The Innocents (1961)
Directed by: Jack Clayton
Written by: Truman Capote & William Archibald, based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Pamela Franklin, Martin Stephens, Megs Jenkins, Peter Wyngarde, Isla Cameron, Michael Redgrave, Clytie Jessop
Okay, that truly was bizarre. About a young lady who comes to this crazy old house to be the governess to a couple of orphaned children. While she's there, she sort of goes nuts and decides that the house is haunted by two dead servants who are possessing the children.
It manages to be extremely fucking creepy without really showing you anything. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement, what with the spooky faces looming out of the darkness and shit. Man, that freaked me out.
The whole thing has that black and white thing going for it. Shadows and all that, you know. A lot like it's counterpart, The Haunting (I say counterpart because they were made around the same time, they're equally creepy, and they represent the two different haunted house stories).
Deborah Kerr is really scary. Scarier than the creepy kids, scarier than the ghosts. She's also quite beautiful, that Deb. Sigh...
Anyway, the kids are quite good, which is important. If the kids suck, than you might as well just give up. Pamela Franklin grew up to do battle with Hell House.
The movie had just about everything going for it. It had the atmosphere, it had the substance, it had British accents. I just love those British accents, especially when they call each other "Dear" and "my pet" all the time. It's just so fucking precious.
I mean, there's only so much you can do with a haunted house story, as there really only are two (this one being in the same vein as, say, The Changeling and The Others, which is practically the same movie. This one doesn't have The Twist, though... I'm not going to reveal The Twist, as tempting as it is. I'll just elbow my fellow members of The Others club and have a chuckle at the expense of the uninitiated), but this one does everything it's supposed to. And, as I've hinted at, it's pretty scary. Not scary, but creepy. I can't think of another synonym for creepy today. I apologize.
Of course, this one's sort of ambiguous about whether or not the house is really haunted, managing to maintain this ambiguousness to the end and beyond, which is a difficult feat. No, even at the end you aren't sure if the house is actually haunted or if she's just psychotic. Of course, I believe strongly in the undead, so I'd be on the side of the house being haunted, but there are probably some unimaginative realists out there who would disagree with me. Mind you, it is stated at the beginning that she is an imaginative woman... I could sit here and analyze the damn thing all day, but I've got more important things to do. Actually, I don't, but I can pretend.
Moving on from my real life, and struggling to get back on topic... I don't really like staying on topic. Have you noticed that? That's the reason for all of those crazy parenthetical remarks I stick in all over the place. That and I really like brackets. They're some of the coolest punctuation there is. I especially like square brackets. ]
Fuck. I liked this movie, and I recommend it to anybody who hasn't seen it yet. It's a nice, light ghosty story. I mean light as in bloodless and not heartstoppingly terrifying, like, say, The Grudge. God I hate that movie. I guess that's be the third kind of haunted house movie. I en't read The Turn of the Screw yet, but I mean to. I mean to do a lot of things. I mean to get a job. Ha! As if.