- Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” is a dramatic horror series throughout its first season, but it ends on a hopeful note. That wasn’t always the case.
- The series’ director, Mike Flanagan, told The Hollywood Reporter that the season finale was originally a lot darker but that he changed it because it would have been too “cruel” to the audience.
- “We’ve been on this journey for 10 hours; a few minutes of hope was important to me,” he said.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season finale of “The Haunting of Hill House.”
Netflix’s new hit horror series, “The Haunting of Hill House,” is dramatic and terrifying throughout its 10-episode first season, but it ends on a positive and uplifting note. That wasn’t always the case.
The director and writer of the series, Mike Flanagan, told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that he originally had a different, less hopeful ending in mind but that he changed it because he felt it would have been too “cruel” to the audience.
The series flashes between the past and the present, following five siblings who, as adults, are still dealing with the trauma they suffered as children in the haunted Hill House, where there was a mysterious room with a red door that was always locked. In the final episode, it’s revealed that the room was actually each family member’s personal space that nobody else could open or see.
“It was one of our writers, Rebecca Klingel, who had first pitched it,” Flanagan told THR. “I had wanted something really special for the Red Room. We knew we were going to keep that door closed for a long time. I was saying along the lines of, ‘We’re going to want to see what’s in that room so badly by the end of this, whatever it is has to be great.’ And she pitched, ‘Well, what if we have seen it, and we just don’t know it?’ There’s something really insidious about being placated while being eaten by this house.”
In the season finale, the family members return to the house that haunted their childhood and finally discover the secrets of the Red Room. But Flanagan said his original idea for the ending would have implied that the family never leaves.
“We toyed with the idea for a little while that over that monologue, over the image of the family together, we would put the Red Room window in the background,” Flanagan said. “For a while, that was the plan. Maybe they never really got out of that room.
“The night before it came time to shoot it, I sat up in bed, and I felt guilty about it. I felt like it was cruel. That surprised me. I’d come to love the characters so much that I wanted them to be happy. I came in to work and said, ‘I don’t want to put the window up. I think it’s mean and unfair.’ Once that gear had kicked in, I wanted to lean as far in that direction as possible. We’ve been on this journey for 10 hours; a few minutes of hope was important to me.”
Read more of Business Insider’s coverage of Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’:
- The cast of ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ couldn’t sleep and felt ‘crazed’ during filming
- How ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ pulled off its best episode, which included ’18-page scenes without any cuts‘
- ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is surging in popularity and is the next big hit horror TV show
- ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ director is making a sequel to Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’
- Stephen King loves ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and called it ‘close to a work of genius’
- Netflix’s new horror series is a chilling drama that digs much deeper than jump scares
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