The Haunting of Hill House: Steven Sees a Ghost
October 12, 2018 5:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

I've never read the original Shirley Jackson story, or seen any previous adaptations, so, I went into this pretty blind aside from skimming the Den of Geek review the other day. I don't think I'm going to devote my whole weekend to a binge-post-athon, will probably make my way through the season at a slower pace, so, if anyone else feels like posting more episodes or a complete-season-thread, please feel free (what's the opposite of calling dibs? I call un-dibs).

I was effectively creeped out by the various ghostly jump-scares. The AV Club recapper complained that the Nell reveal was telegraphed, but, I don't think that made it any less scary. I had a little trouble figuring out who was who at first between the past & present cast, but, I assume I'll have a better grasp on that the further in I get.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:57 PM on October 12, 2018

This is definitely not the story Shirley Jackson wrote, so if you want to read the book you won’t be spoiled. The character names are shared, though.

I liked this one. I’m going to keep watching. I didn’t quite care for the “predatory lesbian” trope in Theo, but I’m not a lesbian so it’s not on me to decide if it’s okay or not. It’s definitely a callback to the original Theo, who was coded lesbian in a pretty clear way.

I don’t remember if the house is still supposed to be in Vermont. It was a very rural Vermont place, and that flavor is missing, but that’s not a complaint, just an observation.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:38 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

(also it kind of sucks that one of the seminal books of American horror is repackaged and presented as the work of a man, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
posted by Countess Elena at 7:42 PM on October 12, 2018 [16 favorites]

Well, that ending was genuinely unsettling. I'm on board for the rest of this.
posted by figurant at 12:30 AM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Theo's behavior didn't register to me as falling into the predatory lesbian trope, more the "incapable of intimacy because of my traumatic childhood" trope. (I mean, I'm not a lesbian either, but I thought the predator trope hinged on the gay person seducing a previously-straight person into 'moral corruption'. But Theo and the woman in the bar pinged each other's gaydar instantly, and I don't remember any implication that this was bar-girl's first hook-up, it was just her being kicked out of bed post-orgasm that was unusual.)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:40 AM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Countess Elena, I agree that I was unhappy with how this book, which is by a woman and is concerned with the inner life of another woman, is adapted to be about a man, and the in-universe version is by a man.
Having watched a few more episodes, I find myself somewhat mollified. Things become murkier and more complex, and there are definitely ways in which this issue is addressed.
Generally, I don't think I would call this a straight adaptation of the book, but it's an enjoyable watch, and I think it gets a lot of the atmosphere right.
posted by Adridne at 3:20 PM on October 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I wonder what Jackson’s kids thought of this adaption? Especially the addiction part?
I wish someone one would make a bio-pic.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:40 PM on October 13, 2018

the in-universe version is by a man

AYFKM?!? I'm prepared to start a separate fanfare for Jackson's superb book just to correct this situation.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:50 PM on October 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah. It's not great. But, on the other hand, it has....
Uh, there are lots of spoilers to this conversation. I'd be super interested in talking about it in thread for a later episode?
Let's just say that, having watched almost half the first season so far, I am willing to give that choice the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Adridne at 7:44 PM on October 13, 2018

I didn't think I was going to binge this, but suddenly it was dinner time and we were done. I'll have more to say when a full series post is made, but I'll just say that I love the book, and while this is obviously not a strict adaptation, this was one of my favorite things I've seen in a long time.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:51 PM on October 13, 2018

Skycrashesdown, if you finished the season already, you should add the full season thread, no point waiting for someone else to do it. I don’t want this thread to turn into another clusterfuck like the ‘Altered Carbon’ episode 1 thread.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:18 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Done! Full season post here.
posted by skycrashesdown at 9:33 AM on October 14, 2018

I've only watched this episode so I'm reserving judgement for now—I was definitely also a bit bothered by the use of the original book's text at the beginning when it was revealed to have been written by Steven.

Slightly weird to have Henry Thomas and Timothy Hutton playing the father character in the different timelines; they're only about a decade apart in actual age. What is the difference in the timelines supposed to be, about 20-25 years (Huisman is late 30s, Reaser is early 40s)? The Tim-Burton-ish set decoration of the house and the flashbacks didn't read like the 90s although obviously it's leaning heavily into dream/nightmare/not sane/unreality so whatever.

Have Elizabeth Reaser and Carla Gugino played relatives before? Nice bit of family casting there. Not sure I buy Oliver Jackson-Cohen as part of the same family tree as the rest but he's easy on the eyes so I shall suspend my disbelief.
posted by bcwinters at 10:18 AM on October 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just started and I really, really like it! It's spooky and sad and somber. I watched the first two and I want to stay up all night and binge it, but also. I can't.
posted by Aquifer at 10:04 PM on October 16, 2018

I love this show so much and I am anxiously awaiting the end of the work day so I can watch the last two episodes and hop into the big thread and start reading all the analysis.

I think I may have to buy and read the book now, too.
posted by chatongriffes at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2018

Have Elizabeth Reaser and Carla Gugino played relatives before?

The casting on the daughters is so solid in terms of how they all look like sisters and they all look like Carla Gugino's daughters. Of the younger actors young Theo seems like the best cast and she is really good at that character. Luke doesn't look like the family young or old so it's consistent at least, but older Luke feels miscast in that he looks too tall and healthy to be a person at the end of the path from younger Luke to older Luke.

Agreed on the weird casting of Timothy Hutton. Also I'm biased, I just don't like him as an actor. Then again, the dad isn't likable.

I'm on episode 5 which puts me a bit in limbo for FanFare discussion.
posted by fleacircus at 4:43 AM on November 9, 2018

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