Lessons learned from ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

By Rick Hinton

Just finished “The Haunting of Hill House” on Netflix. Whew! It was quite the ride. If anyone deserves an Oscar, an Academy, or whatever award they bestow upon a television series, it would be creator Mike Flanagan, for creating one of the best character developments I have seen for some time. And, one of the best scary, cringe-worthy stories that kept my wife Laura’s head buried in couch blankets. It is “loosely” based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 book of the same name. Coincidentally, I had just finished the book prior to even hearing about the series, so it was fresh in my mind.

Regardless of exterior appearances, it’s what lies inside that tells a story. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

The plot: “In the summer of 1992, Hugh and Olivia Crain temporarily move into an old mansion, Hill House, along with their five children: Steven, Shirley, Theodora (Theo), Luke and Eleanor (Nell).  They experience paranormal occurrences and tragic loss, forcing them to move out of the house. Twenty-six years later, as adults, the Crain siblings and their estranged father, Hugh, reunite after tragedy strikes them again, forcing them to confront their inner demons from Hill House, meanwhile mourning for their losses.” Yep, pretty much sums it up, with the exception of how messed up the Crain children really were!

Spoiler Alert: If you are in the process of watching “The Haunting of Hill House”, or have not yet started, then you might want to skip through the rest of this article.

Hard life lessons I’ve learned from “The Haunting of Hill House”:

  • Flipping a house: I’ve never done it but know those who have. It’s a serious undertaking with unpredictable costs involved. Unless there’s an endless resource of money, why would the Crains take on such a project? This house had issues!
  • Is a career as a mortician really a logical choice after spending a summer in Hill House?
  • Future drug addiction, as a result of traumatic days and nights in a house beyond your control and reasoning? Yes, I guess it could happen.
  • Faithful caretakers that would not ever return to the house after dark! Can we say red flags flying?
  • “Sensitive” children (Theo & Nell) being exposed to this stuff, if only for a season. Theo eventually becomes a child therapist. What did you think was going to happen?
  • A writer of the paranormal (Steven) who doesn’t really believe in the paranormal. Ouch! It comes back to bite him.
  • Believe your kids when they say something happened. It’s not always a nightmare! And twins? That’s a special arrangement in itself. Run… don’t walk away!
  • Sleep paralysis is the real deal!
  • Take your medication. Damn you, Nell!
  • Families have a history. It’s not always a clean “Leave it to Beaver” moment.
  • Mothers have their secrets…

“The Haunting of Hill House” has exploded into a binge-watching event on Netflix. Will there be a second season? Maybe. And if so, I don’t see how the Crain family will be involved. That story has had its resolution. Possibly the Hills and the house they built? That would make a good tale. Most often it’s not a house that’s haunted, but rather the people residing within. However, some houses, even today, are just born bad. Do you live in one of them?