First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
References: Wikipedia and IMDB.
I have to start by saying that I love the 1963 film adaptation of this book. I’ve seen it several times and find it totally enchanting. It is a remarkable and atmospheric film. As for its comparisons to Shirley Jackson’s original book, there are a few differences but these just make the film even more amazing. If you’d like to read more about it, check out this Wikipedia link. Be aware that it does however contain spoilers.
The Haunting film, 1963.
This film will always be in my top ten favourite horrors of all times and is exactly why I had to watch the 2018 series as soon as it came out.
The Haunting of Hill House – 2018 series is amazing if you love gothic horror. It draws pieces of the original book and film into a modern day story while losing none of the chills. This is a frightening series, one that will guarantee that you’ll almost feel that chill up your spine.
One area I feel compelled to applaud is the filmmaking aspect. There are some compelling and long one-shot-takes. As any filmmaker knows, this is extremely difficult to master. The choreography/directing involved has to be precise and they had child actors in it too! This would make it even more of a challenge. I watched in awe as these scenes played out. For more information, I have included the IMDB link.
Now, I’m officially late to the party on this one. I watched the film, then I watched the series and finally, I read the book. Was I disappointed? Definitely not. This is one creepy read.
One quote that is repeated often throughout the book is, ‘journeys end in lovers meeting,’ which was originally coined by William Shakespeare and was said by the character, Feste, in Twelfth Night (II, iii, 44-45). Who was this lover Eleanor/Nell was hoping to meet? We know from the off that she’s seeking something to fill the deep hole in her life after the passing of her mother. She’s never known life to be any other way.
We feel her slowly being embroiled into the fantasy of Hill House even before she arrives. The thoughts of it consume her. Is the house the lover she is so desperately seeking and in that, will her journey come to an end? Would that be a physical end or the end of a chapter in her life?
The question of haunting or insanity hangs well over this book. A lot of occurrences create a haunted atmosphere, and given that the house was built to confuse and disturb, where all the measurements are slightly out, haunted is how it feels.
Does the evil residing within the house’s foundations discover her vulnerability and is it using it against her? After all, she’s not wanted anywhere else and she’s desperately seeking her place in life as well as her own identity, which seems to have long been lost. Is the house sensing the guilt she feels after failing to attend to her mother on the night she died? Was it soaking up her negative feelings and feeding her the attention she now craves? I mean, she’s practically been invisible most of her life. Or is she craving that very attention and playing with everyone?
What a difference a few days can make. Hill House gives her life meaning. She’s special, important and liked by her peers even though they tease her slightly. She has chosen to come to Hill House, probably one of the only choices she’s ever made for herself.
Again, did the house act as a catalyst for her spiralling journey into insanity or was it haunted? Maybe insanity was her true lover and journeys end. Or, maybe not, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
This book offers the reader so many levels to work on. I’d definitely recommend it if you like a book that will make you think about it for a long time. It’s creepy and made an excellent winter read while the nights drew in early. Love it!
Thanks so much for reading. 💟💟💟
Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestseller, The Next Girl.