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The Haunting of Hill House

Z Buck McFate

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I actually can't remember which episode this is from, probably #7 or #8:



Since I don't plan on finishing for a while, I figure I'll jot down some comparisons to the book now (that shouldn't be read until finishing the series).

Except this part, which I don't think needs a spoiler: I'm glad Flanagan incorporated the moment when the governess gets impatient with the paranoid feeling and yells at Flora to stop looking over her (governess's) shoulder as if she's actually talking to someone standing behind her. That was a creepy moment in the book. It was appropriately subdued in Victoria Pedretti; in the book it was a sort of breaking point where she could hardly stand the paranoia anymore and had become convinced *something* was going on, but the same neurotic reaction in F's adaptation wouldn't really have made sense, so it was adjusted accordingly.

Also, something that's probably worth mentioning is that the governess is never actually given a name in the book. Even though she's the narrator, and it's told entirely from her point of view. She's referred to simply as the governess, and called "Miss" by Mrs. Grose and the children.

 

Totenkindly

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Okay, I wasn't going to, but I couldn't help myself and blew through the end.

Your comment above refers to episode#7. Episode #8 is the flashback in b&w to explain the origin of the manor ghosts. The whole episode is narrated by Gugino, and she does a brilliant job -- and I have now read somewhere that a lot of it was torn from the James story after which the episode is titled. I wouldn't be surprised. The language is beautiful and lyrical as delivered by Gugino, extremely repetitive but it works because of her delivery AND the repetition, which is signifying something about the experience of the ghosts themselves. I was both laughing in pleasure and feeling great sadness listening to it.

I also LOL'ed when


You will have to tell how how you perceived the finale when you finally see it. I have mixed feelings, although I feel like the final half hour ends very strongly and in an earned way, unlike the happy twist at the end of "Hill House" which really bothered me considering what a departure it was from the tone of the Jackson story.

(By the way, for kicks, I reread The Lottery the other week and it was just delicious, there were so many nasty letters to the New Yorker over that story; Jackson just reeled them all in and then sucker punches them at the end. I can definitely see her influence in how Stephen King writes as well.)

My thoughts on the finale:

But damn, I'm gonna have to rewatch the entire thing now when I get time, before I forget too much.
 

Totenkindly

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Thoughts on the first episode, after rewatching it once I finished the series (ongoing updates as I think of more):




On when Miles is himself:



How the doll house works (which I think we've generally figured out:

 

Lexicon

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Thoughts on the first episode, after rewatching it once I finished the series:




On when Miles is himself:



How the doll house works (which I think we've generally figured out:


 

Totenkindly

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Jackson-Cohen almost played a different Bly Manor role

Light spoilers, I guess, since it signifies roles in the season. But basically I am glad things ended up as they did.

However, in regards to Netflix's qualms about Pedretti (Dani) and Jackson-Cohen (Peter) being compared to their roles last season, well what about the similar gross angle they ended up actually doing (almost) this season?

 

Totenkindly

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Thoughts on rewatching Episode 2:



Thoughts on rewatching Episode 3:



I think all the acting was quite good in this btw, especially with some actors without much past acclaim and/or professional experience... esp the kids (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelia Bee Smith).
 
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Totenkindly

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My copy of "The Innocents" (1961) Criterion arrived today. So I am looking forward to watching that.
 

Z Buck McFate

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Okay, I wasn't going to, but I couldn't help myself and blew through the end.

I finally finished it. :cry: I totally cried over Hannah and Owen. And I love these comments being here to read. Inasmuch as it's like throwing a message in a bottle back into the sea to respond to a bottle I'm finding, in terms of expediency, I figure it can't hurt to respond.

Your comment above refers to episode#7. Episode #8 is the flashback in b&w to explain the origin of the manor ghosts. The whole episode is narrated by Gugino, and she does a brilliant job -- and I have now read somewhere that a lot of it was torn from the James story after which the episode is titled. I wouldn't be surprised. The language is beautiful and lyrical as delivered by Gugino, extremely repetitive but it works because of her delivery AND the repetition, which is signifying something about the experience of the ghosts themselves. I was both laughing in pleasure and feeling great sadness listening to it.

I have a book of James' ghost stories with The Romance of Certain Old Clothes in it, so I 100% know what I'm doing after this until I fall asleep.

I also LOL'ed when


You will have to tell how how you perceived the finale when you finally see it. I have mixed feelings, although I feel like the final half hour ends very strongly and in an earned way, unlike the happy twist at the end of "Hill House" which really bothered me considering what a departure it was from the tone of the Jackson story.

(By the way, for kicks, I reread The Lottery the other week and it was just delicious, there were so many nasty letters to the New Yorker over that story; Jackson just reeled them all in and then sucker punches them at the end. I can definitely see her influence in how Stephen King writes as well.)

Not sure why, but I really get a kick out of the angry letters too. I didn't really get why, after I read it. I mean, it's creepy. But not until the very end. It had one of those "To Serve Man" endings (the Twilight Zone episode where we find out at the very end that it's actually a cook book, and the whole episode of people volunteering to go with the aliens isn't especially horrifying until that last moment). But maybe that's what people absolutely hated about it? They could relate too much to the realistic situation leading up to that horrific ending, and had invested too much/related too much to the villagers by the time it happened? :shrug:

My thoughts on the finale:


And it totally sucks that apparently there won't be more Haunting seasons anytime soon. Even before this ended I kept thinking "Please please one more with all these actors, especially Rahul Kohli and Henry Thomas." But I'm stoked about the extra links here to read. So thanks for continuing to post even though there was little/no response.
 

Z Buck McFate

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Episode 8 is indeed the other James story. A lot of it used verbatim. And the episode sticks to this story closely.
6c617b5107f6ae253d08f9bd54e24434.jpg


66c1c96c81dbe83829c51564a075137a.jpg


There are a couple more characters in the James version, and removing them was a good call. They would have been superfluous.
 

Z Buck McFate

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I was thinking today about how the first season also ended with one of the characters agreeing to sacrifice himself and 'join' the ghost in order to save everyone else. This is something Flanagan adds, it isn't in either original story, the notion that abandonment or some troubled/insecure attachment to others is the driving force behind the carnage and only someone making a choice to join the ghost calms it down. It reminds me of the Mr. Robot finale, which I loved, where the winning move in the computer game Eliot had to play (to shut off the bomb) was to make his character stay behind and probably sacrifice himself to sit with his injured friend. For some reason, I absolutely loved it and it's one of my favorite series endings ever. I like it in the Flanagan series, but not quite as much. (Although the Flanagan series are both chocked full of beautiful metaphors and enchanting bits and pieces throughout, which I don't think is as true for Mr. Robot).
 

Z Buck McFate

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Also, something Flanagan added to episode 8, that wasn't in the James story, is the repeating "And she woke up, and she wandered around craving something, and she went back to sleep - each time forgetting a little bit more" element. I found that maybe the most haunting part of it (for the same reason it's so haunting in Waiting For Godot, or Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead).
 

Totenkindly

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I was thinking today about how the first season also ended with one of the characters agreeing to sacrifice himself and 'join' the ghost in order to save everyone else. This is something Flanagan adds, it isn't in either original story, the notion that abandonment or some troubled/insecure attachment to others is the driving force behind the carnage and only someone making a choice to join the ghost calms it down. It reminds me of the Mr. Robot finale, which I loved, where the winning move in the computer game Eliot had to play (to shut off the bomb) was to make his character stay behind and probably sacrifice himself to sit with his injured friend. For some reason, I absolutely loved it and it's one of my favorite series endings ever. I like it in the Flanagan series, but not quite as much. (Although the Flanagan series are both chocked full of beautiful metaphors and enchanting bits and pieces throughout, which I don't think is as true for Mr. Robot).

Yeah, Mr. Robot is one of my personally formative TV shows (AKA one of my lifetime top ten). Season 2 lost its way a bit, but then it makes an amazing uphill climb/push through to the Season 4 series finale and sticks the landing.

It's a theme that exists a lot in fantasy literature and has always resonated with me, whether it's how they get rid of Mr. Dark in the "Fables" comic book, or how "The Elfstones of Shannara" resolves itself, or (really appropriately) the short Earthsea story about Ogion's master Heleth called "The Bones of the Earth." (Ogion the Silent is Ged's master.) I always get choked up when I read it. I wish I had as much of LeGuin's talent as she contained just in her little finger, let alone the scribbling hand.

http://cleisabeni.com/uploads/6/0/4/7/60470251/bonesoftheearth.pdf

There are others as well (the Wyrd of the Elohim in 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant), but there's basically a transformation of sorts and a merging, losing some or all of who you are to be subsumed in something else, to save people you love or save a collective. (Heck, despite the bad execution, that is also the end of the Matrix Revolutions.)

Also, something Flanagan added to episode 8, that wasn't in the James story, is the repeating "And she woke up, and she wandered around craving something, and she went back to sleep - each time forgetting a little bit more" element. I found that maybe the most haunting part of it (for the same reason it's so haunting in Waiting For Godot, or Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead).

It's like a gradual death, like the specter of Alzheimer's, a gradual loss of self and self-consciousness.

They say that in the end you only have yourself, but even that sometimes can drip away until nothing remains. I think that's the worst, to feel it go over time. Like "Flowers for Algernon."
 

Z Buck McFate

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Yeah, Mr. Robot is one of my personally formative TV shows (AKA one of my lifetime top ten). Season 2 lost its way a bit, but then it makes an amazing uphill climb/push through to the Season 4 series finale and sticks the landing.

It's a theme that exists a lot in fantasy literature and has always resonated with me, whether it's how they get rid of Mr. Dark in the "Fables" comic book, or how "The Elfstones of Shannara" resolves itself, or (really appropriately) the short Earthsea story about Ogion's master Heleth called "The Bones of the Earth." (Ogion the Silent is Ged's master.) I always get choked up when I read it. I wish I had as much of LeGuin's talent as she contained just in her little finger, let alone the scribbling hand.

http://cleisabeni.com/uploads/6/0/4/7/60470251/bonesoftheearth.pdf

There are others as well (the Wyrd of the Elohim in 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant), but there's basically a transformation of sorts and a merging, losing some or all of who you are to be subsumed in something else, to save people you love or save a collective. (Heck, despite the bad execution, that is also the end of the Matrix Revolutions.)

I haven't read much fantasy, and haven't ready any for a long time now. I've read some snippets about LeGuin (quotes and whatnot) that made me add her to my 'some day' list though. If a person only gets around to reading one of her books, what book should that be?

It's like a gradual death, like the specter of Alzheimer's, a gradual loss of self and self-consciousness.

They say that in the end you only have yourself, but even that sometimes can drip away until nothing remains. I think that's the worst, to feel it go over time. Like "Flowers for Algernon."

Episode 8 shows the 'forgetting cycle' from the outside, from the viewpoint of an audience watching - it's clear that Viola is becoming more and more a mindless puppet of overwhelming emotions she's experiencing, and even the puppet starts operating on autopilot (whatever she might call her 'self' is long buried) - but Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Waiting For Godot both give an internal dialogue for that whole downhill slope into purpose oblivion and the jarring thing about it (imo) is that it's so relatable. The internal dialogue looks a lot like routine "wait, what did I get up and come into this room for again?" kind of stuff. All sorts of Gurdjieff-y Enneagram-y stuff about "only ever seeking comfort puts our minds to sleep" is coming to mind. (I'm feeling like I've probably had too much sugar and instead of further spazzing out about this series tonight maybe I should have a lie down :laugh: ).

Anyway, I thought the downward slide into being a hungry ghost was really well done.
 

Totenkindly

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I started rewatching "Hill House" now with my son, since he has moved in with me. We watched the first two episodes last night. I'm excited to see his reaction to the Bent-Neck Lady episode and the one that follows with the great tracking shots.

Time has added more experiences to my memory since my last watch. I was really struck by Shirley's reactions when Steve called her in e2 to report what happened to Nell. It was surreal for me this time, I watched her face trying to process the information and it took her a long time to get through it. First was disbelief, then denial. At this point in time, it now struck a chord with me based on the phone call I got from my supervisor the day after Thanksgiving 2020 to tell me my friend and coworker died. (I don't envy her, she had to call a lot of people.) My friend was only 34 and in good health and died unexpectedly from COVID after-effects. I remember being stunned because it was the last thing I imagined hearing. I heard the words and understood what I was being told but my brain just kind of froze. I didn't even respond for a good 5-10 seconds, and then I remember I actually laughed at the absurdity of it all and said, "WHAT?" I already knew what. But my brain just was like, "No, I'm not hearing this. This makes no sense." It was even worse than the same experience i had when my mom called me in the morning about my dad dying, back in 2013 -- at least then, he had been in horrible health for years and I expected him to die much earlier. This was something my brain just was not prepared to process.

So I found myself this time absorbed in Shirley's facial expressions and responses to the news. It was the same thing. She heard Steve, but just didn't even know what to make of the statement, it was ridiculous gibberish even while inside she was recoiling emotionally.
 

Z Buck McFate

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^That makes me want to watch it again.

I just put together that the guy who played Mile's and Flora's father is also Gareth Marenghi. (Matthew Holness). Too funny.

5a087e1e9d07ac1669a52ec2c9650786.png

e61bb1774c6fda452928df61064f0d88.png
 

Totenkindly

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Last night my son wanted to watch a creepy film, then suggested instead he was amenable to watching more Hill House.

We watched episodes 3 and 4, and I could tell he was engrossed, so I suckered him into giving him what he really wanted without really warning him - Episode 5, the Bent-Neck Lady. His response at the end was fucking awesome, and we discussed for a few minutes before bed (and he seemed okay) and now he told today that he was up for a few hours because he couldn't sleep! Bwa ha ha ha!

prtscr-capture-4_3f2t.620[1].jpg


I found it hard to rewatch that episode. I cried a few times. It was worse knowing how everything with Nell was going to pan out, all the emotional agonies she would experience in what remained of her life, and how the huge awful macabre picture all assembled together across the tapestry of her life. Just absolutely dreadful, and my skin crawled with the alternating scenes of her dancing through the house.
 
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