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 father 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 along with parents Hugh and Olivia, and his younger siblings Shirley, Theo, Nell and Luke. During their stay, the Crain family encounters paranormal occurrences and is forced to flee without Olivia, who dies within the house, traumatising 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, Steven missed most of the frightening experiences and does not actually believe in the paranormal. Theo goes to a bar where she flirts with a woman, Trish, and goes home with her. Steven and Shirley miss calls from Nell, who then calls Hugh and expresses concern for Luke, who has become an addict. Steven returns home, whereby he sees Luke trying to leave with some equipment that was stolen from his apartment. When Steven enters the apartment, he finds Nell there. While talking to her, Steven receives a call from Hugh informing him that Nell went to Hill House and has died. 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 kittens located in a hut nearby the mansion, and manages to convince her parents to let her take them inside the house. However, the kittens all end up dying, which deeply affects and disturbs Shirley, who obsesses over why she couldn't fix them. Some time after she and her family have left Hill House, a funeral is held for Olivia and an initially distraught Shirley is surprised and in awe that the mortician was able to "fix" her mother. As an adult, Shirley is now a mortician who owns a funeral business alongside her husband, Kevin, and rents a guest house to Theo, who is now a child therapist. Shirley soon gets a call from Steven, who informs her of Nell's death. Distraught and shaken, she requests that Nell's corpse be brought to her and she embalms her sister herself. However, after completing the embalming, Shirley suffers a scare when she encounters a ghost from her past.|
|3||"Touch"||Mike Flanagan||Liz Phang||October 12, 2018|
|Flashbacks reveal that Theo is able to perceive feelings from people and impressions from objects when she touches them with her bare hands. An incident with Luke in the dumbwaiter leads to a secret cellar that was not mapped in the house's blueprints, whereby Luke encounters a ghost that attacks him. Luke is upset that no one believes him, so Theo investigates and finds a hidden door leading to the basement. Olivia reveals to Theo that her grandmother (and by extension, she and her daughters) are "sensitive" and gives Theo a pair of gloves to protect her hands. While working as a therapist for children in foster care, Theo comes across a child that she can't "read" and who claims to be tormented by "Mr. Smiley", a monster that lives in the basement. Theo goes to the house where the little girl lives and discovers the truth of the situation through her touch; the foster dad was molesting the girl and Mr. Smiley was a manifestation of the abuse. Theo contacts the authorities and the foster dad is arrested. Afterwards, Theo goes to the morgue, takes off her gloves and touches Nell's forehead. Theo then collapses and screams. Later, Theo opens up about herself to Trish. A flashback to their last night in Hill House reveals disturbing images when Theo touches her father on the way out, including Hugh and Olivia fighting and Olivia getting pushed up against the wall and hitting her head.|
|4||"The Twin Thing"||Mike Flanagan||Scott Kosar||October 12, 2018|
|Child Luke was frustrated his family never believed him. He finds a friend named Abigail, who all of the family insist is imaginary. Luke claims a bowler hat his mother finds in the attic and wears it frequently. In the present, Luke is now 90 days clean and determined to stay that way. Luke and Nell have shared a "twin thing" since birth, and each is able to feel the other's physical ailments. Luke's best friend in the halfway house, Joey, runs away to get high, and Luke follows after. Child Luke wakes up one night and encounters the spirit of a tall man that comes to collect its bowler hat from Luke. Luke finds his friend, but during his search, Luke feels unnaturally cold and stiff. Lacking money for a place to stay, Luke breaks into Steve’s apartment to steal items and sell. Steve catches him and thinks he is selling them for drugs and buys his items back. Joey takes the money and disappears and later Luke is mugged, leaving him shoeless and wandering with the hatted man following him. The feeling of cold from earlier is unbearable and Luke calls the halfway house to beg to be allowed back in. Steve informs Luke of Nell’s passing. Luke shakily 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 ghostly figure with a broken neck standing at the foot of her bed while Nell is unable to move. Adult Nell sees a sleep technologist, Arthur, for sleep paralysis. The two immediately hit it off and eventually marry. During one sleep paralysis episode, Arthur suffers a sudden brain aneurysm and dies, while Nell sees the Bent-Neck Lady again. Nell begins to use her medication less and less, causing schisms with Theo and Steve. In her broken state, and convinced by her therapist that Hill House is "just a carcass in the woods", Nell drives off to the house. She enters the house and encounters an idyllic scenario of her family and Arthur in a beautifully renovated mansion before finding herself at the top of a staircase, where she puts a noose around her neck whilst imagining it to be her mother's locket, before she is pushed from the ledge by her mother, breaking her neck. As Nell dies, she sees herself fall and travel through the past revealing that she herself is the Bent-Neck Lady haunting her younger self, becoming a ghost of the house.|
|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 entire Crain family meeting at the funeral parlor to view Nell's body, together in the same room for the first time since leaving the house. During the storm in the past, Nell goes missing. While searching for her, Olivia sees spirits in the house, and enters a fugue state, acting strangely and unlike herself. The children see a creature in the house. Nell is eventually found, and she says she had been there the whole time, but they couldn't see her. At the funeral home in the present, the Crains share memories of Nell. Odd things happen: Steve sees a flash of the ghost of his mother, the power goes out, something is interfering with Nell's body by placing buttons on her eyes, and Hugh sometimes seems to talk to himself. The family demands answers from Hugh about what happened, leading to several confrontations and revelations. Tempers rise and the arguments turn nasty. Theo and Kevin reveal they accepted royalties from Steve's Hell House book, infuriating Shirley. She later catches Theo and Kevin together in a storage room. Nell's coffin falls over by itself, interrupting the fights. Nell's spirit had been in the room the whole time as they fought, although no one could see her.|
|7||"Eulogy"||Mike Flanagan||Charise Castro Smith||October 12, 2018|
|Hugh is getting dressed and preparing for the funeral, revealing that he has been talking to Olivia. Hugh attempts to reach out to Shirley, who is uncooperative, but has better luck with Theo, and the two converse over each other's mistakes and make amends. During the funeral, Hugh tries to reconnect with his children. In the past, Hugh assesses the house for storm damage; moisture and mold suggest a leak, but he can't find a source. Mr. Dudley assists Hugh, revealing some history of the house's previous occupants. Mr. Dudley suggests the increasingly-erratic Olivia needs to spend time away from the house, sharing some of the strange experiences he and Mrs. Dudley have had, and why they never come to the house at night. Hugh and Olivia agree she needs to spend some time away when her behavior becomes disturbing and dangerous. Hugh discovers the source of the moisture and solves the disappearance of William Hill, the original owner. The ghost of Olivia appears twice, attacking Luke at the funeral and then Hugh and Theo in Shirley's office. Luke goes missing after the funeral after 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 and explains he underwent a vasectomy to avoid spreading his family's "sickness". Shirley and Theo stay at the funeral parlor to keep watch on whether Luke will use the stolen credit card. They have an argument and are spooked by unexplained knocks across the walls. Shirley gets a notification of Luke using the credit card for gas, at a gas station on the way to Hill House. Hugh reveals to Steven that while he was living in the house, Steven had been seeing ghosts all along; he just didn't realize they were ghosts. He also explains that Steven and his siblings are like "an unfinished meal" to Hill House. Shirley and Theo decide to drive up to Hill House, while continuing to argue with each other. Nellie’s ghost scares them during their argument, until they mend their bond. Luke arrives at Hill House and tries to burn it down, only to be caught off guard by a vision of Olivia and another ghost, who incapacitates Luke.|
|9||"Screaming Meemies"||Mike Flanagan||Meredith Averill||October 12, 2018|
|In a flashback, Hugh finds Olivia, Nell, and Luke asleep on a couch, and she tells him she wished the children could stay like that forever. When she walks through her reading room door she enters the morgue containing the corpses of adult Nell and Luke, where Nell speaks to her. She wakes up in the middle of the night and encounters the ghost of Poppy Hill. Olivia agrees to leave Hill House the next morning to get some rest at the home of her sister, Janet, but actually checks into a nearby motel. She returns to Hill House and the family's last night at the mansion starts to unfold as an unstable Olivia rouses the twins and Abigail, who was staying over for the night, for a tea party in the Red Room. Shirley noticed her mother behaving oddly in the kitchen and awakes Hugh. He realizes Olivia had tainted tea with rat poison and is able to intervene before Luke and Nell drank the tea, but arrived too late to save Abigail. Hugh gets the kids out of the house, leaving a horrified Olivia behind, who dies when she falls off the top of the spiral staircase.|
|10||"Silence Lay Steadily"||Mike Flanagan||Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
|Steven and Hugh see Luke lying unconscious in the Red Room after failing to burn down Hill House. Steven becomes locked in the room and awakens from a nightmare to find Luke near death as Theo and Shirley, unconscious nearby, awaken after experiencing revelatory dreams about their lives. In Luke's dream he arises inside a pristine room and finds Olivia, Abigail, and a young Nell. Olivia wants him to stay, but Nell tells him to leave. He wakes up gasping and points to Nell's specter as having saved him. Nell explains that the Red Room is the "stomach" of the house and the room in which each of them had lived a personal fantasy. Before vanishing she assures them that they had all loved each other completely. Olivia's ghost tells Poppy to stay away from Hugh. Olivia doesn't want her children to leave, but Hugh convinces her to open the door and let them escape. Hugh and Steven stay behind and Olivia's death and its aftermath are revealed. The Dudleys were Abigail's parents and convince the younger Hugh to keep the death of Abigail and how it transpired a secret. Hugh, who had died by now, enters the room and joins Olivia and Nell. Two years later, the siblings, with 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.
- The Haunting, 1963 film adaptation of novel The Haunting of Hill House
- The Haunting, 1999 film adaptation
- Rose Red, 2002 miniseries adaptation by Stephen King
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