The 10-episode horror series is loosely based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel and heavily inspired by the first film adaptation, 1963's The Haunting. Flanagan even cast one of that film's stars, Russ Tamblyn, as Nell's therapist in one episode. Jackson's novel and the film both center on a paranormal investigator, who visits the house with two young women - Eleanor and Theodora - and a the young heir to Hill House, Luke Sanderson.
Flanagan's series focuses on the Crains, a couple who hope to renovate Hill House and flip it for a profit. The haunted house torments them, and continues to torment their children in the present. However, how exactly Hill House became haunted is not explained in the series.
In an interview with Thrillist, Flanagan said the original script for his series included scenes with the Hill family to explain that backstory. However, this idea was dropped because the production was running out of time and money.
"We had a whole history of Hill House that we were going to shoot," Flanagan explained. "We were going to open several episodes of the show with this kind of history, split out over the whole season, which would show you the construction of Hill House, the history of the Hill family, who everybody was. And we really wanted to shoot it. We wrote it all up, and it was scheduled to shoot."
The director continued, "...It was just one of those things where we were running out of time and resources, and something had to go. That's the one thing I wish we had gotten to do, kind of visually watch Hill House come to life and learn more about the ghosts. Learn who they were before we encountered them as ghosts. But there's also something nice, at the end of the day, about not knowing. That there's some ambiguity there, too."
Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who played the grown-up Luke Crain, told Digital Spy he would be interested in a series exploring the origins of Hill House.
"There's millions of different options – they could continue on and have it a couple of years on and how the remaining Crains are dealing with it. They could go back and tell the story of the Hills at Hill House," Jackson-Cohen said. "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."
Although The Haunting of Hill House was met with critical acclaim and a strong response from viewers, Netflix has yet to renew the Paramount-produced show. Flanagan, who is busy working on an adaptation of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, has said if the show does get renewed, a second season would not follow the Crains.
“As far as I’ve ever been concerned with this, the story of the Crain family is told. It’s done,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “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."
Flanagan has also suggested the show could become an anthology series.0comments
All 10 episodes of The Haunting of Hill House are now available to stream on Netflix.
Photo credit: Netflix