This modern reimagining of the Shirley Jackson novel follows siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, they are forced back together in the face of tragedy and must finally confront the ghosts of their past. — GOOGLE
IN THE BEGINNING
Welcome back readers and sorry for the pause. With all the chaos going on in our world, let me say that I hope that the one reading this is safe and that all in their life is peaceful as it can be in this time.
I was going to do another Goosebumps or Animorphs run on an article but The Haunting of Hill House was one that I had just finished and since that wholly fits in with Gothic Bite Magazine, that is the one I shall give you for food of thought.
Now I have the honor, not a small crowd to be fair, of being someone who has read the book, watched the movie, and seen the series.
So my review of the book itself stems from the many points of view that I have been privy to with the different takes of the story between the mediums. I have tried to be as fair as possible, but you be the judge.
BUT FIRST THE STORY
The Haunting of Hill House was published in 1959 and was praised as being a work of unnerved terror. I will absolutely give it that for the time the original work was published, I could fully see why it was seen as this gem in gothic literature.
The book technically has two main characters, Hill House in all her dark, secret corridors and mass hysteria inducing whispers in the chill night air, and the meek, quite sheltered Eleanor Vance.
Eleanor is presented to us first, a caregiver to her Mother for years before her death, a tad resentful but also in a way proud.
When we are introduced to her she is sadly being ousted by her sister as well as her sister’s husband from the only home she has ever known. Basically asked to play nursemaid to her ill mannered nephew in exchange for a place to live.
Eleanor has two options before her in her head, she can stay and keep supplimating to her ungrateful family…or she can take a chance on a letter inviting her to a “vacation” at Hill House from a Doctor. The choice she makes will change her life forever.
HILL HOUSE LIVES
Eleanor makes her way to freedom as she takes the Doctor up on his offer to join him at his party. Sneaking away and stealing, though whether it is truly that I leave to you readers, her Mother’s car she makes her way.
Her first tastes of freedom are sublimely written and I give Shirley Jackson her accolades with not only setting the scenes but her description. You can feel her happiness and her thrill as Eleanor enters the world having made what feels the first real decision for herself.
Dr. John Montague is an investigator of the paranormal and hopes, like all investigators, to get irrefutable proof of the paranormal. He has rented Hill House for the summer and sent invitations to all those he has received word from that have had paranormal experiences.
Only two responded, Eleanor and a free spirited artist named Theodora. Theo is almost the opposite in every way to Eleanor but the two bond quite quickly.
Our last addition to the part is Luke Sanderson. Luke is from the family who own Hill House and that was one of the requirements for anyone renting the house was for a family member to be present during the stay. Luke is also seen as a free spirit but his family sees him more in the ruffian get your act together way.
The die cast, our players begin their journey through their time at Hill House and the longer they stay the more she warms up to them.
Luke has his family stories to tell, John has his research, and Theo and Eleanor are targeted immediately, though the house is squaring up with Eleanor the most. It remains to be seen whether any will make it out alive…
Both of which have their pros and cons. The Haunting follows a bit closer to the book though liberties are taken with some of the story and the ending is fully different.
But it had charm and their version of Eleanor matched up beautifully as we watched the story of Hill House emerge and take its toll.
The Netflix adaptation of The Haunting Of Hill House gave us a different family giving their tale of the house itself and was built up absolutely beautifully.
Masterful writing and chills and shock value abound. I was and am a bit obsessed with the tale of Nell and her family as each was touched by the evil that was the house.
We also got a much better explanation to the Dudleys and why they refused to enter the house after dark. So while it was completely different, it still stayed true to the original.
While I didn’t get the chills that the TV show gave me, the book was an easy devour and I loved the use of thrill and perception versus gore.
It is definitely a classic in horror and the gothic literature genre and it is absolutely worth a read.
For me I give it a solid 8 out of 10, I am sure that even if I had read the book first I still would prefer the visual versions but the origin is always the best as without it none of the rest would exist.
What is an amazing book you have read lately? Any suggestions readers? Until next time, The Phantom is signing off.