The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (TV Show)

Reasoning for post:
I have pushed this as a strictly book review blog so far, but I do watch a lot of television and movies. I'm a Hugh fan of horror and mystery/suspense. So I feel that I owe you all an explanation as to why I'm discussing this Netflix show instead of the actual novel. My reasoning is:

#1. I haven't read the book yet, but it's on my to-read list
#2. The writing in the show was actually phenomenal 
#3. I'm super late in watching it, but I have a ton of thoughts.

Now, let's move on to the about the author section, shall we?

About Shirley Jackson and Mike Flanagan:
First Shirley, since she's the original after all. 

Shirley Jackson, 1916-1965, one of the preeminent authors of classic American mystery and suspense fiction, best known for her short story “The Lottery.”

Shirley Jackson: Bio from Shirley Jackson website
Shirley Jackson, 1916-1965, one of the most brilliant and influential authors of the twentieth century, is widely acclaimed for her stories and novels of the supernatural, including the well-known short story “The Lottery” and the best-selling novel “The Haunting of Hill House.”

Mike Flanagan: Bio from IMdB
Mike Flanagan graduated from Towson University's Electronic Media and Film department. He began his feature film career in 2000 with "Makebelieve" at the age of 21. His follow up, "Still Life" (2001) was an award winning digital feature shot in and around Baltimore. He is married to actress Kate Siegel, and the two have one child, Cody Paul Flanagan (born November 26, 2016.) His oldest son, Rigby Flanagan-Bell (born October 15, 2010) is from his relationship with "Absentia" actress Courtney Bell.

Review of the Show:
In full disclosure, I watched this twisty show with my grandfather who has dementia. He wanted something scary, and I’d been dying to watch this. Also, there were articles when it came out about don’t watch this alone.

According to Netflix the movie is about: This modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, they are forced back together in the face of tragedy and must finally confront the ghosts of their past. Some of those ghosts still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House. The ensemble cast includes Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas. Mike Flanagan, a veteran of the horror genre, created the series.”

First, it’s really not THAT scary. I only got startled a few times in the last three episodes when the directors started pulling those God-awful jump-scare scenes. Also, more disclosure, I’m a psychological horror person; moves like Psycho (the original Hitchcock b&w film not the in-color remake) do it for me in the ‘don’t watch alone’ category.

Second, this series was so circular that if you miss any part of it while watching, it doesn’t fully make sense in the end. Now, this aspect I loved. I had to pause and rewind a lot while watching for my grandfather, and I had to explain a lot of detail to him after each EP. He loved this too until the jump-scares started. He doesn’t like to be startled like that.

Third, the time line jumped between present day and the children’s childhood. Some of the split scenes were so jarring that I did get a little confused. However, pausing every few minutes to explain the timeline to my grandfather made this easier to follow

I don’t have a forth so listen after this point the SPOILERS are going to start. Do not email/comment about SPOILERS because you were warned. All the SPOILERS…….

So, there are five kids: 3 girls and 2 boys. Stephen (the oldest), Shirley, Theodora (Theo), Elenore (Nell) and Luke. Their parents, Hugh and Oliva are house flippers, and The Hill House is supposed to be their big pay-day. However, the kids start seeing things. Nell sees the Bent Neck Lady, Luke sees a man with a cane floating through the house, Shirley and Theo hear bangs and crashes so loud that the walls shake, and Stephen sees a clock repairman that hasn’t been inside the house since it was built.

After eight weeks in the house, Oliva who has ‘sensitivities’, which is really just a nice way of saying that she’s a bit more psychic than most, is desperate for some time away. She’s gotten to the point where she’s having nightmares that are so vivid that she is waking up holding a screwdriver against Hugh’s neck, and she’s having migraines that drive her out of her own mind.

Theo begins to hone her abilities. She can see the past and future of anything she touches. Inside a house like Hill House, that is a horrifying thing. She literally sees the ending. She sees her mother’s suicide and her father’s death.

Stephen is in denial though. He writes all the ghost stories his siblings told him in confidence. This is important because Shirley throws a huge temper tantrum.

It’s also important to note that Mr. Hill went missing, and then they found his body walled into part of an old bootlegging basement.

At one point in the series Luke and Nell (in creepy twin unison) tell Olivia exactly what the future holds for all of her children, except it’s not the twins telling Olivia. The house is giving Olivia visions.

In true fashion, the house shows you the sweetest dreams and then it takes everything away. It kills you. However, the house did not kill Hugh Crain. Hugh Crain killed himself so the house wouldn’t take any more of his children.

So, going into season 2, Stephen Crain owns the house. There are four siblings left. I can’t even imagine where they’re going, but I look forward to seeing it.

Also, on a completely related but very random note: I love that the series plays on a very thin psychological line. There is something, I forget the technical term, that basically means a shared delusion. For most of the series, the children are convinced that their father is delusional about the hauntings inside the house. So potentially the whole thing could be set up as one crazy big crazy, horrific shared fantasy. 


I'm not sure if I want to continue reviewing tv shows/movies. I recently watched this movie called Walk. Ride. Rodeo., and I'm considering reviewing it. let me know what you think and follow my social media pages for more info.