Skip to main content

National Science and Media Museum

The Haunting (12)

Robert Wise’s eerie tale, captured using creative filming techniques including distorted Panavision, is regarded as one of the best horror films of all time.

While working on West Side Story, director Robert Wise read Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House for the first time. He was impressed by how this tale of terror had gripped him, and hoped he might be able to translate some of its most hair-raising passages to the silver screen. To do so, he used a 30mm anamorphic, wide-angle lens Panavision camera—which, at the time, was technically not yet ready for use. The camera produced distortions, perfectly capturing the unnerving atmosphere Wise sought to elicit.

The story—which centres on a group of people invited to investigate a haunted house—is now iconic. Its emphasis on the psychological as well as the supernatural has secured its legacy as the haunted house film against which all others are measured.

This film is screening as part of Women in Widescreen and as part of our Robert Wise retrospective.


This screening will be introduced by Rose Butler, Associate Lecturer and Research Scholar at Sheffield Hallam University.

Don’t miss...

Book Signing: At 18.45 on Friday 11 October, Christopher Frayling will be in Pictureville Bar to sign copies of his latest book. Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece explores Sergio Leone’s iconic western and celebrates the power of classic Hollywood cinema.