It’s Hallowe’en and we need a horror movie. The Haunting is one of those classic New England set pieces concocted with clam chowder loaded up with corn. But it works, thanks to the haunted performance of Julie Harris, and to the cinematography, which evokes uncanny effects with no special effects at all, just light and shadow. And sound, also sound. Which might just stay with you to disturb your dreams. Martin Scorcese calls it the scariest movie he’s ever seen.
One caveat, however — the music is of the sort that Frye would have hated: all burps and blops.
Here he is in Fearful Symmetry:
Art protects us against nature: it would be impossible to find pleasure in tragedy or laugh at many of the predicaments of comedy if we did not feel this protection. In nature there is misery, in art tragedy; in nature there is mysterious evil, in art ghost stories. (CW 14, 262)