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The Haunting of Hill House

Totenkindly

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... Aired on Netflix October 2018

Discussion of the show itself (not the personality types threads, which is here)....


I watched two episodes of this way back in November, then got distracted. Well, I ended up watching episodes 3-5 last night (yeah, I was watching The Bent-Neck Lady at 2am by myself in the dark, lol), then decided to go back and rewatch the first two episodes. So that was an extra two hours to rewatch, but I was rewarded heavily because the first episode in particular was much easier to understand once you've been through more episodes and know who the characters are. (it's kind of a problem when you have five siblings and two parents, have to sync them up with their younger selves, and then also keep track of the secondary cast). Anyway, there's a ton of stuff in episode 1 that is dealt with by the end of episode 5.

This is probably one of the better Netflix offerings out there and I'd also say one of Mike Flanagan's best works so far.... he's done a few so-so things, and then a few decent things, and this might surpass Oculus and Gerald's Game. There's a similarity in setup to Stephen King's "IT" in terms of playing off a parallel series of events 30 years in the past, that we've yet to understand, and it only unfolds in parallel with the current timeline.

For mapping, each of the first five episodes seems to focus on one of the siblings in order of age (oldest to youngest), to give us the core of their personality / life struggles all impacted by the loss of their mother back at Hill House 30 years prior -- something their dad has never come clean with them about. It has impacted each of them in very different ways. (Luke, for example, uses drugs to avoid dealing with what he's experienced, and bounces from one rehab place to another, and at this point the siblings are pretty much done with helping him... although they also still are torn, because he's their brother.)

Episode 6 deals with the aftermath of the culmination of events over the first five episodes, when the remainder of the family reunites over not-so-great circumstances and Dad finally starts to share a bit of what he was protecting them from.

Episode 5 I think is perhaps the "scariest" since in also involves night terrors and a recurring vision by one of the siblings throughout the series, although there's some crazy stuff throughout. (I don't recall the last time I regularly watched a series and would blurt out expletives in astonishment throughout.) I was really unsettled until I figured out what was going on (about 10-15 minutes before the end... it all clicked for me), but it didn't make it any less powerful and it's one of the most powerful moments in the series so far.

I think they've done a really great job with creating distinct real-feeling characters who are still siblings but having to work through each other's shit so to speak. It's no wonder everything is hitting the fan in Episode 6. They're each trying to cope with life and maintain their bonds with each other, but the baggage is also very very heavy for each. I think this is why the series is so strong and ironically why it's comparable to King's works -- it's really about psychological / life drama of the characters that is resonating with the supernatural elements, it's not just about the supernatural.

I'm really hoping Flanagan sticks the landing, with four episodes of my viewing to go. The first six are just engrossing and the kind of thing I have no problems bingeing.

Side note trivia: Katie Siegel, who plays adult Theodora in the series, is also Flannagan's wife and writing partner and has been in some of his other films. Also, boy, Timothy Hutton got old. I still remember watching him in Ordinary People and Taps (where he was 20-21)... now he's almost 60.
 

Totenkindly

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Finished it earlier today.

My overall assessment is that it's very much worth a watch (there are some really excellent moments in the series), but the last ten minutes it kind of drops the ball by not remaining true to the tone of source material and the earlier complexity of the series. It feels like it's trying to become "This is Us: Hill House" or something. Again, it's more of a matter of nuance of tone and it could have been tweaked to retain more integrity.

I hate even complaining about it, because of the excellence of the season as a whole, especially the middle (5-7) and then episode 9. I wish it would have retained more of itself coming into the final minutes.

minor gripes:

- I don't like Anabelle Gish, I never have. She's always felt a little stiff to me, not top tier, ever since I first saw her in X-Files seasons 8 and 9. So I kind of tolerated her here, even when they totally lifted lines from the book to give her (about the cup of stars, which didn't seem to fit the character), and even when she's supposed to be a religious fundamentalist who refers to "The Revelation of John" as "Revelations" -- ugh. She's a slight bit of the problem with the ending too (the actor who played her husband actually gives a pretty great story when down in the basement talking to Hugh, but Gish herself is a weaker actor in the series).

- Changing the words of the book (for an "adaptation") in a way that undermines the book, which I'm not sure Jackson would have approved.

- the before-mentioned shift into a cheerier tone, when it should have been more of a mottled mix at best at the end. They pulled it off with Olivia, but it didn't quite work at the end of the series.


Still:

There's some supernatural elements here, but they're no more important than the psychological horrific elements of dealing with human existence and grappling with mortality. Just some really insightful dialogue that happened within this series, and what happens when there are secrets and tragedy within a family that is covered up in an effort to protect and thus never dealt with... it just eats everyone out from the inside. So much of the external horror is really just reverberating with the internal horrors each character has grappled with their whole lives.

This was one of those series where I wanted to rush to the end but hated getting to the end, because I won't see the characters any more.
 

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I enjoyed reading the book and saw both of the movies, and so I took an interest in the show after I saw this thread. In the first episode I appreciated the direct quotes from the book, and I also found the lesbian encounter to be rather intriguing. However, outside of these positive notes, I felt completely lost with the story as a whole and in addition to this I also don't really care for children. I tried watching the second episode but again, giving children a constant spotlight makes me disinterested, and this might also explain why I wasn't able to get into Stranger Things.

As a person who liked the book and who loves horror I really wanted to like this show, but in terms of the genre I guess I'll have to stick to The Purge and select seasons of AHS instead. Perhaps I might be able to retain most of the core components of the story while "skipping all the kids scenes", and so who knows? Maybe I'll try and give it another go sometime in the future.
 

Totenkindly

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I enjoyed reading the book and saw both of the movies, and so I took an interest in the show after I saw this thread. In the first episode I appreciated the direct quotes from the book, and I also found the lesbian encounter to be rather intriguing. However, outside of these positive notes, I felt completely lost with the story as a whole and in addition to this I also don't really care for children. I tried watching the second episode but again, giving children a constant spotlight makes me disinterested, and this might also explain why I wasn't able to get into Stranger Things.

As a person who liked the book and who loves horror I really wanted to like this show, but in terms of the genre I guess I'll have to stick to The Purge and select seasons of AHS instead. Perhaps I might be able to retain most of the core components of the story while "skipping all the kids scenes", and so who knows? Maybe I'll try and give it another go sometime in the future.

It's an adaptation, not a strict retelling. (I'm currently working through the book.) Some adaptations are more thematic than literal, others more directly adhere to source material.

What's up with the dislike of children in terms of horror? Horror is based on underlying fears/insecurities, and those things source from our childhood -- they aren't random fears that crop up necessarily as adults, some are generated by our childhood anxieties and childhood traumas that are not properly healed. Every adult still includes the child they once were (for good or bad) inside of them. It's not an uncommon connection in drama and horror, to see callbacks to the children the adults once were and what is driving their behavior as adults. In good works in any genre, learning something about the child tells me something about the adult as well.

I didn't get into Stranger Things as much as some because I felt like a lot of it was just a hodgepodge of ideas taken from other materials, dipped in a fake-chocolate coating of 80's nostalgia, and thus was supposed to be labeled as "excellent." It's not bad, but it's not great either -- although I think second-season the series found more of its own voice and I am interested to see what they do with the third.

I dunno if I would label The Purge as "horror," it seems more like a focus on the "violence" to me-- externalized fear and commentary on social mismanagement. I've seen the first one and will probably see the others if I'm bored one day, just to say I've seen them. AHS is pretty hit or miss, I've seen everything except for about half of Season 5 (which I am still trying to push through, but I get distracted). A few seasons are really good, the rest are less so. Some of the imagery is great.
 

Z Buck McFate

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I didn't realize it was done by the same guy who did Oculus, but I do remember thinking the storyline was like 2 parts Oculus/2 parts Flatliners/2 parts original story and maybe 2 parts something new and kinda gripping. I'm not a fan of horror but I really like a good ghost story (like The Others) and I really enjoyed this series. I found myself repeatedly rewatching earlier episodes before finishing too, just to savor what was going on before finishing the last episode.

The series does deviate from the book significantly. I've been meaning to read a few other stories from that author, to see if Flanagan merged elements from her other works (although I can't remember just now why I suspected that). The original black and white movie, IIRC, follows the book rather closely.
 

Totenkindly

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Yeah I am expecting to enjoy the book on different grounds than the series. I think my biggest issue with it was the ending, which alters the book take-away too radically....it just bugged me.

Flanagan's got a decent body of work out now. At worst, he puts out something average, and sometimes he has done really good stuff.

This series is definitely one with rewatch value, due to the intricate texture + its dramatic chops. The Bent-Neck Lady will haunt me for some time.
 

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It's an adaptation, not a strict retelling. (I'm currently working through the book.) Some adaptations are more thematic than literal, others more directly adhere to source material.

What's up with the dislike of children in terms of horror? Horror is based on underlying fears/insecurities, and those things source from our childhood -- they aren't random fears that crop up necessarily as adults, some are generated by our childhood anxieties and childhood traumas that are not properly healed. Every adult still includes the child they once were (for good or bad) inside of them. It's not an uncommon connection in drama and horror, to see callbacks to the children the adults once were and what is driving their behavior as adults. In good works in any genre, learning something about the child tells me something about the adult as well.
I don't think it's a dislike of children in terms of horror so much as it's a dislike of children in general. So not only do I not like kids, but giving them super powers and then having them impress other kids with them is just corny to the point where I certainly am not able to derive any sort of entertainment value from the viewing (as was the case with Ender's game and Stranger things). To be fair though, the children in GoT didn't bother me so maybe I just didn't like the show, and then tried citing the kids as a reason when trying to place my finger on why that might be the case. But then again, the children in GoT very quickly started behaving and acting like adults, so idk.

In any event, today I would freely admit that my biggest fears/ insecurities have to do with my attraction to women (which might be why I found Lucifer so funny). Do you really think that such a fear could be readily traced back to my childhood, or that this fear could be better understood by some flashback to an event that took place when I was younger?

I dunno if I would label The Purge as "horror," it seems more like a focus on the "violence" to me-- externalized fear and commentary on social mismanagement. I've seen the first one and will probably see the others if I'm bored one day, just to say I've seen them. AHS is pretty hit or miss, I've seen everything except for about half of Season 5 (which I am still trying to push through, but I get distracted). A few seasons are really good, the rest are less so. Some of the imagery is great.
I was referring to the Purge TV show, which compared to the movies had a lot more time to develop the characters and delve deeper into their motivations for violence. Intertwined in the mix there just happened to be a very intriguing lesbian dynamic going on, thus the show really got to peek my interest. Plus I found some of the back stories interesting. For an example, I can relate to wanting to go on a date, wanting the date to go well if the date happens, and then feeling disgruntled if for whatever reason that wasn't the case. While I cannot relate to wanting to engage in violence as a result of this disgruntlement, I can still appreciate the exaggerated/ hyperbolic reaction from the characters who are given the legal right to disregard any semblance of inhibition and then lash out in whatever manner they see fit.

Also I don't know if I'd label the Haunting of Hill House book as "horror." Considering my emotional response to the ending I would have called it a tragedy in which the characters just happened to come together as the result of a supernatural event. As far as horror shows I've enjoyed I give mad props to Fear itself, Masters of Horror, The Purge, AHS... heck, I even thought season 1 True Detective was amazing due to some of its horror-like components. Children or not, for whatever reason these shows immediately captured my interest while HoHH did not.
 

Totenkindly

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I don't think it's a dislike of children in terms of horror so much as it's a dislike of children in general. So not only do I not like kids, but giving them super powers and then having them impress other kids with them is just corny to the point where I certainly am not able to derive any sort of entertainment value from the viewing (as was the case with Ender's game and Stranger things). To be fair though, the children in GoT didn't bother me so maybe I just didn't like the show, and then tried citing the kids as a reason when trying to place my finger on why that might be the case. But then again, the children in GoT very quickly started behaving and acting like adults, so idk.

I didn't read Ender's Game but I saw the film.

Precocious children isn't a literary thing, it actually happens all the time with parents pushing their kids to excel, getting them in all the clubs and exposed to lots of experiences, forcing them to work hard. There are some crazy-talented, crazy smart kids out there (heck, look at the olympics, the female gymnast peak is in the mid-teens). So fictional works that play into that don't feel far-fetched, although I guess maybe there's an overabundance of it in the last 15-20 years due to the Young Adult market driving it. Some of that market is crap, but it doesn't mean some decent stuff doesn't occasionally come through. Also, a standard "human" plot is the coming of age scenario -- it's an important one.

I think in the film Ender's Game, the biggest thing about Ender's youth was that it left him not quite cynical enough (due to being raised in a vacuum where he was pushed to excel) to realize what was happening and how he was being manipulated (even if some people considered it to be for good cause) until after the fact. It was a gut punch, to be honest.

In any event, today I would freely admit that my biggest fears/ insecurities have to do with my attraction to women (which might be why I found Lucifer so funny). Do you really think that such a fear could be readily traced back to my childhood, or that this fear could be better understood by some flashback to an event that took place when I was younger?

I wouldn't know for you in particular since I know nothing about your childhood. However, it would be bizarre if there was no influence. We learn through experience and our reactions to experiences chart our future. So who knows? It wouldn't mean there is nothing else involved.

I was referring to the Purge TV show, which compared to the movies had a lot more time to develop the characters and delve deeper into their motivations for violence.

What network is that on? USA or something? (I hadn't run across it yet.)

Intertwined in the mix there just happened to be a very intriguing lesbian dynamic going on, thus the show really got to peek my interest. Plus I found some of the back stories interesting. For an example, I can relate to wanting to go on a date, wanting the date to go well if the date happens, and then feeling disgruntled if for whatever reason that wasn't the case. While I cannot relate to wanting to engage in violence as a result of this disgruntlement, I can still appreciate the exaggerated/ hyperbolic reaction from the characters who are given the legal right to disregard any semblance of inhibition and then lash out in whatever manner they see fit.

Like I mentioned about the films, it sounds like "externalized" reactions -- it is basically externalizing feelings into physical action, so it's made manifest, rather than dealing with the psychological ambiguity of it. Not really critiquing it, just categorizing it.

Also I don't know if I'd label the Haunting of Hill House book as "horror." Considering my emotional response to the ending I would have called it a tragedy in which the characters just happened to come together as the result of a supernatural event. As far as horror shows I've enjoyed I give mad props to Fear itself, Masters of Horror, The Purge, AHS... heck, I even thought season 1 True Detective was amazing due to some of its horror-like components. Children or not, for whatever reason these shows immediately captured my interest while HoHH did not.

I would label HoHH as "psychological/family horror," as it really didn't focus on the ghosts much or the workings of the house much aside from maybe the Bent-Neck Lady. Everything was more about the IMPACT of the house on the inhabitants, the house was more of a setting than the focus. It's psychological horror and psychological drama.

What'd you think of Hereditary? Did that feel like any more of "horror" to you? Just curious.

Yeah, there was a huge lovecraftian influence on season 1 of TD.

One of my favorite high-fantasy reads was Donaldson's 1st and 2nd "Covenant" series (it came out in the 70's and 80's). I was only a kid at the time. But the horror elements creeped me out -- like the whole Sarangrave Flats sequence and "Only I lived to tell the tale" motif. It's some of craziest horror-like elements I had seen in a high-story at the time. [Well, maybe I'd toss Moorcock's Elric stuff in there, except it wasn't really written in a way to be scary.] Although my favorite stuff from Tolkien also tended to be involve the creepy stuff (like the ringwraiths or Shelob, etc.)
 

Z Buck McFate

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Season 2 is going to be The Turn Of The Screw!!

I'm ridiculously excited to see what Flanagan does with it. I've long thought it would make an excellent movie, but that it would be difficult to translate the creepiness to screen. But Flanagan will likely do an amazing job.
 

Z Buck McFate

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Anyone else watching The Haunting of Bly Manor? It's season 2, based on Henry James' Turn of the Screw.

It had a slow start. After a couple of episodes I was a bit disappointed - though not especially surprised, since I've always thought Turn of the Screw would be exceptionally difficult to adapt to screen. The most haunting aspects of the story are entirely about perception. There's never tangible proof something (supernatural) is going on, and yet it's impossible not to feel certain (right along with the protagonist) that something is. For example, with human eyesight, the only area that's really in focus is a circle in the center of our vision - and so, in reading the book, it's easier to vicariously experience all the things the main character sees out of the corner of her eye. While Flanagan is pretty amazing, and there are shots of someone in the foreground while something out of focus in the background moves a little bit - being a passive audience to the book is still much creepier, because you can never be certain there was something there (even though there's also a maddening kind of certsinty-that-can't-be-proven that there was).

So anyway, I knew Flanagan would have to deviate from the book. And the first couple episodes felt like it might flop. But then by the 4th episode things really pick up. He's added a lot of things (necessary, because there's not enough in the book to last 8-10 episodes), but I'm really surprised by how much he was able to keep and I'm surprised at how well he's been able to adapt it to screen. I'm halfway through the 6th episode and now I like it as much (if not more) than season 1.

It's pretty well cast, bringing back several actors from season 1. I really like Henry Thomas and Rohul Kohli; the latter is charismatic, adds rapport, and makes the first few episodes move less slowly. I think Rebecca Jessel and Peter Quint could have been cast better, but they're okay.

Episode 6:
 

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Anyone else watching The Haunting of Bly Manor? It's season 2, based on Henry James' Turn of the Screw.

It had a slow start. After a couple of episodes I was a bit disappointed - though not especially surprised, since I've always thought Turn of the Screw would be exceptionally difficult to adapt to screen. The most haunting aspects of the story are entirely about perception. There's never tangible proof something (supernatural) is going on, and yet it's impossible not to feel certain (right along with the protagonist) that something is. For example, with human eyesight, the only area that's really in focus is a circle in the center of our vision - and so, in reading the book, it's easier to vicariously experience all the things the main character sees out of the corner of her eye. While Flanagan is pretty amazing, and there are shots of someone in the foreground while something out of focus in the background moves a little bit - being a passive audience to the book is still much creepier, because you can never be certain there was something there (even though there's also a maddening kind of certsinty-that-can't-be-proven that there was).

So anyway, I knew Flanagan would have to deviate from the book. And the first couple episodes felt like it might flop. But then by the 4th episode things really pick up. He's added a lot of things (necessary, because there's not enough in the book to last 8-10 episodes), but I'm really surprised by how much he was able to keep and I'm surprised at how well he's been able to adapt it to screen. I'm halfway through the 6th episode and now I like it as much (if not more) than season 1.

It's pretty well cast, bringing back several actors from season 1. I really like Henry Thomas and Rohul Kohli; the latter is charismatic, adds rapport, and makes the first few episodes move less slowly. I think Rebecca Jessel and Peter Quint could have been cast better, but they're okay.

Episode 6:

I plan to start it this weekend when I get time.
 

Z Buck McFate

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I'm rewatching the first episodes before watching the last episode, just to savor it a bit more before finishing.

Things I noticed in the first episodes after having seen the 8th episode:

 

Totenkindly

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I've only watched the first two episodes so far. I think the new cast additions are excellent. The guy playing the cook is cute. :blush:

It might help that I'm not viewing it as a horror story but as a drama with overtones of the supernatural.
 

Totenkindly

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Okay, even with trying to watch my Halloween film quota, I have tried to push ahead with this. I just finished episode #4. I feel like I've found my momentum now (or the story has) because I want to now binge watch the rest through to 6am but... what a lousy idea.

Episode 3 gives us the Rebecca backstory, MOST of it anyway. And Episode 4 finally digs into Dani's personal tragedy.

The couple I was shipping so hard finally just kinda went for it this episode, and I gasped in excitement. Wow!

Poor Owen. I am falling for him pretty hard. I love his awful puns, I love his sensitive soul, I love his kindness and gentleness. He doesn't lash out at others even in his own pain, he still maintains his sense of humor and viewing everyone else as fleshed-out people as himself. In fact, I really love the whole Bly family. But I just melt watching Owen.

I'll be honest, I felt very sad during the bonfire. It's one of the best things I've seen lately. But it just left me feeling empty in my own life. (personal tangent here)


What happened to Dani just struck me in the stomach like a gutpunch.


It's obvious that the kids know what is going on with the house and any hauntings. I read the final minutes of the episode as them trying to protect Dani, although maybe I'm incorrect.

I love how they call Dani "Poppins" all the time. It makes me laugh. I also laugh every time they bring up the tea joke. Or bust on Americans in a good-natured way.

I am watching the dollhouse but still haven't quite figured out whatever it is I am supposed to figure out. Some of it's because I don't yet recognize who all the dolls are. Or where they are supposed to be.


I have not read the spoilers in earlier posts obviously because I'm still watching. One thing I did notice was how "keys" were mentioned in Episode 3, and it explained a throwaway comment about "key" in Episode 2. I won't say more about that right now...But I am going to note that two kids without their parents can be impressionable and looking for role models. It was a big reveal when I realized where the word "splendid" was coming from, I kinda rocked back in my seat.




At this point, I'm pretty much going to watch anything by Flanagan -- he's had a few original things but he's also proven an adept adaptor of other work that often gets butchered by other directors and writers. I wish Doctor Sleep (director's cut) had done better in the box office. I'm not sure the ending was what I hoped for, but a lot of that movie was great. I only read about 75 pages of the book so far, but based on my knowledge of King's approach to horror + what appeared in the film plus what I did read, I'm pretty sure much of it was taken straight (except for the end, which I know was changed since Flanagan was working off Kubrick's film rather than the King novel). Rebecca Ferguson was so great as Rose the Hat.

Anyway, Flanagan's not afraid to take his time and understands how to build emotional feelings of dis-ease and anxiety. he actually can construct dramatic scenes, and at this point it's clear he can actually direct his cast versus just throwing them all into a room and hoping they can wing it. I was impressed he pulled off Gerald's Game as well as he did. Proud of my Towson boy, and I'm technically not even a local or alumni! (Towson's about twenty minutes from where I live now, it's where he went to school.) I think the only film of his I have not cared for was Hush.
 

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Okay, going to bed now, but... holy hell, Episode #5.

I think they really love Episode 5's. Episode 5 last season was when we learned the identity of the Bent Neck Lady, and it was just as mesmerizing.

I think I really need to learn who this lady of the Lake is... although I noticed two names in Episode 4 and accidentally read a cast list of who a particular person was playing, so I'm pretty sure I know the name -- I just don't know what that signifies yet. But this episode does answer more questions that we were wondering about... including the comment i made an hour ago about thinking the kids were trying to protect Dani. (The answer to that is, yes. yes, they are.)

This also sheds a lot of nuance on perhaps why Rebecca did specifically what she did. At least, there's multiple reasons now potentially.

And now I'll have to rewatch the first few episodes again. Haven't had this much excitement since the first season of AHS.
 

Totenkindly

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Episode #6 -- more clicks into place and things make a lot more sense.

I assume here now is where it's really intersecting with the original story and The Innocents film? I have never read the story nor seen any of the related films, so I am coming into this completely fresh.

(It looks like "The Turning" that came out this year, which I didn't see either, kind of bombed critically. But I realized looking at the cast list that many of the names were kept for this version of the story.)

Episode 6:

Yeah, I agree with this whole heartedly. I didn't think Henry Thomas had it in him.


As a side note, I'm wondering how UK audiences are scanning the accent work on this show. My American ears only know accents via other films and shows, so I can't tell what is authentic and what is mangled. I mean, Thomas is from the US, but he seems to have a smooth English accent. I guess Oliver Jackson-Cohen is English (which I didn't know until now), although his accent sounds like a stab at a heavy Scots brogue or something, so much I don't understand him all the time. I see Amelia Eve is Brit too, but she's the other one whose accent made it hard for me to follow sometimes. (I almost put on subtitles for her and Jackson-Cohen's scenes, but struggled through them anyway.) The others all seemed regular to me and I had no issues following.
 

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Finished Episode #7 and I think just about everything has been sketched in at this point, even if not entirely completed. (There is still the mystery of who the Lady in the Lake is and what her purpose is, if she has one.)

As far as backstories go:


As far as front stories go, I'm also hoping to get a decent explanation of the wedding the story opens with and which characters are ones from this story we're watching and where some of them ended up.

I'm also thinking Peter might have bitten off more than he could chew, when he performs his petty action on Hannah in this episode. Hannah is the moral compass of the house, the voice of stability and the protector of all under her charge. I have a feeling he might have shot himself in both feet by inadvertently empowering her. If anyone can and will be able to do something, I believe it to be her.
 

Z Buck McFate

I'm too sad for pants.
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Poor Owen. I am falling for him pretty hard. I love his awful puns, I love his sensitive soul, I love his kindness and gentleness. He doesn't lash out at others even in his own pain, he still maintains his sense of humor and viewing everyone else as fleshed-out people as himself. In fact, I really love the whole Bly family. But I just melt watching Owen.

Yeah, he is really charismatic. And I've remembered where I've seen that actor before: iZombie. (I file that show under "guilty pleasure", and mostly watched because of that actor). He plays a similar character, but without all the periphery Flanagan magic happening around him. And he's another British actor (even had British accent in iZombie, iirc), so his accent is legit.

I'll be honest, I felt very sad during the bonfire. It's one of the best things I've seen lately. But it just left me feeling empty in my own life. (personal tangent here)

I'm an incorrigible hermit and a big part of why is because I feel more alone around most people than not. But yeah, that bonfire scene kinda triggered "if getting together with people was more like this, I'd want to do it more often" feelings.

I love that they keep coming back to the bonfire and showing it from different angles (from the different perspectives of who was there, and what was actually going on for them). Because the things we learn in between are pretty huge, changing what we know about that bonfire scene significantly.

What happened to Dani just struck me in the stomach like a gutpunch.

Yeah, in an instant all of her anxiety was understandable and pitiable. It was one of those times that a character suffering alone from something really difficult (potentially one of the most tragic circumstances in any story, imo) was done well.

It's obvious that the kids know what is going on with the house and any hauntings. I read the final minutes of the episode as them trying to protect Dani, although maybe I'm incorrect.

This became clear to me after rewatching the first episodes again.

I am watching the dollhouse but still haven't quite figured out whatever it is I am supposed to figure out. Some of it's because I don't yet recognize who all the dolls are. Or where they are supposed to be.

I watched all but the last episode and then rewatched the beginning, and I picked up on several things about the dollhouse that completely went over my head the first time. It's almost like this series (and it's true about Hill House too) was meant to be watched repeatedly. With Hill House - not sure if it was the last episode or the 2nd from last - but there's a scene in the car where the father is explaining to the oldest son that their family is like an undigested meal to the house and that (in so many words) everyone's memory of the house was a little bit different and no one much noticed. Like how the treehouse wasn't real, the people hired to help work on the house weren't real - and in rewatching, you could almost tell who's perspective we were following by the things going on in the background. I forgot the phrase the dad used, something about scratch marks on the back of an old clock and how they were kind of like a signature to show who worked on the clock (because every clock fixer had his own distinctive way of opening clocks). The father called those differences in memory "clock scratches" (or whatever the phrase was). A 10/10 goosebump moment.

I'm probably going to watch the series several times before finally watching the end. I love this guy's work. I want to stretch it out as much as I can, to savor it.

At this point, I'm pretty much going to watch anything by Flanagan -- he's had a few original things but he's also proven an adept adaptor of other work that often gets butchered by other directors and writers. I wish Doctor Sleep (director's cut) had done better in the box office. I'm not sure the ending was what I hoped for, but a lot of that movie was great. I only read about 75 pages of the book so far, but based on my knowledge of King's approach to horror + what appeared in the film plus what I did read, I'm pretty sure much of it was taken straight (except for the end, which I know was changed since Flanagan was working off Kubrick's film rather than the King novel). Rebecca Ferguson was so great as Rose the Hat.

It's clear he's borrowing from The Others too (Nicole Kidman adaptation of Turn Of the Screw - it's a barely recognizable adaptation, and Flanagan sticks to the original story *way* more than The Others did, but he did also pull stuff from The Others that wasn't in the book).

I think the only other adaptation I've seen was the one with Michelle Dockery, and it was okay, but eh. As I keep saying, it's an exceptionally difficult book to adapt - it's more about being afraid than it is about the stuff that causing fear.
 

Totenkindly

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I'm an incorrigible hermit and a big part of why is because I feel more alone around most people than not. But yeah, that bonfire scene kinda triggered "if getting together with people was more like this, I'd want to do it more often" feelings.

Mine are always muddled viewed through the lens my religious background. Maybe it's another reason why I don't know how to engage now, there was always the religious format and/or church to pull people together -- "because we all share the same beliefs, we will do [these activities] together." We would have bonfires at all the retreats / camping weeks in the summer. (I even went back as a counselor for a few years, and of course churches would sometimes have bonfires.) But it all filtered through a religious lens, "what god taught us," etc. and all the stories typically sound alike.

It's just everything is tainted for me now, with my views changed -- and I just want honesty without it all being subsumed into some kind of formalized religion, because I feel like honesty and closeness is all deflected when religion doctrines tower over it all and take credit for it. It feels close at the time but then if you don't share the doctrine, suddenly my experience is that you're just left out in the cold. But why should anyone be? We should be able to meet and touch as real tangible human beings with similar experiences of being human regardless of religious background; honesty and intimacy should be a thing regardless. Families are things regardless of religion. Why not families of choice? i feel like once you strip away all the formal beliefs and organizations and things people identify with to justify intimacy, then you are just left with equivalent, mortal, vulnerable people, and that is the level approaching each other that I think is intimate.

I love that they keep coming back to the bonfire and showing it from different angles (from the different perspectives of who was there, and what was actually going on for them). Because the things we learn in between are pretty huge, changing what we know about that bonfire scene significantly.

yes, like when the time sequences aren't even quite aligned, so we get bits and snippets before and after other clips we've seen, but eventually it all syncs up? But Episode 5 was jarring to me for the first twenty minutes, I couldn't figure out what was going on at first. I think at that point, I had a pretty strong hunch what was going on but no idea how it was playing out or how the details would arrange themselves.

I watched all but the last episode and then rewatched the beginning, and I picked up on several things about the dollhouse that completely went over my head the first time. It's almost like this series (and it's true about Hill House too) was meant to be watched repeatedly. With Hill House - not sure if it was the last episode or the 2nd from last - but there's a scene in the car where the father is explaining to the oldest son that their family is like an undigested meal to the house and that (in so many words) everyone's memory of the house was a little bit different and no one much noticed. Like how the treehouse wasn't real, the people hired to help work on the house weren't real - and in rewatching, you could almost tell who's perspective we were following by the things going on in the background. I forgot the phrase the dad used, something about scratch marks on the back of an old clock and how they were kind of like a signature to show who worked on the clock (because every clock fixer had his own distinctive way of opening clocks). The father called those differences in memory "clock scratches" (or whatever the phrase was). A 10/10 goosebump moment.

Yeah, I faintly remember that comment, but yes it was one of those things where you could figure out what was what on second view based on the background. About the only thing I got here about the dollhouse early on was that the faceless woman (which we know as the Lady now) was relegated to living under the dresser and not permitted in the house... or (lol) actually, her actual location (now I understand) WAS "underneath" and outside the mansion the entire time. Sigh.

Side note -- there's apparently a lot of ghosts I am missing because I am focused on the central visual story unfolding. Which is cool in itself. At times the ghosts are more obvious (like the plague doctor early on, it appears in the foreground but mostly outside the viewbox), but apparently a number are being slipped in, it's like you need to be watching the peripherals to notice them... but do you really want to, watching this in the dead of night in your house alone? I was kinda wigged out last night, going to bed at 3am, and I primarily deal with it through logic -- "You have been living here alone for four years, with no signs of ghosts, so no ghosts are going to pop in just because you watched a TV show about ghosts." But I remember being spooked as a child.

I have to say too just about the camera as well -- I think for horror films, the control of what the viewer can see is one of the most maddening tools in a director's toolkit. Suggesting that things are lurking just outside of the view is terrifying because we have no control enough to move the camera and actually look at it -- so dread just increases, and the feelings of vulnerability to something we can't quite perceive. It's almost like the feeling of being paralyzed and thus frozen, unable to turn the head to see we suspect is there.

It's clear he's borrowing from The Others too (Nicole Kidman adaptation of Turn Of the Screw - it's a barely recognizable adaptation, and Flanagan sticks to the original story *way* more than The Others did, but he did also pull stuff from The Others that wasn't in the book).

Big fan of that film too. I remember the soldier husband thing, and how they all seem to be trapped. It seems to be common with ghosts, that they are looped around because they've lost their way, so they end up revisiting the biggest memories / locations they have without knowing how to break free. They have forgotten who they are and others are forgetting who they are as well. If anything, Bly Manor has really shown us how this could work and be experienced from the ghosts' perspectives.
 
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