Here's how 'The Haunting of Hill House' pulled off the best episode of the year
The Haunting of Hill House is Netflix's latest original series; and since it's the Halloween season, there's never been a better time to check out a chilling horror show. Not only that, but the ten-episode series - based on the classic 1959 horror novel by author Shirley Jackson - is already boasting rave reviews, and even the modern master of horror himself, Stephen King, has heaped praise upon the show, which means that it must be pretty damn creepy, huh?
Netflix's official synopsis for the series states: "26 years ago, residential contractor Hugh Crain and his architect wife Olivia decided to try to remodel and flip a century-old mansion known as Hill House. They moved in early in the summer along with their five children (Steve, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Nell), and that's when things immediately started to get bizarre. Because it turns out that the House has a history of deaths and disappearances..."
In particular, the sixth episode of the show has been singled out by critics as the best instalment of season one; composed of a number of long takes (the longest of which is approximately 17 minutes long), as well as a complex structure with flashbacks interspersed throughout. How on earth did they manage to pull it off? I've been wondering that myself ever since I watched it; but luckily a new Netflix featurette and gone behind-the-scenes of the episode's production with the cast and crew to show how they managed to create one of the creepiest episodes of TV ever.
Commenting on the creative and technical difficulty of pulling such an episode, series creator Mike Flanagan stated: "A lot of the camera choreography needed to be incorporated into the draft itself, because we were doing 18-page scenes without any cuts ... [We] wanted an episode that appeared to take place in real time in one single shot. It turned into a challenge unlike anything else I've ever had in a production. The set actually had to be constructed with this episode in mind because we knew we had certain shots that would require us to walk around the house in its entirety."
The first season consists of ten episodes, and Mike Flanagan, the showrunner, writer and director, also created the acclaimed horror movie Hush, and adapted the Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game into a film. Maybe that's why King is such a fan? The show stars Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino, Timothy Hutton, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, and Victoria Pedretti.
Currently, there's no word from Netflix on whether or not the streaming platform plans to greenlight a second season, but the cast are hopeful that the scares will continue long into the future. Actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen stated: "It'll be interesting to see what Mike and Netflix and Paramount, what they all decide to do ... They could go back and tell the story of the Hills at Hill House, they could do an anthology. There's so many options that they can toy with here which I think makes it so exciting to be part of a show like this."