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Journal of updates about this site dedicated to The Haunting

2017

† 'Movie' page
While processing the brand-new HMV-exclusive Blu-Ray and DVD boxset, I decided to use the information regarding the alternative titles from the DVD bonuses. In the outfit section (Mary Quant), I also added a new picture from Claire Bloom (same source)..
† 'Movie' page
Waxwork II (1992), directed by Anthony Hickox, pays a not-very-subtle but funny homage to The Haunting, with numerous sequences in black & white, and characters who strangely look like the cast of the original movie. See for yourself on the 'Movie' page.
† 'Promo' page
I fully processed the MGM USA Exhibitor's Campaign book. A labour of love. You've seen some low-resolution scanned versions before on other sites, but this time you'll be able to read it, cover to cover...
† 'Books' page
I've found the 1999 UK paperback edition of the book in great condition. BTW I'm still processing the MGM USA Exhibitor's Campaign book.
† 'Promo' page
I processed the MGM USA Exhibitor's Campaign book first page of content (page 2). If you wonder why it took me so long, I invite you to check the 'Promo' page to see the outcome of this work.
† 'Books' page
I've added an alternate version of the 2009-UK Penguin pocket edition, but with a slightly altered cover: the background picture is the same but the font is much smaller and placed differently. I cannot confirm anything since I don't own it (yet).
† 'Movie' page
While processing the MGM USA Exhibitor's Campaign book, I realised that the code printed under every picture is inaccurate: it reads "still 5308-xxx" whilst all the film stills are numbered "5303-xxx". I added that information on this page. While I was at it, I also mentioned the "63/238" number that appears on numerous promotional items. I assume this is the reference of the film in the US domestic market (independently from the MGM numbering scheme).
† 'Promo' page
A very dear friend spontaneously and generously translated for me (from German to English) the "How to capture 'NOTHING' on film" essay on the Illustrierte Film-Bühne german leaflet. Thanks again to EVL!
† 'Promo' page
I've started to add the MGM USA Exhibitor's Campaign book. In the next days or weeks, I'll add more pages and more text. Stay tuned!
† 'Promo' page
Correction: the german promotional leaflet was produced by Illustrierte Film-Bühne and not by MGM Germany.
† 'Promo' page
Today I've added the music score/music sheet of Lalo SCHIFRIN. It's a great item because it uses the movie branding. I'm not commenting on the music.
† 'Promo' page
Now I've processed the text on the 2-sided MGM Germany promotional folder. Google translations are too rough to be used but I would be very happy to have a German- or Dutch-native translate the text on these promo folders in proper English for me.
† 'Promo' page
I've just added the MGM Germany 2-fold, 2-sided promotional folder. A beautiful blue and sepia-tinted document. Now I need to type the long german text...
† 'Promo' page
Today I'm sharing with you the very unusual MGM Belgium 3-fold, 2-sided promotional folder. It's unusual because it's bilingual: one side for French, the other for Dutch (the two main official languages of Belgium, with German being the 3rd one, but often forgotten or neglected). To stand out, these MGM Belgian folders are all printed in black and white, with the addition of one bright colour. Yellow was the one selected for "The Haunting".
† 'Promo' page
Another treat for you: the French 3-fold, 2-sided, "Guide publicitaire" issued by MGM France to promote the movie. Complete with transcript of all text!
† 'Promo' page
This time I've added some promotional material: a double-sided 1981 promo card from MGM Television.
† 'The House' page
With the help of PhotoShop and GIMP, I wanted to create usual pictures of the house; un-natural pictures of the house, to be accurate. I hope you like the result.
† 'Movie' page
For clarity, I've added screenshots of the two unidentified locations: #1 on the road to Hill House, the house with the two stone lions guarding the gates. #2 Once arrived, the gates of Hill House.
† 'Movie' page
From the blu-ray, I've created new screenshots of the portrait of the exquisite "Mother". The new ones are crisper and larger.
† 'Movie' & 'The House' pages
With the help of Andy Ellis, a fan, I was able to update the "Locations" information. See for yourself the streets of London during the filming, and now. Amazing!
Now, dear fans, with your help, it's high time to locate the road Eleanor uses to go to Hill House. Where is the house with the two stone lions guarding the gates?
† All site
October 1997 - October 2017: This web site was created 20 years ago! As the number of visitors keeps increasing, I keep on updating it...
† 'Books' page
Ruth Franklin's "Shirley Jackson, a rather haunted life" will be available in a few days as Audiobook and next month in a paperback edition.
† All site
I added more "social features" on the site. Now you'll find button for Blogger, Pinterest and Tumblr. Now I believe that the main sites are handled.
† All site
I reworked all the "social features" of the site. Practically speaking, I've prepared a new version of the Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Email icons. They are more visible, and more "mobile friendly".
† 'Books' page
I'm very lucky to have a never ending flow of birthday presents this year! This time I've received two spanish books in absolute mint condition : "La casa encantada" and "La guarida". Thanks again to EVL!
† All site
After more than one year online with the new look, I thought it was time for fresh paint job. The wallpaper is new, and the titles were reworked, purely with colour (no more picture background to download). I've also streamlined the CSS for small screens. I hope you like it too.
† 'Promo' page
I've just added all the 7inch singles I own from "Haunting", the theme song inspired by the movie, and recorded by Lalo SCHIFRIN — although it's totally unrelated to the movie.
† All site
Another effort to increase performance: the largest .PNG images have been compressed with a specific tool. The largest .JPG images were recompressed too. The site loads faster, and the quality of the images is not compromised by visible compression artefacts.
† All site
I've reworked the CSS for printing. The output is now cleaner (when printed, obviously).
† All site
In order to increase performance, especially on the homepage, I reduced the size of the site by converting some high-quality .PNG pictures into moderately compressed .JPG pictures ('The innocents', 'The uninvited', the purple parlour). The homepage now loads 33% faster. This is an on-going process, I'm still working on it.
† 'Movie' page
I had suspected that the strange changes of colour on the wallpaper was due to some colour lightning. Now, after a discussion with an American fan, I guess I know why the colour of blouses also changes : that is probably due to the use of some colour lenses.
† 'Books' page
Again! More birthday presents! Writing that I'm spoiled is a real understatement. This time, I've received a copy of the recently published 'Robert Wise: The motion pictures'. Of course, it features a section dedicated to 'The Haunting'. I haven't read it yet, but I wanted to update the site immediately. Thanks again to EVL!
† 'Books' page
Well, I'm really spoiled for my birthday this year. After some intense researches, my friend EVL found a copy of the German book "Spuk in Hill House", 1993 first edition, in great condition! On that edition too, you can see that the publishers are really creative when it comes to writing a text for the back cover.
† 'The House' page
It's been a while since I last updated the page dedicated to the house. For my birthday this year, a very dear friend gave me a couple of superb old postcards of Ettington Park, in mint condition. So, I'm very happy to share them with you. Special thanks to EVL!
† 'Videos' page
Well, well. For a very long time I suspected that the DVD was released in Sweden/Norway/Finland. Now I have the proof: I found a picture of a DVD sold on a Swedish auction site. Unfortunately, it's not eBay, I don't read Swedish and don't understand how to bid. Unfortunately again, eBay does not seem to exist in Sweden. If you have any spare copy of this disc, don't hesitate to contact me (see contact in the footer of the page)..
† All site
The copyright on the content of the whole web site was renewed. It is recorded by SABAM (Belgium, Europe) and is valid worldwide.
† 'Books' page
I've recently found some notes about the book "unInvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability", that I had taken probably more than 15 years ago. They are still very relevant and I decided to use them.
† 'Movie' page
I've spend some holidays at Ettington Park ; I've seen the movie countless times. Did you pay attention to the scene when Eleanor, staring at the square tower, nearly falls off the balcony, only to be rescued by the Doctor? Well this balcony doesn't exist at Ettington Park : it's a fake balcony structurally attached to the stone entrance. I checked the movie frame by frame, and found some "too short to be noticed" technical details. Check "The strange balcony" section on the "Movie" page.
† 'Books' page
Do you know that in Jackson's early drafts, Eleanor was named Erica? Do you know where the inspiration for the name Eleanor came from? Do you know that the movie rights to The Haunting of Hill House were sold for the sum of $67,500?
With so many fascinating facts, I updated the section dedicated to the book 'Shirley Jackson, a rather haunted life' by Ruth Franklin.
† 'Movie' page
Some of you might be aware of my theory that the movie set was sometimes lit in colour (not in pure white), which explains why walls suddenly experience a drastic colour change. Recently, I also realised that Eleanor's bright white blouse was not that pale in the corridor...
† 'Books' page
I recently bought a copy of the fantastic book 'Shirley Jackson, a rather haunted life' by Ruth Franklin. I updated the 'Books' page with the standard presentation of the book. In a near future, I'll add the discoveries I've made from the book plus some excerpts. It's really a great book that I recommend to the fans of the movie.
† 'Books' page
As explained in a previous update, I recently realised that the "purple parlour" was mentioned several times by the characters in the movie — quite strange for a movie shot in black & white. So I wondered: what about the book? To my surprise, it lead me to realise that the "purple parlour" was an invention for the movie. In the book, Shirley Jackson mentions a "little parlour", without any colour indication. This piqued my interest, and I started to count the colours in the book...
On the 'Book' page, I'd added a table with figures and a graphical representation of the use of the colours in the book.
† All site
After a couple of visitors suggested it, I've decided to add the now inevitable buttons to share the content with social networks. This is done with the minimal effort: purely with colour and text (no graphics, for instance for the twitter logo). Still, it's properly done, out of the way of the main content, semi-transparent, compatible with the site in responsive design. If I see that it makes a real difference, I might rework them in the future, with more links and true graphics. For the time being, I prefer to focus on real content. I've got plenty of novelties, waiting to be published... to be continued.
† 'Movie' page
When I realised that the "purple parlour" was an invention for the movie, I decided to create a colourized version of the scene. See the result on the 'Movie' page.
Since I was at it, I used a new technique for colourization, leading to richer, deeper colours. So I've created a brand new version of all the colourized screenshots on the 'Book' page.
† 'Books' page
I just bought a copy of Wes D. Gehring's 'Robert Wise Shadowlands'. I selected an excerpt about 'The Haunting' that I decided to quote on the 'Books' page.
† 'Movie' page
Another US-based fan provided me valuable information about Eleanor's licence plate and sticker mystery... The sticker on the windshield was used in combination to the license plate, in order to prove that the car was dully authorized on the road in 1962. This is because the new plates were issued every other year and not every year.
Bob C.: I get a permanent error when I reply to your message. Do you have an alternate email from which you could send me another email?
† 'Books' page
I received the 2016 French edition of the book 'The Haunting of Hill House', so I updated the 'Books' page accordingly with the missing details.
To my surprise, I accidentally found out about the existence of a Dutch version of the book, with a Dutch translation, all dating back to 1999. I'm thrilled to add this new one, because it's another version in another language. Special thanks to Evert VL who got me that Dutch book I didn't even know about!
† All site
Well, 2017, here we are. 2016 was important for me, because it marked the relaunch of the site, with a new look and plenty of new content. 2017 shall be important too: In October (2017), I will celebrate the 20th anniversary of this web site. Imagine! I still have so much unpublished material. I surely have enough for the years to come.

2016

† 'Books' page
I just heard about the new French edition of the book, titled La maison hantée, published by "Rivages/Noir". I ordered two copies, I'm waiting for them..
† 'Movie' page
On the suggestion of a fan, I added propositions of alternate movies, if you want to explore the following genres: Haunted house, Ghost and Horror. Check the very bottom of the homepage.
† 'Movie' page
In early November 2016, a dear friend (Evert VL) visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum in London took additional pictures of superb blue Palissy plates! With his permission, I added them on the "Movie" page.
† 'Books' page
I received the 2016-uk Penguin deluxe edition I had ordered. It looks like there was a manufacturing problem. I ordered two additional copies from other vendors. When I received them: same problem. Well, it is not a misprinted copy or two, then, it must be a whole batch. Still, I added all the details on the "Books" page, and hope that next reprints will be correct.
† All site
It's so comforting to see that, every year, The Haunting is still frequently programmed in movie theaters and on TV for Halloween specials. This year was no exception. Last but not least, I reached an all-time peak of visitors during that week-end. I'm happy and proud!
† 'Movie' page
After a discussion with an MGM specialist, I figured that among all the numbers I have on various promotional material, "MGM 47" was the official production number assigned to the movie. I added that information on the page.
† 'Movie' page
On a DVD (French DVD, "The Innocents", in the bonuses) that I was about to discard, I found a very interesting analysis of the haunted-house/fantastic movie genre by Alexandre Tsekenis that also totally applies for "The Haunting". I translated it and summarized it.
See 'The classic pattern' section.
† All site
I performed a little editing on all pages: I stopped using "did + <verb>" so often, to replace it by "<verb, past simple form>". I also stopped mixing "did not" with "didn't", "does not" with "doesn't". Of course, I didn't touch the quotes or book extracts.
† 'People' page
During recent holidays by the sea (Sep 2016), I spend some time in Deauville, Normandy, France. You may have heard about the Deauville "American Film Festival", and the promenade des planches, where beach closets are dedicated to famous actors and moviemakers that have come to Deauville.
I wanted to show you the beach closet dedicated to Robert Wise. So, obviously, I took some pictures.
† 'Promo' page
I received 1 new German lobby card. I now own 7 of them. Again, I don't believe that they produced an odd number of cards, so I still must miss a few of them. To be continued...
† 'Books' page
I've complemented the "Other books" section on the "Book" page, with numerous books discussing Robert Wise and/or the movie: 'Robert Wise', 'unInvited', 'Robert Wise on his Films', 'The films of Robert Wise', 'Self and Society in the Films of Robert Wise' and 'Robert Wise Shadowlands'.
† 'Promo' page
I received 3 new French lobby cards. I now own 13 of them. Still, I don't believe that they produced an odd number of cards, so I still must miss a few of them. To be continued...
† 'Books' page
The first US pocket edition was not released in 1959 but in 1962. I've just received a copy in great condition of this edition. It clearly states "Soon to be a major MGM motion picture". I've updated the Books page accordingly.
† 'Movie' page
Instinctively, it is quite obvious that Eleanor is the main character of the movie, with the longest screen presence. However, as scientist, I like facts and figures, so I decided to check. I exported the complete movie into single images, frame by frame, and started to count. To avoid endless boring tables with figures, I created some charts, to illustrate my point.
This new section is titled 'Figures about The Haunting'.
† 'Movie' page
A fine connoisseur and fan of the movie informed me that the car Eleanor is driving is a "Hillman Husky Series II". So I made a quick research and added some information in the props and costumes section.
† 'Books' page
I've added this book that I discovered recently: "I Was a Monster Movie Maker". It features a long interview of Nelson Gidding, who shares very interesting thoughts, comments and anecdotes about his work writing the script.
† 'Promo' page
After another long and laborious work, the page dedicated to the promotional items has been updated with all the lobby cards in my possession.
I chose not to use the previous scans I had done over the past years. My new scanner is much better than anything else I owned in the past. So, I rescanned absolutely everything, in 600dpi, and saved them all in uncompressed PNG format. Then I digitally enhanced and cleaned them all. After that, creating a smaller version for the web site was a piece of cake. I hope you'll enjoy them.
† 'Books' page
I have a nice little collection of books and magazines mentioning The Haunting, Robert Wise, Nelson Gidding, etc. I will manage to add information regarding the most interesting ones on the site. For now, I have updated the segment about the book 'Cinematic Hauntings', which contains a long and great section about The Haunting.
† 'Videos' page
Today I received the US version of the Blu-ray. Honestly, I can't understand why I waited for so long to buy it. I own the Spanish, German and Brazilian versions since they were released.
† 'Movie' page
I added some information about the devil statue found in Hill House. It's obviously strange and unexpected. It reminded me, in some way, of the devil's statue found in Rennes-le-château, in France.
† 'Videos' page
After a very long and laborious work, the page dedicated to the videos have been thoroughly updated with all the information I have in my possession. In addition to all the various editions in my personal collection, I also added all other editions that are known to exist. From Blu-ray, to DVD, to VCD, to LaserDisc, to VHS and Betamax. I hope that someday a VHD will show up, unexpected?
For the finishing touches, I still need to add some information here and there. For instance, ratios for VHS or Betamax tapes that I own but have not played, or zone information for DVD I own, still shrink-wrapped and unplayed.
Last but not least, this update forced me to perform a detailed inventory of my collection, so I've restarted to hunt the missing editions.
† 'The House' page
After Ettington Park, where the exterior scenes were shot, I thought it was time to say a word about the Elstree and Borehamwood studios, where the interior scenes were shot.
† 'Books' page
Another update on the 'Book' page. This time I've used the services of additional online web-based tools to analyse the novel: Online-utility.org and Voyant-tools.org. This resulted in numerous new figures and great looking graphics.
† All site
After an afterthought, I used a different technique to handle the tables in responsive design. The number of tables were reduced to the strict minimum : <div> boxes were used instead whenever possible. For the remaining data requiring an actual table, I've used a new technique that gets rids of all scrollbars and that presents the top row on the side of each "record" when the resolution is too low.
† 'Books' page
I completed a major update of the page dedicated to the books, with all the new books that I own, plus other ones that are confirmed to exist, for a grand total of 35 new books introduced.
† 'Books' page
I used a new tool to generate the tag clouds, then replaced all the existing ones. I now have a tag cloud for the book as a whole (both in English and French).
† 'Videos' page
I changed all the pictures of the covers with cleaner ones.
This is an interim solution. I still have all the 'post 2010' editions to process (many new DVDs, the blu-ray discs), plus the additional editions of older VHS & BetaMax. In due time, I will rescan all the covers with my new scanner, much better than the ones I used in 1995-2010.
† All site
The visitors using a regular computer might not notice it, but I've polished the responsive design version of the site (the one that get displayed when you visit the site with a Smartphone or tablet with tiny screen). The display is now adjusted for all possible screen resolutions and pixel densities. In all cases, I encourage you to also visit the site with a large screen, at least to see the pictures of Ettington Park in their full width.
† 'The House' page
I completed a major update of the page dedicated to the house, adding 80+ pictures of Ettington Park. It took a lot of time, to select the pictures (I've got more than 1,500 pictures from that stay) and then to rework them for the site. I hope you will enjoy the pictures of the towers, from the inside (rarely seen).
† 'Journal' page
I've been in contact with some fans since the 1997 version of this web site. After the re-launch, some of them mentioned this first version to me with fond memories. Since I have all versions neatly stored here, I thought I would I take you to a trip down memory lane... so I re-installed the first version as a subsite, available here. This is actually the 1997 version with the Flash introduction that I added slightly after the initial launch. Flash was all the rage back then. Notice the screenshot made from the very grainy VHS version. Be warned: the 1997 site comes with background sound!! So, turn the volume down before you explore it. Plus, you might be interested to know that there are actually two pages. One in black and white, and another one in full colour. Will you be able to find it?
† All site
The new site (4.0) is online!
And here we are! After years of patience and months of intensive work, the new version is ready to replace the very dated one. I'm proud, happy and relieved.
† 'Promo' page
I restarted from scratch, with a blank page. I wanted to use a new structure to present the promotional items. Today I added the main textual content of the page. Later I'll add the (very numerous) pictures, with appropriate captions. I have lots of US, South American, Australian, European and Japanese promotional items to share.
† 'Videos' page
I decided to rework some screenshots of the Blu-ray, to clearly highlight what could have been done to restore the movie a little bit. I also installed a comparison slider, to make the comparison easier.
Of course I applied too much correction, on purpose, just to illustrate my point.
† All site
The new site is not fully completed with all the content that I expected to publish, but, hey, I've decided to get it ready for launch anyway.
In the past years I've been working on a new version with lots of new content. Eventually, I decided to ditch it because it was still in HTML 4 and more importantly, the look was very dated. It was a shame: what about all this new content in this ugly site?
So I restarted from scratch: a blank canvas in pure HTML5; I created a brand new look with CSS3 and I even added some animations with jQuery. I really liked the result, and I still like it today.. Then I started to integrate all the content (from the never published ugly ditched site).
When it was done, I realised that - in the meantime - I also had gathered and acquired plenty of new content that was worth it. So I started to integrate it, bit by bit. But there was so much to do that I lost patience and paused everything.
Earlier this year, I decided to resume, but I made two lists: "What is essential for the relaunch" and "What can be integrated later [nice to have]". When all the boxes on the first list will be ticked, I'll delete the online site and I'll replace it with the new version.
I hope I'll be able to regularly add new content, when the pressure to relaunch a comprehensive site will be gone. To be continued...

1997

† All site
Very first published version. I re-installed this first version as a subsite, available here. Be warned: the 1997 site comes with background sound!! So, turn the volume down before you explore it. Plus, you might be interested to know that there are actually two pages. One in black and white, and another one in full colour. Will you be able to find it?

 

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