What is Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House based on?


The Haunting of Hill House premiered on Netflix today and Show Snob has the recap of the premiere episode for you.

With that in mind, this isn’t the first time that this story has been told and it is considered one of the finest horror stories ever written. So, what is Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House based on?

The story is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s amazing horror novel of the same name from 1959. No less than Stephen King has called it the greatest haunted house novel of all-time — and that is from the man who wrote The Shining.

As a matter of fact, the opening narration of the Netflix series uses the exact wording from Shirley Jackson’s novel:

"“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”"

So, what is The Haunting of Hill House novel about?

Shirley Jackson’s novel is about a paranormal investigator who wants to see if the old Hill House is really haunted. He invites some individuals along with him, as well as the house’s owner and caretakers, to stay there and see if it is haunted.

What makes the novel so frightening is that it really never tells the reader if the house is haunted or if the individuals inside are mentally disturbed.

What makes it work is the atmosphere of the novel — one that relies on the mood and rising tension instead of throwing Poltergeist-style ghosts onto the page.

Is this the first adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House?

The Netflix version of The Haunting of Hill House is not the first adaptation of the Shirley Jackson story.

In 1963, just a few short years after the novel was published, Robert Wise (The Day The Earth Stood Still) adapted it into the horror movie The Haunting.

Like the novel, the movie did not throw a lot of ghosts and ghouls at the viewers. Instead, it kept all the ghosts behind closed doors, so the viewer never knew what was real and what was in the head of the characters.

In that movie, Hugh Crain built the house for his wife but she died as her carriage rode around to it for the first time. Their daughter lived there until her death, and her companion inherited the house but took her own life. The movie then follows the idea of the paranormal investigator coming in to investigate.

A second version arrived in 1999, also called The Haunting with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson as the actors and Jan de Bont (Speed, Twister) directing. This movie showed all the supernatural and was panned by critics.

What is different about the Netflix Haunting of Hill House?

With that said, the Netflix version has changed the story completely — and it still works.

The Netflix horror series is adapted by Mike Flanagan, who previously directed the very scary Oculus.

Hugh Crain is now a house flipper and moves his family into the home to renovate it. While there, his youngest daughter begins to see a ghost called the Bent-Necked Lady and eventually his wife begins to experience a mental break thanks to the house.

In this version, the movie flips from the past — where Hugh, his wife and their five kids experience the supernatural.

Next. The Haunting of Hill House season 1 premiere recap. dark

It also moves into the present day where one of the kids has died after returning to Hill House and the rest of the family (sans the mother) return to finally face the house they ran from years ago.

The Haunting of Hill House is currently streaming on Netflix, just in time for Halloween.