There are many things that we can never unsee, especially on the internet—like that “Two Girls One Cup” video, for example, which I don’t recommend you go searching for if you haven’t seen it yet. Just take how people had reacted this way to that clip as a warning sign.
But scat horror is not the kind of horror that The Haunting of Hill House is all about. In case you haven’t gotten into it yet, the Netflix series is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same title, which tells the story of a family who had lived in a haunted house during the 1950s and was followed by the ghosts even long after they had left the house, with tragic events continuously following the Crains: Hugh, Olivia, and their kids Steve, Shirley, Theo, and twins Luke and Nell. The names may sound familiar because there was already a movie based on this book: The Haunting, released back in 1999 and starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, and Lily Taylor.
But that one’s story is different from this one. I tell you, this is the only horror series that has shocked me like crazy. At one point, while bingeing on it, I screamed so loud I woke up the people sleeping in our house. If you don’t like spoilers, then maybe come back once you’ve watched Hill House, because I will be definitely talking about a few important points in here. But if you have seen the show and had gotten a good scare already, then let’s get reminded again of what freaked us out.
The ever-strange locked Red Room serves as the “stomach” of the house because it consumes its occupants’ desires. That may sound something like Christian Grey’s kink room, but it’s less sexual and more manipulative. The red room is how the house keeps its residents complacent even in the face of constant horror, serving as a game room, a reading room, a dance room, even a tree house. It’s basically a spot of solace for the family, without their realizing that they’re actually within the Red Room. Well, except for Hugh. Now I will always see a red door as a lure to somewhere that seems innocuous but is actually fatal.
Holding a tea party with her mother Olivia and her sister Shirley is Nell’s favorite game, and it was how Olivia bribed her to enter the Red Room. By this time, the family matriarch was already trapped within her nightmares and believed her twins were too. A house ghost named Poppy advised her to wake up her kids to have tea to end their nightmares—but the catch is that the tea was laced with poison. So, will I ever go to a tea party and not worry about frothing in the mouth after taking a sip of tea? I don’t think so. Not for a long time.
I will never not be terrified of caskets, more so of morgues, and I think one of the hardest jobs in the world would be to be a mortician handling a family member’s corpse. Well, Shirley is a morgue technician, and she was the one who had to cut open Nell’s body and stitch her mouth shut in preparation for her funeral. I think every cold, hard, silver table I’ll see would now remind me of Nell, lying dead in a blood-red dress, with a bug crawling out of her mouth. Bye, appetite.
One of the creepiest ghosts in Hill House is this really tall, skinny man who would use a cane to propel himself as he floats. He was also the owner of the bowler hat that Luke, one of the twins, took. If I had taken a bowler hat home without knowing where it came from, would I also be haunted by a spider of a man who would hide under my bed, wanting to get his hat back? You know what, on that thought, I’m good with a snapback.
Any light that flickers on and off is actually kind of scary, because it’s always a sign in horror movies that something disturbing is about to happen. In Hill House, though, it was Olivia’s way of saying “It’s time to come inside” whenever the kids are playing out late. Question is, which home? In the second episode “Open Casket,” the porch light on the scale-sized model of the Forever House flickered; this happened when Nell died. So could that be the sign of coming home from the world of the living?
Arguments inside the car
I have always been a fan of having long talks in a parked car: I see it as a time for listening to each other’s stories and just focusing on each other’s words. But I might have to rethink my position on that after watching episode eight “Witness Marks,” where Nell broke the fight that Theo and Shirley were having inside a car by appearing suddenly and screaming her dead, rotting head off. I have watched that scene three times and I still get shocked whenever she comes in.
I’m sharing these thoughts so I won’t have to live with them alone. If you’re one of the few who don’t care about spoilers and got intrigued, The Haunting of Hill House is streaming on Netflix. I also recommend watching it with your earphones on, the lights turned off, and a nice pillow nearby for you to grab on to. You’re welcome.
Photos from Netflix