New Haunting of Hill House Series for Netflix

Horror writer/director Mike Flanagan is adapting Shirley Jackson‘s novel The Haunting of Hill House into a 10-episode series for Netflix. He already has great ties with the streaming service, having previously released his film Hush with them, as well as the soon-to-be-released adaptation of Stephen King‘s Gerald’s Game.

Mike Flanagan

Flanagan to focus on Jackson’s Hill House reports that it is to be a modern re-imagining of the 1959 novel. The novel has been adapted into films twice before, both times as simply The Haunting, first in 1963 starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, which was relatively faithful to the novel. Then in 1999, a film that was only loosely based on the novel was released starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor. It has also been adapted into a play by F. Andrew Leslie that appears to follow the novel pretty faithfully.

The novel chronicles the efforts of Dr. John Montague, a psychic researcher interested in using Hill House to give proof of paranormal activity. He invites two assistants, Eleanor Vance, an almost hermit-like woman due to years of caring for an ill-tempered invalid mother, and Theodora, the polar opposite of Eleanor, both of whom have either experienced a supernatural event or show some proclivity for psychic abilities. They are joined by one of the heirs to Hill House, Luke Sanderson. The spookiness begins almost immediately and is mostly pretty vague, leaving the reader to imagine and interpret what exactly is going on, making the novel more psychological horror/thriller, which is one of the hallmarks of Jackson’s works. Stephen King calls it one of the best horror novels of the 20th century and many consider it to be the best haunted house novel of all time.

Absentia poster

The film Flanagan feels made his name

This will be the first scripted series Amblin TV will produce for Netflix, which also carries their outstanding documentary series Five Came Back. Mike Flanagan has been working in the horror genre since his 2006 short film Oculus, which he turned into a feature in 2013. He went to Kickstarter to make his 2010 film Absentia, which he considers the film the established his career. Flanagan’s films appear to lean more toward the supernatural and psychological horror/thriller type films, as opposed to the slasher flicks that can dominate the genre. If he stays true to course and true to the novel, this could be a definitive adaptation that even Jackson herself would be proud of.


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