The Haunting of Hill House (TV series)
|The Haunting of Hill House|
The Haunting of Hill House|
by Shirley Jackson
|Directed by||Mike Flanagan|
|Music by||The Newton Brothers|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42–71 minutes|
|Original release||October 12, 2018– present|
The Haunting of Hill House is an American supernatural horror television series created by Mike Flanagan. It is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson and premiered on Netflix. The first season consists of ten episodes and was released on October 12, 2018.
In the summer of 1992, Hugh and Olivia Crain temporarily move into an old mansion, Hill House, along with their five children: Steven, Shirley, Theodora (Theo), Luke and Eleanor (Nell). They experience paranormal occurrences and tragic loss, forcing them to move out of the house. In October 2018, 26 years after the hauntings, the Crain siblings and their estranged father, Hugh, reunite after tragedy strikes again, forcing them to confront their inner demons from their shared childhood while mourning their losses.
- Michiel Huisman as Steven Crain, the eldest son of the family. As a grown man he’s an author, famous for writing about his family’s experience at Hill House.
- Paxton Singleton as young Steven
- Elizabeth Reaser as Shirley Harris (née Crain), the eldest daughter of the family, who works with her husband at a mortuary. She has one son and daughter of her own.
- Kate Siegel as Theodora "Theo" Crain, the middle child of the five. She is now a child psychologist.
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Luke Crain, one of the twins, the two youngest kids in the family. He struggles with addiction as an adult.
- Julian Hilliard as young Luke
- Victoria Pedretti as Eleanor "Nell" Vance (née Crain), Luke’s twin. She has never fully recovered from the haunting she experienced while living in Hill House.
- Violet McGraw as young Nell
- Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain, the mother of the family, who designs houses.
- Timothy Hutton as Hugh Crain, the father of the family, who builds houses.
- Anthony Ruivivar as Kevin Harris, Shirley's husband
- Samantha Sloyan as Leigh
- Annabeth Gish as Clara Dudley
- Robert Longstreet as Mr. Dudley
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Steven Sees a Ghost"||Mike Flanagan||Teleplay by : Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
|In October 2018, successful author Steven Crain is known for writing "The Haunting of Hill House", an autobiographical novel about his summer experiences residing in a haunted mansion known as Hill House during childhood, alongside his four siblings -- Shirley, Theo, and twins Nell and Luke -- and their parents, house renovators Hugh and Olivia. During their stay, the Crain family encounters paranormal occurrences and is forced to flee without Olivia, who dies within the house, traumatizing the rest of the family. However, Steven does not believe in the paranormal, having missed most of the frightening experiences, learning of them second-hand from his siblings. A professional failure, six years prior to the present day, Steven used his family's traumatic experiences to write his book, straining his bonds with his siblings when it becomes a best-seller. His career now revolves around writing books about paranormal locations and experiences he doesn't believe in. In the present day, Steven and Shirley get missed calls from Nell, who then contacts Hugh and expresses concern for Luke, who has become an addict. Meanwhile, Steven crosses paths with Luke stealing equipment from his house to sell. Steven meets a hiding Nell in his apartment and gets a call from Hugh, who tells him that Nell went to Hill House and committed suicide. Steven realizes that the Nell in his house is actually 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 later 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 to her childhood reveal that Theo is able to discern feelings and impressions from people and objects when touching them. She is able to tell a junky box feels "fancy," opening it to find a treasure, and when she scolds Mrs. Dudley for yelling at Luke, she touches her and learns Mrs. Dudley isn't being mean, but afraid. An incident with Luke, Theo, and the dumbwaiter leads them to a secret floor not mapped in the house's blueprints, where Luke encounters something that attacks him. Luke is upset no one believes him, so Theo investigates to find a hidden door leading to the basement. Olivia reveals to Theo that her grandmother (and by extent, she and her daughters) are "sensitive" and gifts Theo with her first pair of gloves. While working as a therapist for children in foster care (using her ability to assist each child), adult Theo comes across a child who's difficult for her to read, and who claims to be tormented by a monstrous entity she calls "Mr. Smiley" who lives in the basement. After having nightmares of Mr. Smiley, Theo goes to the foster parents of the child and discovers the truth of the situation. After the events of the last episode, Theo goes into Shirley's refurbishing room and takes off her gloves to touch Nell's body, then collapses and screams.|
|4||"The Twin Thing"||Mike Flanagan||Scott Kosar||October 12, 2018|
|During his childhood, Luke began to be frustrated his family never believed him. Child Luke finds a friend named Abigail, whom all of the family insist is imaginary, and his parents likewise disbelieve his tale of what happened in the basement. 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 sober and determined to stay that way, a first for him. His closest friend in the halfway house is his "girlfriend," Joey. Luke and Nellie have shared a "twin thing" since birth, and each is able to feel the other's physical ailments or injuries. Joey runs away to get high, and Luke follows after when he sees a vision of his twin telling him to go. Child Luke wakes up one night and encounters the spirit of a long, tall man with a suit and cane, who floats a foot above the floor. The apparition comes to collect its bowler hat from Luke, and finds him. Adult Luke tries to locate and help Joey, revealing he still sees the hatted man whenever he's sober, following him wherever he goes. Luke finds his friend, but during his search, Luke feels unnaturally cold, as if his limbs are heavy and unmoving, and he complains his neck is sore. Bowling hat man continues to follow him. Lacking money for a place for them to stay, Luke breaks into Steve’s apartment to steal items to sell. The events of the first episode play out from Luke's perspective. Luke is unable to help Joey and is mugged. The feeling of cold and heaviness from earlier is now unbearable and Luke calls the halfway house to beg to be allowed back in. Steve informs Luke of Nell’s passing, but Luke shakily states it wasn't suicide.|
|5||"The Bent-Neck Lady"||Mike Flanagan||Meredith Averill||October 12, 2018|
|During her childhood, Nell begins to be tormented by a ghastly apparition she calls the Bent-Neck Lady, a ghostly figure with a broken neck who stands at the foot of her bed, staring at her, or screaming, while Nell is unable to move. An adult Nell begins seeing a sleep technician, Arthur, for sleep paralysis and the two immediately hit it off. The two become engaged, eventually marrying, with Arthur continuing to help Nell whenever she suffers her episodes. During one instance, however, Arthur suffers a sudden brain aneurysm, collapsing and dying, and Nell sees the Bent-Neck Lady once again. While seeing a new therapist, Nell begins to use her medication less and less, causing schisms with Theo and Steve, and also reluctantly helps Luke to score heroin before he returns into rehab. 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 after making a series of calls to Steve, Shirley, and her father and reliving the days immediately after the family fled the house. She enters the house and encounters an idyllic scenario of her family and Arthur 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 realizes the truth and is pushed from the ledge, breaking her neck. As she dies, she sees herself fall and travel through the past revealing that she is the Bent-Neck Lady haunting her younger self.|
|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 sister, the power goes out, something is interfering with Nell's body, 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. This escalates until Nell's coffin falls over, interrupting the fights. Nell's spirit had been in the room the whole time as they fought, though no one could see her.|
|7||"Eulogy"||Mike Flanagan||Charise Castro Smith||October 12, 2018|
|Hugh is getting dressed and ready 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, assessing the house for storm damage, moisture and mold suggest a leak, but they 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 creature from Luke's childhood basement incident appears twice in the present, attacking Luke and then Hugh and Theo. Luke goes missing after the funeral.|
|8||"Witness Marks"||Mike Flanagan||Jeff Howard & Rebecca Klingel||October 12, 2018|
|Steven and Hugh decide to drive around to find Luke. Steven believes that the family's issues are mental, not supernatural. He explains to Hugh that he underwent a vasectomy to avoid spreading his family's "sickness" to his own children. Shirley stays behind in her funeral parlor with Theo to keep watch on whether Luke will use the stolen credit card. Shirley and Theo have a volatile argument and are spooked by unexplained knocks across the funeral parlor's walls. Shirley then gets a notification of Luke using the credit card to pay for gas, located somewhere nearby Hill House, making the group deduce that Luke is going to Hill House to burn it. Hugh then reveals to Steven that he and his siblings are like "an unfinished meal" to Hill House. He explains that certain things the children dealt with that seemed real are actually delusions given by the house. Meanwhile, Shirley and Theo decide to drive up to Hill House, going against Hugh's orders to stay put, while continuing to argue with each other. However, Nell's ghost scares them both, causing Theo to have an emotional breakdown. She runs out of the car and collapses on the grass. Theo then tearfully explains to Shirley that she was void of emotion during her mourning for Nell, until the lights went off once in the funeral parlor when they all met up to mourn the night before Nell's funeral, causing her to accidentally touch Kevin (at the moment when Shirley saw them both), reviving her human empathy while explaining that feeling shameful and sad was better than feeling nothing. Shirley helps her up and they walk back, their bond amended. 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 from behind. In flashbacks, Steve made a mirror for an unwell Olivia, who abnormally smashes it, and in later times, some time prior to his separation from Leigh, visited a doctor for fertility treatments.|
|9||"Screaming Meemies"||Mike Flanagan||Meredith Averill||October 12, 2018|
|10||"Silence Lay Steadily"||Mike Flanagan||Mike Flanagan||October 12, 2018|
The Haunting of Hill House received critical acclaim upon its release. Rotten Tomatoes gave the series an approval score of 91% and an average score of 8.5 out of 10, based on 55 critics, with the consensus stating: "The Haunting of Hill House is an effective ghost story whose steadily mounting anticipation is just as satisfying as its chilling payoff." Metacritic gave the series a score of 81 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim", based on 15 critics. 
Corrine Corrodus of The Telegraph gave the series 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, calling it "essential viewing" and stating 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, "Amazing", calling it "a superb and terrifying family drama."
The Independent reported that author Stephen King had tweeted: "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".
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