Monday, October 20, 2008

The Haunting (1963) and ESP Cards

One of my favorite movies (and one of the scariest movies with a 'G' rating here in the States) is The Haunting. Yes, Robert Wise did direct this seminal spook film and West Side Story. Go figure.

The film is remarkable for the use of light and cinematography to create discomfort--none of this modern schlock for cheap thrills. Combined with the oddly haunting (bonus word choice) score, the film has plenty of genuine fright to go around. It doesn't hurt that the basis for the movie is Shirley Jackson's novel, The Haunting of Hill House--the classic haunted house novel (in my humble opinion).

Anyway, I teach Hill House every other year, and this happens to be my lucky year. I always have the students test their psychic powers with Zener Cards (indirectly mentioned in the first chapter background info about Theo). Remember the cards at the beginning of Ghostbusters? Just like Dr. Venkman, we don't conduct a very sound experiment, but it is fun.

You can print your own Zener Cards and test your friends. I prefer to print them on heavy paper or cardstock, rather than cut 'n' paste. C'mon, it's fun and a nice little game for October.

7 comments:

Jeremy Kelly said...

I like the new look of the blog, your website, and the ectoplasmic textcolor.

Thought you should know.

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks--I dig the green, too. Ectoplamic is a great descriptor.

Catherine J Gardner said...

I wish I'd had an English teacher like you...

Jamie Eyberg said...

read The Haunting of Hill House in college for a gothic lit class. It still sits on my bookshelf in a place of honor.

Carrie Harris said...

I haven't seen The Haunting. Looks like I'll be adding it to The List. The List is long but distinguished.

Barry Napier said...

I cheated and did my science project on ESP in 9th grade, featuring Zener cards. I was excited. I was then creeped the hell out when the one kid that always kept to himself guessed 23 out of 25 cards correctly.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - I wish I had a teacher like me...wait...?

Jamie - gothic lit=awesome college reading list

Carrie - oh yes, it should be on The List

Barry - the scary kids always get too many correct (shivers)