June 13, 2015
Haunted House Movies
The Haunting (1963): An old school chiller, based on Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”. In an old, infamously haunted New England house, Dr. John Markway recruits a medium, a clearly unstable woman and a probable heir to the estate, for a study on paranormal activity. Does it sound familiar? That’s because you are likely to have seen the 1999 remake. I admit I saw the remake first (which made no sense at all) and then the original. My vote clearly goes to the 1963 version. Captivating performances (especially from Julie Harris), well-written and produced; need I say more?
Altar / The Haunting of Radcliffe House (2014): Meg, Alec and the kids move into an old house on the Yorkshire Moors to supervise its restoration, when a series of unexplainable events occur, presaging an imminent threat. I am OK with themes that have been done a thousand times before, as long as there is something original about them (with “Altar” not being such an example). Way too many clichés in this one and as for the twist in the end, well, it didn’t work. It did remind me of “The Prayer Tree” (BBC); same story, different cast. The house was nice, though – minus the psychotic dead Victorians.
Más Negro Qué La Noche / Darker than Night (2014): A remake of the 1975 Mexican film “Más Negro Que la Noche” (Blacker than Night), but sadly not as good as the original. When Aunt Ofelia dies, Greta, her beloved niece, inherits both a mansion and a black cat (what more can a girl ask for). Greta, alongside a vast group of friends, soon move in and start throwing wild parties like there’s no tomorrow (how insightful of them). Beker, the black cat, drowns (with a little help) in the mansion's pool and it is then that the horror truly strikes. Margarita Sanz, (as Evangelina, the housekeeper), is the only person who can actually act in this film and the only reason why one might want to give it a chance (apart from the old-fashioned house which is always enough of a reason for me).
Deadline (2009): Let’s ignore the disturbing image of Brittany Murphy in the bathtub, shall we? By the way, whose marketing idea was that? Alice, an emotionally unstable writer, escapes from her abusive boyfriend to an uninhibited house in the middle of nowhere. She needs to collect herself and also complete a script before the deadline is up. Soon, strange noises and shadowy figures will lead her to the attic, where she finds a shoebox of tapes, made by the couple who used to live in the house. If long pauses get on your nerves, “Deadline” is not a movie for you. On the other hand, the house is gorgeous, and makes up for all other weaknesses (story and acting-wise). I am such a quality seeker…