The Curse of the Cat People

At this crazy moment, when film history is caught in the grip of multiple clichés that grind on and on and on—puerile revenge + empowerment fantasies (pioneered by Quentin Tarantino), a lazy equation between the mass-marketed and the genuinely popular, an even lazier equation between audio-visual entertainment and technological progress—it might come as a shock to revisit Val Lewton’s nine-film horror cycle for RKO in the ’40s.

The Haunting

The question of possession looms over The Haunting (1963), with regards to both Hill House, the labyrinthine Victorian mansion in which most of the action takes place, and the film’s story, an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s now-canonical 1959 Gothic The Haunting of Hill House that’s remarkably faithful in plot, if not in spirit.