Netflix's 'The Haunting of Hill House' is the horror show you simply cannot miss!
'The Haunting of Hill House' will premiere on Netflix on October 12. The ultimate horror show to catch this month.
It's October, and that means one thing - audiences will be slapped across the face with a tsunami of horror movies and television shows, many of which will quite possibly have no right of branding themselves as such. All the major streaming services are getting into it as well, with Hulu all set to launch 'Into the Dark' on October 5 and Netflix similarly offering subscribers the likes of 'Malevolent,' and 'Riverdale' spinoff 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.' And while each has a unique selling point, it's 'The Haunting of Hill House' that you should focus on for a variety of reasons.
The series is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's seminal 1959 gothic-horror novel of the same name, which is considered to be one of the best literary ghost stories published during the 20th century and which has already been made into two feature films and a play. But fans who expect the Mike Flanagan-directed horror series to pay homage to the iconic novel are going to be disappointed because the name is where the similarities end. And that's not a call to grab your pitchforks and tiki torches as, rest assured, Flanagan is no novice, and the trailers very much indicate that 'The Haunting of Hill House' will have quite a few surprises in store.
According to an official description, the series will follow the story of "a group of siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past — some of which still lurk in their minds, while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House."
Now, a cursory glance through that synopsis will confirm how the series is quite different from the 1959 rendition, but a look at the teaser promo and the trailer will go someways in convincing you that it's worth a go. It's foolish to read too much into 2.5-minute snapshots that have been carefully assembled to showcase a show's best aspects, but what's apparent is that Flanagan stays true to Jackson's motif of terror over horror.
What's the difference, you ask? While commonly assumed to be the same, terror is that feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience and horror is the feeling of revulsion that follows the frightening sight or sound.
And well, the trailer is a masterclass of terror. Whether it's the vignettes of the mist swirling around an eerie, gothic mansion, the terrifying stills of its sinister halls, or the macabre snaps of the show's characters with their faces frozen in mute horror, 'The Haunting of Hill House' invites audiences into its world of hurt in such a way that you can't resist.
The fact that it has as acclaimed a horror enthusiast as Flanagan at the helm makes it all the more appealing. While he started out his career by leaning more towards melodrama, he switched his attention to horror with 'Absentia' and has not looked back since. The 40-year-old, who directs, writes and edits all of his ventures, unfailingly shocks viewers with a perfect blend of tension and trepidation, and now finds himself regularly mentioned alongside greats such as John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and George Romero. It's an honor he's well-earned too.
While 'Oculus,' 'Hush,' and 'Before I Wake' all earned critical acclaim, it's his adaptation of the seemingly "unfilmable" Stephen King novel 'Gerald's Game' that introduced him to a wider audience. It premiered on Netflix in September 2017 and proved to be a big hit on the streaming platform, which meant that he was a known commodity amongst executives at the network when they unsurprisingly turned to him for 'The Haunting of Hill House.' And from the featurette posted on their YouTube page, it's clear why he's held in such high regard.
Flanagan is aware that a series has to be approached from a different angle when compared to a full-length feature. "In 90 minutes, you can get away with scaring people three or four times. For something like this, for over ten hours, the rules are very different," he says. "I want to build a sense of tension and to sustain it for as long as possible."
It was also pleasant to see how Flanagan conceded that the traditional, tried and tested ways were now outdated. "Horror is changing. It got to the point where the genre was content just to startle people. Now, we're seeing that audiences are much more sophisticated. For our show, I want to go back to a time when horror was much more profound than being just afraid," he explained.
It helps that the actors on the show understand that they're working under one of the modern pioneers of the genre as well. Timothy Hutton, who portrays the older version of Hugh Crain, revealed, "Working with Mike Flanagan has been absolutely great. He brings a great spirit to the set and he spent a lot of time thinking about this story and thinking about how he's going to film it visually."
Carla Gugino, who was cast in the role of mother Olivia Crain, similarly said, "He has a really unique way into horror. It's very true to the genre but he will always go for a more complex character and a deeper version of something. He is the true definition of an auteur."
To those who are still not convinced, 'The Haunting of Hill House' was arguably best described by Flanagan himself, who called it a "Truly complex human story that happens to be wrapped in the skin of horror." And for those who do not want to go into the series blind, it's been shot with a simple directive: "What you don't see is scarier than what you do."
Watch the trailer for 'The Haunting of Hill House' here: