The definitive haunted house novel of the last 100 years is being adapted to the screen for a third time.
According to Deadline, Shirley Jackson’s 1959 book The Haunting of Hill House is being developed as a 10-episode series by Netflix, Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV and Paramount's television division.
The project will apparently get to bypass the pilot stage and has been ordered straight into production. The good news is that the filmmaker attached to the series is Mike Flanagan, the acclaimed horror specialist whose films so far include Oculus, Before I Wake, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil and an upcoming Netflix adaptation of Stephen King's novel Gerald’s Game.
Flanagan will write and direct the show from Jackson's text, which follows a quartet of investigators who set out to prove whether the title mansion -- which has a long and ghastly history of murder, suicide and more -- is in fact haunted. The house begins to prey on all four of them -- or does it? -- particularly an emotionally disturbed and fragile young woman named Eleanor.
Jackson's book is considered one of the masterpieces of supernatural fiction and one of the great novels of the 20th century. The novel was acclaimed for focusing on the psychological effect of the house on the characters, as well as Jackson's subtle use of unseen terrors instead of outright, in-your-face manifestations. It has had an undeniable impact on just about every haunted house story written in its wake, from Richard Matheson's Hell House to Stephen King's The Shining to Anne River Siddons' The House Next Door.
The book was adapted faithfully by director Robert Wise (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) in 1963 as a film that itself is considered one of horror cinema's milestones (see trailer below), and remade in 1999 by director Jan de Bont (Speed) as an awful CG fest that basically threw out everything that made the original story so eerie.
Flanagan knows his stuff, so we're confident that he won't want to mess this one up. Our only concern is the length: the novel is just over 200 pages long (give or take), so it seems as if the filmmaker will have to add to or expand the material to make it into a 10-hour series. That raises a (small) red flag.
Other than that, are you interested to see a new version of The Haunting of Hill House from one of the genre's most promising new filmmakers?