When: Fri., Sept. 3, 7 p.m. 2010
So much better than the 1999 remake with Catherine Zeta-Jones that it's not even worth a damn comparison, Robert Wise's 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic The Haunting of Hill House is a first-rate example of how to do a scary movie without blood, gore or even a monster. A group of investigators, including Claire Bloom, Julie Harris and Russ Tamblyn, investigate an isolated house to determine whether it's haunted (short answer: yes). A favorite of Martin Scorsese's and often ranked as one of the scariest films ever made, The Haunting is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and tension, where a banging door is as scary as a serial killer with a knife.
It's paired with the 1972 anthology film Tales From the Crypt, adapting stories from William Gaines' classic horror comics of the 1950s, which raised a mighty stink with parents (sadly, they don't adapt "Foul Play," where a murderous baseball player winds up having a game played with his dismembered body parts). It would take more than a decade for the stories to get their due with HBO's long-running series, but this is still a fun piece of twist-ending cinema with such familiar British faces as Ralph Richardson, Joan Collins and Peter Cushing.
Eight bucks buys you tickets to the double feature, which starts with The Haunting at 7 p.m.—Zack Smith