The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix's newest original series, has been a smash-hit in the run-up to Halloween, and fans of the ten episode long drama are still pouring over all the neat little details that provide extra scares. Based on the classic 1959 psychological gothic horror novel by author Shirley Jackson, the series is boasting rave reviews; with critics lavishing praise upon its characterisation, atmosphere, and tragic plot. Even, Stephen King, the modern master of horror himself, has come out as a fan as a show, which should tell you everything you need to know about its fear factor.
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..."
The five Crain siblings are all angst-ridden, tortured souls who have build emotional walls around themselves and have each learned to cope with the trauma of their terrible childhood experiences in different ways. As an exploration of victimhood and anguish, it's a compelling one. But now fans have managed to come up with a theory about the Crains which might make the writing of the series even more genius than we already took for granted.
According to this theory, each of the Crain siblings represents an individual aspect of the Kübler-Ross model (colloquially known as the Five Stages of Grief. The Kübler-Ross model states that when processing loss, human beings move through five distinct psychological stages of being: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Curiously, the five Crains match up to this model quite well. Steve, the eldest, represents denial due to his scepticism, and refusal to believe what actually happened at Hill House when he was young. Shirley represents anger, since she holds a grudge against Steve, who decided to write a book about Hill House, and is angry with Nell over her suicide. Theo represents bargaining; when she discovers that Nell is dead she tries to rationalise why, and contextualise her loss.
Luke represents depression since he feels Nell's death the hardest and has succumbed to addiction and despair as a result of his experiences. Finally, Nell represents acceptance since she goes to Hill House of her own free will, and when she meets her siblings in the red room she stated: "I loved you completely. And you loved me the same. That's all. The rest is confetti."
It's still not known whether we'll see a second season of Hill House, but actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen has 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."