Friends, working down here with the likes of the Projectionist, recording the Saturday Frights and even helping with my co-host’s own Sinister Tales of Terror podcast – it shouldn’t shock you that I quite enjoy the horror genre. And why not? It’s fun to be scared – safely scared – and that sensation is something that I try to find on a near daily basis. It doesn’t matter whether those shivers up the back of my spine come from movies or TV shows or from comics and books. Make no mistake about it either, when talking about horror literature you can’t go wrong with Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House. I know I am not alone in thinking that because just the other day, Netflix debuted the trailer for it’s adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House and it is dripping with dread and creepiness!
To be totally honest, I suppose one should say that Shirley Jackson’s novel is more psychological horror and the trailer I think delivers on that type of terror. For what it might be worth, I was a young man when I first picked up a copy of The Haunting of Hill House at my local, now sadly defunct B. Dalton book store. I was working at an upscale restaurant at the time, a truly five-star place in my neck of the woods. Opening and closing meant I was generally at the place anywhere from 14 to 18 hours a day – six days a week. While closing up at the end of the night, after counting the money down and zeroing out the register, I normally had an hour or two of doing nothing while waiting for the staff to finish up. This was the perfect time to curl up in one of the booths with a good book to pass the time. I practically devoured Jackson’s book and I’m not ashamed to admit that about halfway through it – I had to get up and turn up the lights in the restaurant.
It was shortly after finishing the book that I learned that Dreamworks was making an updated adaptation of Jackson’s novel to be entitled The Haunting. To be fair, I was already aware of the version released in 1963 – directed by Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story). Friends, it is truly an exceptional movie – all of it’s scares done by way of sound design as well as fantastic acting – the epitome of how to achieve success with a haunted house picture. This adaptation, which was also entitled The Haunting, was produced just a scant four years after Jackson had published her book, that should tell you how well it was received back in the day.
When 1999’s The Haunting hit theaters, I made sure to schedule off so I could catch it on opening night. It certainly had a great cast with Liam Neeson and Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, in addition to Owen Wilson. Watching the trailer I was immediately awed by the massively gothic touches in regards to the sets. I wish I could say I was super happy with the finished film but while this was a remake of the 1963 picture with some elements from Jackson’s book – they didn’t understand what truly made Robert Wise’s version stand out. In this case the less is so much more mentality fell away to tons and tons of CGI.
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I certainly have high hopes for this latest adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House. It’s going to be a series exclusively on Netflix, beginning on October 12th, the perfect time to help get yourself into the mood of the Holiday, right? It is adapted and directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Gerald’s Game) and stars Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Annabeth Gish, and McKenna Grace.
In total I believe there are ten episodes for Netflix’s upcoming series. I bring that up because the basic gist for the story of The Haunting of Hill House concerns a scientist named Dr. Montague attempting to prove that the supernatural actually exists – to do so he invites two Women who have had paranormal experiences to Hill House, as well as a young man who has inherited the property. Nothing in the trailer seems to point to any of that – but having said that, ten episodes can tell all manner of stories about Hill House, right?
All right, are you ready to check out the trailer for Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House?