The Haunting of Hill House (TV series)
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|The Haunting of Hill House|
|Created by||Mike Flanagan|
|Based on||The Haunting of Hill House|
by Shirley Jackson
|Directed by||Mike Flanagan|
|Composer||The Newton Brothers|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–71 minutes|
|Original release||October 12, 2018|
|Followed by||The Haunting of Bly Manor|
The Haunting of Hill House is an American supernatural horror drama television series created and directed by Mike Flanagan, produced by Amblin Television and Paramount Television, for Netflix, and serves as the first entry in The Haunting anthology series. It is loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The plot alternates between two timelines, following five adult siblings whose paranormal experiences at Hill House continue to haunt them in the present day, and flashbacks depicting events leading up to the eventful night in 1992 when the family fled from the mansion. The ensemble cast features Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, and Victoria Pedretti as the adult counterparts of the siblings, with Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas as parents Olivia and Hugh Crain, and Timothy Hutton appearing as an older version of Hugh.
The series premiered on Netflix on October 12, 2018. The Haunting of Hill House received critical acclaim, particularly for its acting, directing, and production values, with many calling it an "effective ghost story." A follow-up series by Flanagan titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, with most of the same crew and some of the same cast but a different story and characters, was released on October 9, 2020.
In the summer of 1992, Hugh and Olivia Crain and their five children—Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Eleanor (Nell)—move into Hill House to renovate the mansion in order to sell it and build their own house, designed by Olivia. However, due to unexpected repairs, they have to stay longer, and they begin to experience increasing paranormal phenomena, resulting in a tragic loss and the family fleeing from the house. Twenty-six years later, the Crain siblings and their estranged father reunite after another tragedy strikes them again, and they are forced to confront how their time in Hill House has affected each of them.
Cast and characters
- Michiel Huisman and Paxton Singleton as Steven Crain, the eldest son of the family. He became a famous author after writing about his family's experiences at Hill House, despite his siblings' disapproval.
- Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain, the matriarch of the family, who designs houses. She, along with her youngest daughter Nell, is among the most affected by the paranormal activity in the house.
- Timothy Hutton and Henry Thomas as Hugh Crain, the patriarch of the family, who flips houses. He becomes estranged from his children after the events at Hill House.
- Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson as Shirley Crain Harris, the eldest daughter of the family. She owns a mortuary with her husband Kevin. They have a son and a daughter.
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Julian Hilliard as Luke Crain, older twin of Nell and one of the two youngest members of the family. He struggles with addiction as an adult to push out his memories of Hill House.
- Kate Siegel and Mckenna Grace as Theodora "Theo" Crain, the middle child of the five, and a child psychologist. "Sensitive" like her mother, she wears gloves to prevent touching other people and experiencing psychic knowledge about them.
- Victoria Pedretti and Violet McGraw as Eleanor "Nell" Crain Vance, Luke's younger twin and one of the two youngest members of the family. She has never fully recovered from the haunting she experienced while living in Hill House.
- Annabeth Gish as Clara Dudley, she and her husband are the caretakers of the house and help the Crains in their efforts to revamp the mansion.
- Anthony Ruivivar as Kevin Harris, Shirley's husband.
- Samantha Sloyan as Leigh Crain, Steven's wife.
- Robert Longstreet as Horace Dudley
- Levy Tran as Trish Park, Theo's girlfriend.
- James Lafferty as Ryan Quale, an apparition from Shirley's memory.
- James Flanagan as Funeral Director
- Jordane Christie as Arthur Vance, Nell's sleep technologist and later husband.
- Elizabeth Becka as Aunt Janet, sister of Olivia Crain.
- Logan Medina as Jayden Harris, son of Shirley and Kevin.
- May Badr as Allie Harris, daughter of Shirley and Kevin.
- Anna Enger as Joey, a recovering addict that Luke tries to help.
- Fedor Steer as William Hill, former owner of Hill House who went insane and bricked himself behind a wall; appears as Tall Man / Bowler Hat Man.
- Olive Elise Abercrombie as Abigail, young Luke's friend from the woods.
- Catherine Parker as Poppy Hill, one of the ghosts inhabiting Hill House, wife of William Hill and considered insane when alive.
- Mimi Gould as Hazel Hill, one of the ghosts inhabiting Hill House
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Steven Sees a Ghost"||Mike Flanagan||Teleplay by : Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
|Steven Crain is an author known for The Haunting of Hill House, an autobiographical novel about his childhood experience while residing in the haunted mansion with parents Hugh and Olivia, and younger siblings Shirley, Theo, Nell and Luke. During their stay, the Crains encounters paranormal occurrences and are forced to flee without Olivia, who dies within the house, traumatizing the rest of the family. Years later, Steven used his family's traumatic experiences to write his book, straining the bonds with his siblings. Although it became a best-seller, he missed most of the frightening experiences and does not actually believe in the paranormal. Theo falls in love with a woman Trish. Steven and Shirley miss calls from Nell, who then calls Hugh and expresses concern for Luke, who has become a drug addict. When Steven returns home, he finds Nell standing there. He receives a call from Hugh, informing him that Nell went to Hill House and is dead. Steven realizes that Nell is a ghost.|
|2||"Open Casket"||Mike Flanagan||Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
|In childhood flashbacks at Hill House, Shirley encounters a box of abandoned kittens and takes them in. However, the kittens all end up dying, which deeply affects Shirley, who obsesses over why she couldn't fix them. Later, during Olivia's funeral, an initially distraught Shirley is in awe that the mortician was able to "fix" her mother and return her previous beauty. As an adult, Shirley is a mortician who owns a funeral business alongside her husband, Kevin, and rents a guesthouse to Theo, who is now a child therapist. Shirley is informed of Nell's death. Distraught, she decides to embalm and "fix" her sister herself. However, while doing so, she encounters her mother's ghost.|
|3||"Touch"||Mike Flanagan||Liz Phang||October 12, 2018|
|Theo is able to perceive feelings from people and impressions from objects when she touches them with bare hands. Child Luke encounters a ghost that attacks him and is upset that no one believes him. Theo investigates for him and finds a hidden door leading to the basement. Olivia reveals to her that her grandmother was "sensitive" just like her and gives Theo a pair of gloves to protect her hands. At her job, Theo comes across a child that she can't "read", who claims to be tormented by "Mr. Smiley", a monster. Theo goes to the girl's house and discovers the truth through her touch; the girl's foster dad was molesting her and Mr. Smiley was a manifestation of the abuse. Theo gets the foster dad arrested. She goes to the morgue and touches Nell's forehead before collapsing and screaming. A flashback to their last night in Hill House reveals that when Hugh grabbed Theo as they were trying to flee, Theo saw disturbing images of ghosts and Olivia being pushed.|
|4||"The Twin Thing"||Mike Flanagan||Scott Kosar||October 12, 2018|
|Child Luke is frustrated as his family never believes him about the ghosts he sees, including his "imaginary friend," Abigail. Luke claims a bowler hat his mother finds in the attic and wears it. Present Luke is now 90 days clean. Since birth, Luke and Nell are able to feel the other's physical ailments. Luke's best friend in rehab, Joey, flees to get high, and Luke follows to get her back. Child Luke encounters the ghost of an abnormally tall man that comes to get its bowler hat back from him. Luke finds Joey but begins feeling unnaturally cold and stiff. Lacking money for a place to stay, Luke breaks into Steve’s apartment to steal items to sell but is caught by Steve, who gives him money. Joey steals the money and flees, and Luke is mugged, leaving him wandering with the hatted ghost following him. Luke calls his caseworker and she and Steve finds him and inform him that Nell committed suicide. Realizing he has been feeling Nell in death all this time, Luke states it wasn't suicide.|
|5||"The Bent-Neck Lady"||Mike Flanagan||Meredith Averill||October 12, 2018|
|Child Nell is tormented by an apparition she calls the Bent-Neck Lady, a ghost with a broken neck. Adult Nell sees a sleep technologist, Arthur, for sleep paralysis. The two fall in love and marry. Arthur tragically suffers a brain aneurysm and dies, and the Bent-Neck Lady returns. Nell begins to use her medication less and less. In her broken state, and convinced by her therapist that Hill House is "just a carcass" of a house and not the haunted nightmare of her past, Nell travels to the house. She sees it as it was in her childhood, fully renovated, with her family and Arthur present. This, however, is an illusion; the house is desolate and abandoned in reality. Nell is led to the spiral staircase, where she puts a noose around her neck whilst imagining it to be her mother's locket. She is then pushed by her mother's ghost, breaking her neck. As Nell dies, she travels through the past, revealing that she herself was the Bent-Neck Lady and has been haunting her younger self all along.|
|6||"Two Storms"||Mike Flanagan||Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard||October 12, 2018|
|The episode alternates between two storms: one the family experienced in the past at Hill House, the other in the present, the night before Nell's funeral, with the Crain family meeting at the funeral parlor to view her body, finally together in the same room after years. At Hill House, Nell goes missing. Olivia sees spirits and enters a fugue state, acting strangely. Nell reappears, shaken, and states that she had been right there in front of the family the whole time, yelling, but they couldn't see or hear her. In the present, as the Crains argue, odd things happen: Steve sees the ghost of his mother, the power goes out, and someone places buttons on Nell's eyes. The family demands answers from Hugh about what really happened, leading to confrontations. Shirley catches Theo and Kevin together in a storage room. Nell's coffin falls over by itself, startling the Crains into shock. Nell's spirit, as the Bent-Neck Lady, is present in the room the whole time, though no one sees her.|
|7||"Eulogy"||Mike Flanagan||Charise Castro Smith||October 12, 2018|
|It is revealed that Hugh often talks to Olivia like she is still there. He is able to make amends with Theo, who says she should've reached out to him. During the funeral, he tries to reconnect with the rest of his children. In the past, Hugh assesses the house for storm damage. Mr. Dudley assists, revealing some history of the house's previous occupants. Mr. Dudley suggests that the erratic Olivia needs to spend time away from the house, revealing why he and Mrs. Dudley never come to the house at night. Hugh and Olivia agree she needs to spend some time away when her behavior becomes more disturbing. Hugh inadvertently uncovers the body of William Hill, the original owner, who had bricked himself up inside the house's walls. Olivia's ghost attacks Luke, then Hugh and Theo. Luke goes missing after the funeral, stealing Shirley's wallet and Theo's car.|
|8||"Witness Marks"||Mike Flanagan||Jeff Howard & Rebecca Klingel||October 12, 2018|
|Steven and Hugh drive around to find Luke. Steven believes the family's issues are mental illness and explains he underwent a vasectomy to avoid spreading his family's "sickness" on. At the funeral parlor, Shirley and Theo have an argument over Theo and Kevin in the storage room. The family discovers that Luke is on his way to Hill House. Hugh reveals to Steven that Steven has been seeing ghosts all along without realizing they were ghosts, and that none of them are mentally ill. He reveals that the tree house Steven and Luke speak of at Hill House was never there, and that the Crains are like "an unfinished meal" to the house. Shirley and Theo also begin driving to Hill House to save Luke. Nell's ghost scares them, and Theo breaks down, explaining that Shirley misunderstood her and Kevin; nothing happened. The sisters reconcile. Luke tries to burn down Hill House, only to be attacked by the ghost of Poppy Hill, William Hill's insane wife.|
|9||"Screaming Meemies"||Mike Flanagan||Meredith Averill||October 12, 2018|
|In the past, Olivia begins having disturbing paranormal experiences in the house. She sees a vision of the corpses of adult Nell and Luke, and encounters the ghost of Poppy Hill, who tells her the world outside will devour her children and she needs to keep them safe. Disoriented and scared, Olivia and Hugh decide she should take a break and travel to her sister, Janet's house. However, Olivia, now unstable and influenced by the house, never goes and the family's last night at the mansion starts to unfold. A delusional Olivia takes Nell, Luke, and Abigail, who was sleeping over, for a tea party in the Red Room, which is now open. Hugh realizes Olivia has poisoned the tea with rat poison to kill the kids, believing this is the only way to keep them safe from the world. He saves Luke and Nell but is too late to save Abigail. Terrified, he hurriedly gets the kids out of the house while Olivia, wanting to "wake up" from her horrible "dream," jumps off the top of the spiral staircase.|
|10||"Silence Lay Steadily"||Mike Flanagan||Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
|Steven and Hugh find Luke unconscious in the Red Room. Steven, Theo, and Shirley all become locked inside with Luke and all experience revelatory nightmares about their lives as the house tries to kill them; all the siblings are saved by Nell's ghost. They awaken to find Luke dying. Nell's ghost explains that the Red Room is the "stomach" of the house and can disguise itself as different rooms to each person to calm them while it "digests" them. It disguised itself as the tree house for Luke, the gaming room for Steven, and so on. The siblings apologize for not saving Nell and she assures them that they all loved each other. Olivia's ghost keeps the siblings trapped, not wanting them to leave. Hugh convinces her to open the door, telling her he will make her a promise. She frees them and the aftermath of her death is revealed, including the fact that the Dudleys were Abigail's parents. Hugh commits suicide to be with Olivia (his promise), and says goodbye to Steven, entering the Red Room with Olivia and Nell. Two years later, the siblings, their bonds reconciled, celebrate Luke's sobriety together with their partners.|
On April 10, 2017, Netflix announced that it had ordered a 10-episode adaptation of the classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, with Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy as executive producers, and Amblin Television and Paramount Television as co-production companies. It is the first scripted series to be made for Netflix by Amblin.
Production on the series began in October 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, with location filming in the city and its environs. Bisham Manor, former name of the property located in LaGrange, served as the exterior of "Hill House." The house's interior settings were filmed at EUE/Screen Gem Studios in Atlanta.
On Rotten Tomatoes, The Haunting of Hill House has a 93% "certified fresh" rating based on 97 reviews, with an average rating of 8.46/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Haunting of Hill House is an effective ghost story whose steadily mounting anticipation is just as satisfying as its chilling payoff." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Corrine Corrodus of The Telegraph graded the series with a 5/5 rating, calling it "the most complex and complete horror series of its time." Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave unanimous praise to the Netflix adaptation, describing it as "essential viewing," and stated that "[the show] contains some of the most unforgettable horror imagery in film or television in years." David Griffin of IGN gave the series a rating of 9.5 out of 10, calling it "a superb and terrifying family drama," and Paul Tassi of Forbes described it as "absolutely fantastic" and stated that "it may actually be Netflix's best original show ever."
Horror author Stephen King, who holds considerable admiration for Jackson's novel, tweeted about the series, "I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure."[a]
Awards and nominations
|2019||Writers Guild of America Awards||New Series||Meredith Averill, Charise Castro Smith, Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard, Rebecca Leigh Klingel, Scott Kosar, Liz Phang||Nominated|||
|Art Directors Guild Awards||One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Television Series||Patricio M. Farrell||Nominated|||
|Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best Series||Mike Flanagan||Won|||
|Bram Stoker Award||Superior Achievement in a Screenplay||Meredith Averill for "The Bent-Neck Lady"||Won|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Streaming Horror & Thriller Series||The Haunting of Hill House||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Streaming Presentation||Henry Thomas||Won|
|Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation||Carla Gugino||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Presentation||Michiel Huisman||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Presentation||Victoria Pedretti||Nominated|
In August 2019, it was announced that The Haunting of Hill House would be released on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment on October 15, 2019. The release includes extended director's cuts of three episodes ("Steven Sees a Ghost", "The Bent-Neck Lady" and "Silence Lay Steadily"), all of which also have audio commentaries from Flanagan, and an additional audio commentary for "Two Storms".
In October 2018, Flanagan said that a possible second season would not continue the story of the Crain family, specifying, "it's done."
On February 21, 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a second season as an anthology series, titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, and based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. It was released on October 9, 2020.
The second season features the return of several Hill House actors portraying new characters, including Victoria Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel and Carla Gugino.
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