How Real Is The Haunting of Hill House?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Halloween is approaching, which means we’re all on the lookout for some creepy movies or TV to give us the goosebumps. And Netflix has just dropped our newest horror obsession, The Haunting of Hill House. For bingers who are wondering if it’s real: sorry, no. But it is adapted from Shirley Jackson’s book of the same name. The book is commonly regarded as one of the scariest books ever written and has already been adapted into two films, which were released in 1963 and 1999.
Netflix’s adaptation, which stars Michiel Huisman (who also played Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones) and Kate Siegel, stays true to the book in theme but brings it into 2018. The Haunting of Hill House features a new cast characters that don’t appear in the book, and the time is set in the present day. This means we can expect a lot of references to how modern technology can affect us in unsettling ways — like Black Mirror, but deeper into the mind, and with an amazing old mansion.
With this story’s huge legacy, it is worth going back to Jackson’s story for insight into the original source material. The Haunting of Hill House was published in 1953 and is notable because it diverges from the typical horror story scheme. Rather than monsters or ghosts or scary events, the story delves into the psychological terror of the mind. The Hill House is just as much a character as the band of people who explore the house’s haunted history. There’s also creepy caretakers, too — which may have inspired Stephen King’s The Shining; King is a huge fan of this book.
Hill House also thematically shares commonalities with Requiem for a Dream, as both books take you deep into the characters’ emotions, with the outside world as a framework. Eleanor, the primary character, is torn apart by the paranormal events taking place at Hill House, but the reader is left wondering if she is causing them herself. Siegel’s character is based on Eleanor, but doesn’t follow her character arc; she is trapped by the house in different, scarier ways.
The show is available to watch on Netflix now. You can also read the book, and check out the classic 1963 film. Cozy up with your security blanket and get ready to sleep with the lights on.

More from TV

R29 Original Series