This week we're giving our Halloween Movie Marathon another turn of the screw, with The Unenthusiastic Critic's first viewing of Jack Clayton's The Innocents (1961).

First, we're sharing ghost stories, and discovering that Nakea considers her failure to encounter ghosts a terrible character flaw.

Then, we're sitting down on a dark and stormy night to watch The Innocents, Jack Clayton's exquisite adaptation of Henry James' infamously ambiguous tale about two children who are—or are not?—being haunted by the spirits of their wicked former servants.

It's psychology vs. parapsychology, paranoia vs. paranormal, and sexual repression vs. spiritual possession, as we debate whether these children were actually being haunted (and whether—as Nakea maintains—the kids needed to die either way).

0:00: Prologue: Scene from Poltergeist (1982)
1:18: Preliminary Discussion: Ghost Stories
26:42: Interlude: Original Trailer for The Innocents
28:02: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of The Innocents
32:27: Interlude: Scene from The Innocents
33:55: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of The Innocents
1:31:58: Outro and Next Week's Movie
1:33:50: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: The Innocents (dir. Jack Clayton, 20th Century Fox, 1961).
—Prologue: clip from Poltergeist (dir. Tobe Hooper, MGM, 1982).
—Works Mentioned and Resources: The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James, 1898; Pauline Kael's review of The Innocents, in Film Quarterly (collected in I Lost it At the Movies); "Ever Scarier: On 'The Turn of the Screw,'" Brad Leithauser, The New Yorker.
—The Unenthusiastic Critic's earlier Horror Movie Marathons are available (in prose form) at
Email us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are very welcome.)
—Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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