Tom Daley
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17 Horror Films Only LGBT People Understand

The Haunting (1963)

It's not only a movie that can scare the pants off you without any visible monsters or graphic violence; The Haunting also features a beautiful, chic, successful lesbian — who, by the way, has ESP. At Hill House, New York antiques dealer Theo (Claire Bloom) joins an investigator of the paranormal, Dr. Markway (Richard Johnson), another woman who's had supernatural experiences, Eleanor (Julie Harris, in a superb performance), and the house's heir, Luke (Russ Tamblyn), in an effort to determine if the creepy old mansion is truly haunted. Director Robert Wise and screenwriter Nelson Giddings adapted Shirley Jackson's great novel The Haunting of Hill House for the film, and made Theo's lesbianism a bit more obvious than in the book. When I first saw the film, at age 12, it went over my head, but now I can fully appreciate gorgeous Theo, in her Mary Quant outfits, rebuffing Luke's advances and flirting ever so coyly with the repressed, deeply troubled Eleanor. That Theo is a three-dimensional character in a film made when such representation of anyone LGBT was rare to nonexistent enhances what's already a stunning piece of cinema. Just make sure you have company when watching The Haunting, as it will scare you witless. And skip the totally unnecessary 1999 remake. — Trudy Ring


Tags: film

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