It follows Julia Lofting (Farrow), who accidentally kills her daughter Kate while attempting a tracheotomy to save her from choking to death. Deeply traumatized by the incident, Julia leaves her husband Magnus (Keir Dullea) and moves into a house of her own. Soon, she begins to have visions of a little girl who resembles her dead child. Meanwhile, seemingly supernatural events begin to suggest that her new house is haunted. Or is Julia just crazy with guilt?
Though it wasn't a box-office success, the film has developed a slight cult following and is notable for being the first screen adaptation of one of Peter Straub's works.
Provides Examples Of:
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The movie leaves out a key detail from the original book which explains the connection between Julia and the ghost girl Olivia.
- Creepy Doll: The cymbal-banging clown toy, which has dangerously sharp edges on the cymbals to boot.
- Enfant Terrible: Olivia, the ghost that's haunting Julia. She had the power to dominate the minds of other people, and used it to make them slaughter animals and watch as she murdered another child. She seems to retain her power in the afterlife.
- Ghostly Chill: Inverted. One of the strange things Julia notices around her new house is that her heater seems to keep turning itself on.
- Grief-Induced Split: Julia separates from her husband in the immediate aftermath of accidentally killing her daughter.
- Haunted Heroine: Julia, who accidentally killed her own daughter and is now being haunted by a ghost in her new house. Or is she? Yes, yes she is.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Julia attempts one to save her choking daughter in the opening scene. It doesn't work.
- Karmic Death: Julia's overbearing husband Magnus breaks into her new house, only to promptly tumble down the stairs and die.
- Market-Based Title: The original title, Full Circle, is also an alternate title of the source book. When it was finally released in America years later it was titled The Haunting of Julia, which is made up.
- New House, New Problems: An uncommon example of one person moving into an apparently-haunted house alone instead of with a family.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Not only does Julia's daughter die, Julia has to live with the knowledge that her attempt to save her child may actually have been what killed her.
- Psychological Horror: A lot of focus is placed on Julia's trauma over her daughter's death, and the fact that the little girl she starts to see looks suspiciously similar to her...
- Scenery Dissonance: The death of Julia's daughter happens on a bright, sunny, normal morning. Later, Julia sees the mysterious little girl in a sunlit park.
- Spooky Sťance: Julia holds one in her new house at her sister-in-law's suggestion.