The Haunting of Julia (1977)

Synopsis:

Julia Lofting (Mia Farrow, Hannah and Her Sisters), an American woman living in England, loses her only child in a freak accident. Inconsolable after the tragedy, Julia is quickly institutionalized. When she’s discharged, Julia decides to leave her husband (Keir Dullea, 2001: A Space Odyssey) and start fresh in another town. She buys a spacious house and begins to plan for the future. After hosting a séance in her new home, Julia suspects that the spirit of her late daughter has returned.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“Evil isn’t like ordinary people. Evil never dies.”

An absorbing, undeniably creepy slow-burn supernatural thriller that gets the job done without relying on cheap scare tactics or expensive visual effects. The Haunting of Julia (also known as Full Circle) is also wonderfully ambivalent — has Julia’s daughter comeback from the death, or is the grieving mother simply imagining things? The movie expertly toys with several possibilities, all of them interesting.

British director Richard Loncraine (The Gathering Storm) is able to create and sustain a tremendously tense atmosphere. This is the kind of movie you don’t want to watch late at night! The excellent screenplay, based upon Peter Straub’s 1975 novel Julia, is credited to Harry Bromley Davenport and Dave Humphries (Quadrophenia). 

Famed English keyboardist Colin Towns’s (Slayground) music score is splendid, too. Town is able to convey an almost unbearable sense of melancholia that fits the film to a tee. Peter Hannan’s (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life) cinematography is also worthy of praise — Hannan’s lushly atmospheric camera work needs to be seen in its original widescreen aspect ratio to be fully appreciated, though.

The Haunting of Julia provided Mia Farrow with one of her very best roles. It was her first horror movie since Roman Polanski’s classic chiller Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and she is pretty great here. Farrow is in almost every scene — the story is told from her point of view — and Farrow conveys her character’s deep sorrow beautifully.

The cast also includes Keir Dullea as Farrow’s husband, Tom Conti (Reuben, Reuben) as Farrow’s friend, Jill Bennett (The Nanny) as Dullea’s sister, and Anna Wing (The Godsend) as a psychic. Cathleen Nesbitt (An Affair to Remember) has a wonderful cameo as an elderly woman who holds the key to the mystery. Actor-writer Julian Fellowes (Robert Altman’s Godsford Park) makes his film debut as a librarian.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

It’s really too bad that the film has not been released on DVD in the USA. The Haunting of Julia deserves to be better known — it’s definitely one of my favorite paranormal movies. The film looks great, and Mia Farrow gives a superb performance in the title role. Highly recommended! Color, 98 minutes, Rated R.

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3 responses to “The Haunting of Julia (1977)

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