Naturally, the thread title implies that I didn't like the film at all during the first run, and I would even venture to say I hated it. Curiously enough, my main gripe with it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you don't see ghosts and whatnot (well there's one exception, but more on that later). The main problem I had with it was the character of Eleanor Lance. I was absolutely annoyed to death with Eleanor's character. She was whiney, bitchy, uptight, obnoxious, etc. etc. I was hoping the house would just open up and swallow her whole. Her paranoid ramblings detracted from what could've been an extraordinary exercise in creepiness. Are we supposed to feel some sort of sympathy for her? It's characters like hers that give women a bad reputation as dissolving pools of hysteria during moments of terror. The first time I saw Robert Wise's The Haunting was the summer after my senior year of high school. Since then, I've watched several greats of cinema since such as Lawrence of Arabia, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and some others. Adding to this is the fact that I've taken a film class, matured in film tastes, and heard some recent recommendations of the film. Because of this, I decided to give the film a second chance. Well, wouldn't you know, history repeats itself, and I find the film even worse then the first time I saw it. My main gripe remains. Eleanor still annoys the living s**t out of me. I just wanted to jump straight into the movie, grab the woman by the throat and yell, "You stupid b***h, what the f**k is wrong with you! CALM DOWN FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!" What makes her even more annoying are her inner monologues. I can't believe the number of I had every time she kept going on and on about the house. Her paranoid ramblings do not draw sympathy from the audience. It evoked only my ire. I also picked up some other things I thought were awful about the movie: paper-thin supporting characters (read, its one-minded focuse on Eleanor), plain silliness, some really cheap scares, and other things. I don't really know if it was by design, but the film focused primarily on Eleanor (needless to say, it was to my displeasure). It was a poor design to say the least. We're never given any true insight into any of the other three "major" supporting characters. Luke Sanderson, Theodora, and Dr. John Markway were simply convenient plot devices, the first two serving as Dr. John Markway's assistants and the doctor serving as the whole catalyst for film happening in the first place. Besides some over-the-top expressions of shock from their faces, we never get details on how the three secondary characters feel and react to Hill House. Plain silliness comes in at certain points in the film. For example, there's an exchange during a dinner scene where for some strange reason, Mrs. Dudley comes out to announce the time. I busted out in laughter. It was so misplaced you'd think you were watching a comedy. The film might as well have an Englishman come out of nowhere and yell, "Four o' clock and all is well". The other thing I thought was plain silly was the lesbian undertone to the relationship between Theodora and Eleanor. What good does that serve the narrative? It's no wonder why the remake just went out and made the charater blatantly bisexual. Another point of plain silliness is the characters' reaction to the cold spot in the nursery. Talk about some extremely bad acting. The cold breath part was pretty cool (and added to the creepiness), but when the characters opened their mouths, all credibility of a haunting presence is thrown out the window. Yet another plain point of silliness was during the death of Hugh Crain's second wife. The premise is good, but the execution is terrible. The actress put on a terrible performance, and in no way was I convinced that she was pushed down the stairs by something haunting Hill House. For a film that is so venerated for its "there's no ghosts, yet it's scary", it had several really cheap scares. One that comes immediately to mind is when the doctor finally coaxes Eleanor into coming down the stairs. When she turns around, the ghostly figure of the doctor's wife comes out of nowhere. Was a simply jump scare really needed after having established so much spooky atmosphere? Maybe the filmmakers realized that the audience might not be scared at this point and must resort to cheap thrills to get a reaction out of them. A scene that I thought was horribly overrated and was another cheap scare was the "face in the wall" scene. First off, the face is like any other face somebody with an active imagination can come up with when staring at a wall, or in my case, the rocks making up my chimney. That's not scary. During this scene there are unnatural sounds that are going on behind the wall. That is in and of itself pretty terrifying, but then you hear Eleanor's incessant inner monolouge and paranoid ramblings, which quickly detract from the suspensful sequence. During this entire time, we hear her rambling about how her hand is being held too tightly by Theodora. Only at the end does she (and the audience) realize that Theodora was sleeping at the other end of the room. What's terrible about this scene is her over-acting (look at how she holds up her hand), and the fact that the audience never really sees her holding somebody's hand. I think it asks too much on the audience to assume that something was holding onto Eleanor's hand. It's just as silly for me to assume that my hands been chopped off just because I can't feel it every time I wake up in the morning (goes to show I sleep on it a lot). My last gripe mostly has to do with the terror and danger aspect of the film. How is the audience supposed to be horrified if one can't even acknowlege the danger the house is supposed to impose on its characters? Banging on the walls, cold spots, and whispers in the night aren't going to kill the characters. If no harm is being done to these characters, how is the audience supposed to feel any sense of primal dread which is the main force behind horror? I'm going to make the argument that Eleanor was responsible for her own death, and that the whole steering "wheel" turning left and right to signify ghostly possession was terribly weak. Having said that negative things about the film, there are actually some good points. The introduction (besides 2nd Mrs. Crane's death) did an excellent job of setting the initial tone of the film (but sadly, it goes downhill from there). The special effects were excellent, and I'd even say would exceed certain CGI shots (e.g. the expanding door). Set design was great. It had all the bells and whistles one would expect from a haunted house. But that's why I come to the Home Theater Forum. To be refuted and reeducated. Hell, I've grown a lot of appreciation for 2001: A Space Odyssey (but that's as far as it goes ). Maybe the same will happen with Robert Wise's The Haunting. Edited for further comments.