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The Haunting

Robert Wise

We are delighted that our collaboration with V&A Dundee resumes to bring you a cinematic celebration of the most iconic fashion designer of the 1960s, Mary Quant. A design and retail pioneer, she popularised super-high hemlines and other irreverent looks that were critical to the development of the 'Swinging Sixties' scene. We hope this eclectic mix of films will inspire you to dive into a period of British history which pushed boundaries – and hemlines – in the most exciting way.

Robert Wise’s 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s classic novel The Haunting of Hill House exists at a significant cultural crossroads, at once a classically gothic throwback while also being thoroughly contemporary, with a distinctly 60s sense of vogue.

The set-up is quintessential haunted house fare; four strangers come together to investigate supernatural occurrences at Hill House, whose grisly history we are informed of in the film’s opening. While Julie Harris’ fragile Eleanor is ostensibly the main character, perhaps the most interesting is Claire Bloom’s waspish Theo. She is glamorous, independent and, crucially, strongly coded as lesbian. Her bespoke Quant wardrobe is a crucial reflection and expansion of her personality, placing her within the 1960s counter-cultural context and contrasting her with her stuffy, square associates.

“a sophisticated ghost story whose elegant sense of dread still enthrals and unsettles today…”

The Haunting is a film which eschews visceral shocks, instead revelling in creating a foreboding sense of atmosphere which make it all the more powerful. With crisp, densely textured black and white photography and looming camera work, its visual pleasures are intoxicating, culminating in a famous central set piece which is a masterclass in editing, sound design and the powers of suggestion. With fans in Martin Scorsese (he named it his scariest movie of all time in 2013) and Steven Spielberg, The Haunting is a sophisticated ghost story whose elegant sense of dread still enthrals and unsettles today.

When you’re booking your cinema ticket you’ll notice the cinema has been divided into ‘bubbles’ of one or two in order to maintain social distancing. You won’t be able to book part of a bubble, but you can book more than one: for instance a group of four can book two bubbles of two.

If you can’t find a combination of seats that suits your group please get in touch and we’ll try to help, although capacity is very limited in all screenings. We’re working on a more flexible seating plan that we hope to be able to roll out very soon.