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Inarguably, a central character in "The Haunting" is Hill House itself

Inarguably, a central character in "The Haunting" is Hill House itself. "The story is driven by Hill House," Cohn Wilson says. "We had to make it come to life, to give it a feeling of something not just real, but surreal."

An award-winning production team was assembled to collaborate with De Bont in bringing Hill House to life, including director of photography Karl Walter Lindenlaub ("Independence Day"); Academy Award -winning production designer Eugenio Zanetti ("Restoration"); three-time Academy Award-winning editor Michael Kahn ("Saving Private Ryan," "Schindler's List"); Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith ("The Omen," "L.A. Confidential"); Oscar-winning visual effects supervisors Phil Tippett ("Jurassic Park," "Return of the Jedi") and Craig Hayes ("Jurassic Park"); costume designer Ellen Mirojnick ("Twister," "Speed"); seven time Academy Award-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom ("Saving Private Ryan, ' "Titanic") and special effects coordinator John Frazier ("Twister, "Speed").

One of the elements of the book that most intrigued the filmmakers was the premise that a place could take on the evil of those who inhabited it. "This house is the creation of a truly evil mind.. .the product of Hugh Cram's twisted vision," Arnold says.

Production designer Eugenio Zanetti worked closely with Jan De Bont to render that vision in some of the largest and most elaborate sets ever created. Zanetti recalls that his first impression, was, as he described it to the director, "'The Shining' meets 'Citizen Kane,' and Jan wholeheartedly agreed."

"It had to be oppressive in its scale," says De Bont. "I wanted the characters not only to be physically lost in the house, but also to feel emotionally lost. When you are alone in a huge space you see things from a totally new perspective.

Roth adds, "Eugenio researched everything down to the most minute detail in an effort to project who Hugh Cram was and why he would build a house like that. It was a fascinating process to watch."

From his research, Zanetti took a stylistic approach typical of that adopted by the American robber barons of the 19' century. Having become very rich almost overnight, they wanted what they imagined was a grand house in Europe and shipped in materials from all over the world to construct enormous mansions.

Though the era in which Hill House was built was Victorian, Zanetti chose to incorporate an eclectic mix of Moroccan, Indian, Gothic, Neoclassic, Baroque and Romanesque influences in his designs. "A sort of madness went into this house; it is the work of a crazy mind-Hugh Cram's, not mine," Zanetti says with a laugh. "His presence is everywhere. In fact, one of the first things I proposed was that the point where his portrait hangs at the top of the stairs be the center of the whole house. From there he can oversee everything. His arms extend in all directions-the circular and semi-circular corridors always lead you back to him. You can get lost but you always return to him."

Zanetti's designs lent a certain creative freedom to the filming process, which the filmmakers could appreciate. "The house has a flow to it, a feeling and a rhythm that the camera is able to take full access of," Wilson says. "It allows you to swoop and move through rooms and corridors as if you're flowing f

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