Horror And Suspense In The Haunting Of Hill House Series
The horror genre has been used for many years and in those many years there have been really cliché moments which ends up making the genre very boring overtime. In late 2018, Netflix released a show that would redefine the horror genre and make viewers stay on edge. On October 12, 2018 the new name to horror, The Haunting of Hill House written and directed by Mike Flanagan has captivated and kept millions on edge while watching the show. In the first episode: “Steven Sees a Ghost,” there are many spooks and scares to get anyone watching. The horror and suspense of the first episode is sure to make horror fans want to watch more and viewers wanting to know more about the backstory of the house and more about the Crane family.
The first moments of the show are sure to leave viewers with a sense of suspense, especially with the opening monologue, “Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House. And whatever walked there walked alone”. This quote helps to create the suspense and mystery of the show and makes viewers wanting to know more about the house. After the dialogue, the first moment we see of the family is in a flashback form. This is where viewers can start to see the true horror and some foreshadowing for the rest of the episode. A young Nell is woken up by the Bent-Neck Lady and wakes up most of the house. After her father and brother, Steve, leave the room, a silhouette of the Bent-Neck Lady appears over Nell as she tries to sleep. In that same scene a young Shirley mentions “dancing in the red room” which has some importance later in the episode. As the episode goes on, more of the horror elements begin to occur.
Towards the middle-end of the episode there is another flashback scene that takes place at night. The scene is with a young Steve and his father as the father burst into Steve’s bedroom telling them that they have to leave the house. The tone of the father’s voice and the music of the scene make viewers on edge. In the same scene, the father closes the door to Steve’s room and tell him to be quiet, moments later the doorknob to Steve’s room begins to start moving slowly on its own. After that, the father grabs Steve and tells him not to open his eyes as they run out of the house to the car with the other four siblings already inside. The music and suspense of the scene keeps many on edge and as the family is driving away there is a lot of yelling and confusion among the children as their mother is still in the house and not in the car. The father tells the children that the shadowy women in the figure is not their mother. That scene leaves the viewers wanting to know more about what happened to the mother. At the end of the episode, there is a scene that shows Nell entering in Hill House and her dancing in the red room. A few moments later it shows three out of the four siblings jolting awake from sleeping and Shirley makes a comment saying that Nell is in the red room. Later on, Steve returns to his apartment and see Nell standing in the corner just as he gets a call from his dad saying that Nell was dead. Just as Steve was telling his dad that Nell was in his apartment the ghost of Nell makes a jump scare type move and moves in front of Steve and her face changes and then she disappears. These scenes help to create the horror aspect of the show and keeps the viewers wanting more. The show even includes many aspects of what makes a good horror show and movie according to professionals.
According to psychologist Dr. Ronald E. Riggio, there are ten things that make a good horror movie and The Haunting of Hill House has many of these aspects. The number one thing on his list is the fear of death. Riggio quotes, “This is the ultimate fear, both existentially and psychologically.” The show tackles this topic by showing Nells death and talking about other characters deaths. Nells death helps to create some fear in her siblings and her father and makes the viewers feel some unease when they see her ghost.
Numbers two and eight are more aspects on his list that makes a good horror movie. Two is dark scenes and eight is spooky music. “From our earliest childhood we are afraid of the dark – not the dark itself, but what it hides” (Dr. Riggio). The show tackles this by showing many of the scenes taking place at night and when every scary moment begins to happen the show begins to play some form of scary music.
Number four on the Dr. Riggio’s list is obviously scary places and Hill House is definitely that scary place. “Horror movies are full of scary places old houses, overgrown forests, attics, basements” (Dr. Riggio). There are many rooms in Hill House that we see in the first episode is the red room and the area by the woods where Luke got the ideas for his drawings that are shown in the episode. The father even mentions that going to Hill House is a suicide due to how haunted it is.
Finally, number seven is suspense and there is a lot of it in the show. “The best horror movies are full of suspense” (Dr. Riggio). Every time the show goes to the flashback to when everyone was younger, it brings a lot of suspense due to most of the haunting moments being present in the flashbacks. The suspense adds to all of the elements from numbers two, four, and eight to help make these scenes more suspenseful.
The Haunting of Hill House is a show worth watching and viewers are guaranteed to get hooked from episode one due to unanswered questions and the cliffhangers at the end and viewers need to know more. The show also has many aspects that makes a good horror show and more. There’s enough hauntings and spooks that will make everyone addicted.
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