'The Haunting of Hill House' Creator Defends Not Ending Season 1 on Cliffhanger

Haunting of Hill House creators Mike Flanagan might have considered a cliffhanger ending for the hit horror Netflix series, but his decision to go with a happier ending felt more appropriate.

The haunted house-centered series final moments revealed a more serene, closed-ended resolution to the Crain family's suffering in a final sequence that received a mixed response from fans. However, Flanagan does not regret his decision.

"It didn't look like anything I'd want out there in the world, which is why we abandoned it quickly," Flanagan told TVLine of the possible cliffhanger ending. "It was part of the very, very early conversations we had about it, but it never really took a shape that I'd want to talk about."

Aside from the final ending, the writer revealed the final episode mostly stuck to the original script.

"Whatever other ideas we entertained, the ending we shot is actually very much in keeping with how it was first conceived and presented," he added. "I think the other ideas were just detours, but they all led back to the same place."

Flanagan mentioned Steven's (Michael Huisman) final monologue as one moment that was "almost exactly" the same as he envisioned it when creating the show.

"A few weeks ago I looked back at the initial pitch document that we took out, and was surprised to see that the monologue survived almost entirely un-changed," he said, adding how it went "right down to 'Most times a ghost is a wish... I wish I'd been a better husband. I wish I'd been a better brother.'"

The finale, titled "Silence Lay Steadily," ends on an uncharacteristically happy tone for the show that left some fans upset.

"I've been holding on to this sentiment [because] I don't wanna be THAT person (anymore), but whatever, I'm gonna say it: Finale of Haunting of Hill House RUINED it for me," one viewer wrote. "What a sappy mess."

A cliffhanger ending probably wouldn't have worked out for the series, considering Flanagan planned to close the chapter on the Crain family altogether.


"As far as I've ever been concerned with this, the story of the Crain family is told. It's done," Flanagan told Entertainment Weekly when the show first premiered. "I felt like the Crains have been through enough, and we left them exactly as we all wanted to remember them, those of us who worked on it. We toyed with a cliffhanger ending and we toyed with other ideas, but ultimately, in the writers' room and with the cast and everything else, we really felt like the story demanded a certain kind of closure from us and we were happy to close the book on that family."

Photo credit: Netflix