The Ending Of Hill House Was Originally Way Darker

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Major spoilers ahead for The Haunting of Hill House.
The Haunting Of Hill House came out on October 12, and the horror series has been terrifying fans ever since. With so much build-up, the finale had a lot of questions to answer— and it sure delivered. However, the show was almost much, much darker.
The finale of The Haunting of Hill House was full of twists that give The Twilight Zone a run for its money. First, the opening sequence with Steve and his wife turned out to be a dream. Then, the four surviving siblings found themselves trapped in the Red Room. The mysterious locked room had been built up all season as the key to the house’s evil. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Mike Flanagan said that after so much suspense, he knew it had to contain something “really special.” Flanagan revealed that the Red Room was one of his favorite twists — and that it was almost even more central to the ending.
“This room is like the heart of the house,” the ghost of Nell Crain says in the finale. “No, not a heart, a stomach.” The Crain siblings learn that the room has been open all along and that each of them has been living in it as it devours them. Thank goodness they escape, right?
“We knew the ending before we knew anything else,” Flanagan said. But final minutes of the ending changed after he "felt guilty" that it was too cruel. “We toyed with the idea for a little while that over that monologue, over the image of the family together, we would put the Red Room window in the background.” Flanagan said “For a while, that was the plan. Maybe they never really got out of that room.”
That one final twist would have spelled the end for the Crain family. Flanagan has previously said the second season will focus on a new group of characters, meaning that we may never have seen the Crains escape the house. Perhaps they would have appeared in season 2 among the group of nameless house ghosts.
Instead, the greatest twist of the show was one that never came. After layer after layer of misery, the Hallmark-card ending felt like it belonged in a different series. Luke blew out the candles on a cake, nothing caught fire, and fans waited for the final shoe to drop. It never did.
“Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House,” Steve Crain says in his final monologue, quoting the original novel “and whatever walked there, walked… together.” The scariest thing about the ending is how just one word can completely ruin the mood. But we'll take sappy any day if the alternative is being trapped in the Red Room.
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