Oct 14, 2018

The Haunting of Hill House

In the summer of 1992, the five Crane children, Steven, Nell, Shirley, Luke, and Theo, and their parents, move into the gigantic, long-deserted Hill House to fix it up for resale.

Scary things start to happen.  Luke sees a strange floating figure in a bowler hat.  Nell sees a lady with a crooked neck. There are imaginary friends and dead kittens.  One night they all rush out, except for Mom, or whatever Mom turned into.

They never return.

No one ever returned to the house except for the police.

26 years pass, and the kids grow up.

1.Steven (Michiel Huisman, left) has become a writer, specializing in paranormal nonfiction, although he doesn't actually believe in ghosts -- he thinks the events of that summer were all the power of suggestion, bad dreams, and Mom's insanity. The other children are angry with him for capitalizing on their trauma.

2. Nell has been most affected by the trauma, suffering from sleep disorders and strange visions.  She marries sleep disorder tech Arthur (Jordan Christie, left), but "the house" kills him.  Then she decides to return to the house for the first time in 26 years.

3.  Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, left), Nell's twin brother, is a heroin addict in and out of rehab. He is troubled by visions of the Man in the Bowler Hat.  He has a  friend who is a girl, but no romantic relationships.  As a child he dreamed of a tree house with "no girls allowed" except for Theo.  Maybe he's gay.

4. Theo is a child psychologist with "sensitive" powers. She is a lesbian horndog, going through a series of one-night stands, afraid to open up to a relationship.  She appears in the original novel as well, although as a sad, pathetic "freak of nature."  Here she's out and proud.

5. Shirley is a mortician, along with her husband Kevin (Anthony Ruivivar, left).  She also believes that the events were caused by mental illness and suggestion.

None of them are speaking to their father, Hugh (Timothy Hutton), due to his refusal to tell them what really happened that night.

The Netflix tv series The Haunting of Hill House (2018) is inspired by on the Shirley Jackson novel, but not based on it.  There are a few characters retained, and a few other nods here and there. The entire first paragraph is copied into Michael's book, and Mrs. Dudley, the caretaker, gives her famous speech about being alone "in the night, in the dark." But she follows it with a plea to accept Jesus -- Mrs. Dudley is an evangelical Christian!

The juxtaposition between the 1992 and 2018 is effective, I like the sibling interactions, and there are many scary or disturbing images.

However, I found myself fast-forwarding past many of the "cute kid hugging a teddy bear" and "mom climbing in bed to tell her everything's ok" scenes, especially those that were not related to the primary plot.  For instance, a foster parent brings his little-girl charge in to see Theo because she claims that a monster named  "Mr. Smiley" comes into her room every night.  The answer isn't supernatural.  It's exactly what you're thinking.

There is a surprising amount of beefcake, a lot of men asleep in their underwear when scary things happen.

And Theo the horndog lesbian.

Definitely worth a look.

Whoops:  I just saw the last three episodes.  Family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family family.

And the big reveal is a gigantic letdown:

When Dad is getting them out of the house, he goes to Steven's room and tells him that he'll carry him out, and to keep his eyes clothes.  We've been wondering through 10 episodes about what gruesome sight Steven may have seen. 

Spoiler alert:

Nothing gruesome at all, just a crazy Mom who wants to kill her kids to keep them safe from the world.

1 comment:

  1. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is beautiful man- did you see "The Man in the Orange Shirt"? Yes I know you avoid sad gay movies but trust me you want to see Mr Cohen's gay love scenes. I started watching "The Haunting of Hill House" but it should have been shorter


No offensive, insulting, racist, or homophobic comments are permitted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...