology had well reached the masses.
Ordinary people were familiar with the theories that there are different parts
to our psyche (roughly, a moral side and a wild side), that humans can only
function in society because they repress their instincts, and that a lot of
what we repress is floating in the ‘unconscious’ —haunting us— and is likely to come out somehow… One way of
enjoying The Haunting is by seeing
this mad house as a metaphor for an individual psyche: each character in this
motley crew represents one aspect of human nature. Needless to say, since we
are talking about repression and the unconscious here, sex plays a big part.
The film is peppered with queer clues (watch out for the lesbian statues!), and
one of its main storylines concerns the seduction of a woman by another woman.
Didn’t Freud himself say that fundamentally we are all bisexual? Well, there
you are. If this mansion is a person’s head, the person is lesbian. And the thing she is most afraid of, and the cause of all the 'supernatural' disturbances in the film is, actually, her own lesbianism.
Considered to be one of the best horror films ever made, The Haunting is actually full of wickedly funny moments, much like a bar of dark chocolate stuffed with unexpected crunchy nuts. And lets not forget the camera work! This is a masterclass on how to create unbearable tension without CGI monsters or buckets of blood. Today’s filmmakers are still trying to catch up with this great film from 1963.
Dublin Film Qlub 2012