The Haunting of Hill House from Netflix

October 16, 2018

By Tab Byrum

Last Friday the 12th I was very excited to watch the premiere of The Haunting of Hill House that was premiering on Netflix and it did not disappoint at all. The mini-series is based on author Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic horror novel of the same name. The book has been turned into two previous movies with the 1963 version being my personal favorite. In the original book and film, Hill House is a 90-year-old mansion built by a man named Hugh Crain who lived and died there. Hugh originally built the mansion for his young wife and daughter but his wife was killed in a carriage accident on the way to the house and never saw their home. His young daughter Abigail lives in Hill House with her father until he dies and she continues living there until her own death as an old woman. Many years later Dr. John Montague gathers a group of people who have experienced psychic phenomenon in their lives along with Luke the young man who is supposed to inherit Hill House, two “psychics” also show up, young ladies named Eleanor and Theodora. Together the group experiences sightings, loud noises and all kinds of evidence of ghosts and are scared to death. In the new version, the characters from the original novel are now a family with the Father being Hugh Crain, his wife Olivia and their five children taking on the names of some of the characters from the original book and film. The Netflix series is VERY well done with lots of thought given to paying homage to the book and original film. The special effects are wonderfully creepy with several scenes played out in complete silence for extended periods of time to build suspense, there’s also one “jump scare” that made me jump, clap my hands and laugh at myself. My favorite episode was episode 6, “Two Storms”, that was filmed with a single camera and done with only one break in the filming. The entire episode is like watching a play and was mesmerizing. If you enjoy spooky or horror then be sure and check out Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and enjoy a wonderful 20th Century novel brought to life for 21st Century streaming and binging. Enjoy!!! (above via)

Victoria Pedretti plays Eleanor or Nell to her family, the tortured soul that was played to perfection by Julie Harris in 1963. Nell brings her family together and they are forced to fight not only for their own lives but each other. (via)

In the original novel and film, the nursery where Abigail grew up and lived was always locked and no one could find the key for it, in the new version the “Red Room” with the red door is that room. The heart of Hill House. (via)

The story of Hill House and the Crain family is told through using flashback to when the five Crain kids were children and lived in Hill House with their parents. Here we see a young Nell played by Violet McGraw and her father played by Henry Thomas, famous to all of us as Elliott from E.T. (via)

Timothy Hutton plays Hugh Crain as an older man, here he’s seen with his oldest son Steven played by Michael Huisman also know as Dario Naharis from Game of Thrones. In the mini-series, Steven is a world-famous author who has made his fortune writing about haunted places and getting his start writing about his families misfortune in Hill House many years before. (via)

The talented and beautiful Carla Gugino plays Olivia Crain, wife to Hugh and mother of five. Her character is very sensitive to her “haunted” surroundings and does not handle it well. (via)

Elizabeth Reaser of Twilight fame plays grown-up Shirley, the oldest daughter in the Crain family and an excellent funeral director. Interesting fact, there is no Shirley character in the novel but I’m guessing she was created and named Shirley as an homage to author Shirley Jackson. (via)

From a design aspect, The Haunting of Hill House is beautiful. The mansion itself is gorgeous during the time the young family lived there and it’s equally creepy in the scenes from current time as the mansion continues to rot and decay. I also thought Shirley’s funeral home was great and well thought out. (via)

The series also stars several other wonderful actors who do an amazing story with their roles and making The Haunting of Hill House a great series to watch. It tells the story of a family who stumble into something they aren’t prepared for and how their experiences as children and young adults affect the rest of their lives and how as a family they handle it. If you get a chance and have 10 hours to spare check it out on Netflix, especially during this Halloween season. Enjoy!!!

Words are my own.

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