A Look at: The Haunting of Hill House

*F.Y.I*
I’m going to giving my brief spoiler free reactions first and when you see me shouting at you with stars above the sentence then I have free will to spoil everything…including the movie Braveheart, *Spoiler alert* Mel Gibson isn’t actually Scottish. So a vaugeish look to a spoiler filled discussion after. Anyway…

I’ve always been a lover of horror but in recent years I feel like there has been a lack of genuinely good horror media. I feel like the general census amongst people is that if it makes you jump then that’s scary and in turn can be classed as horror. Wrong. Horror doesn’t need to be visual or audible, it just needs to plant the seed of dread in to your mind and let it manifest in to something truly unsettling. I believe The Haunting of Hill House in that sense is a modern horror masterpiece.

The story of The Haunting of Hill House follows the Craine family during two time periods of their lives, During the summer of 1992 when the family of seven move in to Hill house and 26 years later when an incident brings them all back together to confront what truly happened that ill fated summer. Essentially what we have with this show is a supernatural physiological horror/family drama? But it works, really well. Its great to see something so fresh in such an over saturated choice of schlocky haunted house media.

Each family member is given their episode to shine and we get to see their own perspectives of what happened to them in 1992 and how they are coping with that in the modern day. Episodes 5 and 6 ‘The Bent-Neck Lady’ and ‘Two Storms’ are stand outs for me and are up there with some of the best episodes of TV I have ever seen. Period. I am not joking with you right now. #Manneverjokes.

Before I go in to spoilers I will just give a brief summary then you can crack on with watching it or whatever you want to do. It’s up to you. I will not judge you if you decide to re-watch Rick and Morty for the 12th time. You do you.

So The Haunting of Hill House is a ghost story with scares, drama and at its core heart. A wonderfully acted piece of television which along with being one of the finest in its genre stands proudly as one of the best shows to stream right now. Anywhere. Do yourself a favour and go watch it. Now.

*From here there be spoilers arrrgh* Not pirates but I’m going to stick with it.
Is it safe? Cool.

The Bent Neck Lady

Poor poor Nelle

Holy shit. So during what is essentially Nelles’ episode we follow her story to find out why she ultimately killed herself and the answer is a very difficult one to accept. So during her time at Hill house ‘The Bent Neck Lady’ makes herself known to Nelle, hovering over her bed, watching her sleep you name it. Once Nelle has grown up she starts to appear again, and just as she is getting her life on track ‘The Bent Neck Lady’ just as swiftly says ‘Fuck the tracks we’re going off road’ and appears to kill her husband.

In an attempt to finally settle things with the house and their ghostly residents she goes to Hill House to squash the beef. But that doesn’t quite go to plan and Nelle ends up being cohersed in to hanging herself by the ghost of her mother. So what then happens is very disturbing. With a massive crack we see Nelles neck snap and her lifeless body left to dangle in a now vacant house. But as she is turning in to one of the ghostly residents the house decides to show her some moments of her life but as her current self and in plain view of herself in the past. So this ‘Bent Neck Lady’ is actually herself in the last few moments of her life haunting herself in her own death loop forever.

Nelle looking at young Nelle who is staring at Nelle who is Haunting young Nelle

There is no way anybody saw this coming right? Imagine the thought of your biggest fear in life, something you think killed your partner being the last dying moments of your own life in physical form. appearing at the worst possible times. How fucking dark is that? It’s like the house was playing some sick game and was like ‘You know how time is irrelevant here, you know what would be funny. We use that somehow to haunt somebody and ruin their life. Wait it would be even funnier if we could get someone to haunt themselves, ghost man! Hold my beer!’. The fact the house was making her in to a ghost to make it seem as if the young Nelle was being haunted her whole life, when in fact it was just herself, just to get her to the house to end her life is so dark. No! Hill house you twisted bastard no! That being said it is an incredible twist that keeps on giving as the show goes on but damn Hill house, damn.

The Hidden Ghosts

One of the most unsettling parts of ‘Hill House’ is the abundance of spirits lurking in the background just out of sight. It constantly makes you rewind a few seconds back just to make sure you aren’t seeing things, which is how it would be if you thought you saw an apparition in real life, questioning if that candy cane monster from the kitchen drawer was there the whole time or if its just the blurriness of your eyes at 3 am as you eat shredded cheese out of the bag. The blonde haired lady from the image above freaked me out the most, as she clings to the wall just out of sight desperate to know whats going on in the basement of Hill House. I don’t how many apparitions there are exactly but I probably spotted roughly 1-2 an episode but I bet there a lot more than that. There’s probably one behind you now. RUN!

Game of Ghosts

Steve Crain is Daario Naharis from Game of Thrones… Took me like 4 episodes to figure out where I recognised him from…just thought you ought to know.

Two Storms

Episode 6 ‘Two Storms’ does the most aesthetically pleasing thing, in my opinion, by doing the whole long take thing as the camera follows the family members during the funeral of Nelle and a storm in the 90’s. It all seamlessly fits together to make it seem like your’e a fly on the wall observing this all happen in real time. The longest take lasted 17 minutes. 17 minutes for there to be no fuck ups and for the whole thing to run smoothly, that’s insane. According to director Mike Flanagan they had props moving constantly, 18 pages of dialogue in any given take, 100 people behind the scenes working on lighting, sound design you name it. It makes the whole episode massively engrossing watching this family struggle to come to terms with the ‘Suicide’ of their sister and daughter and how they deal with the reality of the situation they are now in. The performances are outstanding, the production is out of this world and the episode ends in the most gut wrenching way possible.

Right at the end of the last flashback Nelle was missing during the storm but suddenly appears, Luke, her twin brother, tells her something along the lines “Don’t ever do that again, I thought I had lost you forever” to which Nelle replies “I was here the whole time but nobody could see me, I was screaming and nobody could see me”. Cut back to the present day where the family have gone their separate ways after a massive argument involving basically everyone and the camera pans to Nelles body in her coffin with Nelle, sporting her new bent neck lady ghost form, standing right next to it where her family once were. With Ghost Nelle staring at her family as they walk off young Nelles voice is heard repeating “I was here the whole time but nobody could see me, I was screaming and nobody could see me”. Which is a heart wrenching line seeing how Nelle was essentially the person who would stop all of the fighting between the family and now is left to watch as her family splits apart from each other and there is absolutey nothing she can do about it from the other side.


If you’re interested in seeing how they did it I will kindly leave a link right here for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8gJ81M39Ig&feature=youtu.be

Wrapping this whole thing up

I could write forever about this amazing TV show but alas I do not have the time to do so and I’m sure as a reader you would probably be like ‘Fuck that I got things to do and other stuff to watch, you heard about that Birdbox thing? What a… what a something’ but I digress. The Haunting of Hill House is something more in the vein of ‘The Devils Backbone’ where rather than out right scaring you there is more of a focus on the beautifully written characters and the idea of a ghost story in its beating heart. A must watch for any horror fan or fan of great character driven drama.



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The MOST important film awards for 2018

So 2018 is over. That was quick wasn’t it? I mean it only seems like a few weeks ago everyone was arguing if ‘The Last Jedi’ was a good Star Wars film or not I mean… Wait, you mean people are still arguing about that? Like now? Whatever, move on with you lives people there is nothing you can do about it, it’s not like you can remake it or anything.

Upon research I found that there is actually a fan site who are asking for pledges so that they can remake ‘The Last Jedi’ they currently have over $400 million pledged… No joke.

Just a reminder I didn’t see everything this year so if i have left something out I did it to annoy you personally.

Anyway here are my awards for Film in 2018 and I’m going to start us off with what I think is one of the most important awards.

Most Improved haircut:

Captain America – Infinity War

Bumblebee – Bumblebee

Credence – Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Wizard Hitler

Winner: Credence – Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Wizard Hitler

Congrats to Credence for his win and congrats for having a haircut that made everyone question what the fuck it was you were thinking, to being passable in human society. But I guess if it was meant to be a statement of some kind its lost on me. I mean look at it, it looks like a cut up black slice of watermelon.

Worst Haircut:

Grindelwald – Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of an overfilled screenplay
Mera – Aquaman
Cletus Kasady – Venom


Winner: Cletus Kasady – Venom

Well done to Woody Harrelson. The most bald man to win worst haircut in the history of these awards. The losers can take solace in the fact that they are no longer married to each other.

Best Jacket:

Han Solo – Solo: A Star Wars story
August Walker – Mission Impossible: Fallout
Sheriff of Nottingham – Robin hood

“Damn that is a nice jacket. More of a coat actually”

Winner: Sheriff of Nottingham – Robin hood


Congrats Bendelson. You are forever showing everyone that you are the most stylish villain in Hollywood and congrats to Robin Hood for not being the massive pile of shit we all thought you were going to be. You were fine.

Now people of the internet a list for the films you looked back on this year and thought “Oh yeah that was a film wasn’t it”

The ‘That came out this year award?’:

Ant man and the Wasp
Equalizer 2
Red Sparrow
A Wrinkle in Time
Escape Plan 2
Death Wish
Super Troopers 2


and the winner is…

Escape Plan 2: Hades

I bet most of you didn’t even know this was released at all unless you have seen it hovering on your Netflix account. Apparently Escape plan 2 was supposed to have had a theatrical release but instead was released straight to DVD and Blu Ray instead due to Lionsgate having no faith in the product. It didn’t even make back its production budget but somehow a sequel has been green lit and it has a release date of somewhere in 2019. At least Stallone and Bautista had huge hits this year in Creed 2 and Avengers: Infinity War respectively.

I feel this year was the year of the meh. There were so many films that were not quite bad enough to hate or laugh at, not good enough to like or watch again. I could write a massive list but I have to shorten it down to a readable amount. So without further ado:

The most Meh film award:

Incredibles 2 (Controversial pick I know)
Cloverfield Paradox
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Fantastic beasts: Where are the beasts? I cant see the beasts. There weren’t that many beasts.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Venom

Who will hold the Coveted Meh award…

Winner: Venom

*Humming the tune* Venom Venom. He’s wearing double denim. Venom. We’d better go get em, Venom. They aint gunna know what hit ’em. 
Trust me Sony we know what hit ’em’. a whole load of meh.

You ever have one of those days where you want to see a film and you look outside as you pick up your car keys and see weather that is reminiscent of something out of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and think “Na, not today”. This award goes to the films we could watch without having to venture in to the unknown of which is the outside world.

Streaming pick of the year:

Outlaw King
Annihilation
Apostle
Cargo
Cam


* Insert Drum roll here*

Winner: Annihilation

Annihilation is the story of Natalie Portmans character as she joins an expedition in to a mysterious zone which has never been explored before, they soon realise that the basic rules of nature don’t apply to where they have ventured.

A beautifully haunting piece of science fiction which leaves you thinking for hours after the film has finished. A tremendous follow up from director Alex garland who previously directed the also brillaint Ex-Machina, if you haven’t seen it…what are you doing go watch it, now.

The biggest disappointment of the year:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The Predator
The Nun


Shaun leaving the cinema screaming about how disappointing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was.
Colourised 2018.

Winner: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

It’s such a shame that this film couldn’t have been better. Jurassic park or world or whatever is a franchise which seems to have ran out of ideas and is just copying exactly from the first trilogy. Park breaks down and dinosaurs are free. Go back to the island where the park is and get the dinosaurs, rinse and repeat. I hope they can think of something more fresh for the third film otherwise I think I’m done with these films. I also feel like the 3rd act really doesn’t fit this film at all. It turns from a Sci-Fi adventure in to a Ghost house style horror film. I don’t know. How can you make dinosaurs boring? How?

Best film where Hawkeye should be trying to stop Thanos and not playing tag with his fake friends who aren’t cool like the Avengers:

The Bookshop
Swimming with men
Mumma Mia: Here we go again
Mary Poppins Retruns
Tag

Winner: Tag

Come on Clint mate, stop fucking around. The avengers needed you and you weren’t there. Why? WHY!?

So I normally try to avoid bad movies as much as I can. I tend to have a good radar and by looking at a trailer I can tell whether or not it will be good. That being said I somehow saw these films and I don’t quite know how.

The pile o’ shit award

I feel pretty
The Grinch
The Predator
Slenderman
Johnny English Strikes Again


Ughhhhhh this one hurts.

Winner: The Predator

I’ve never seen a filmmaker not understand the fan base and what they want from a film more so than Shane Black. I don’t get it. You’d think considering that he was in the original Predator he would have the knowledge to reboot the franchise in an interesting and fresh direction which the fans would love. WRONG! The predator dogs looked hilarious. The new Alpha predator was boring, all it had going for it is that it was bigger. Bigger isn’t better. The ending… The ending is the most laughable thing I have seen in a movie this year. I’m not going to say what it is in case somebody on this earth cares but I will say that it showcases the complete misunderstanding of the franchise under the helm of Shane Black.

You ever walk out of a film and look at the person or people you saw it with and with complete sincerity and say “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be” and wait for the abuse to be hurled your way like a steel chair during a cage match? But it never happens because you my friend just walked out of a film that was fine and everyone else around thinks it was fine. Not good but better than you could have hoped. The day is good.

The ‘That wasn’t a massive pile of garbage’ award:

Tomb Raider
Venom
The Meg
Robin Hood
Mortal Engines


And show me potato salad…

Winner: Robin Hood

So the trailers for Robin Hood made the film look shockingly bad. It looked uninspired, boring and quite lazy from Hollywood to be honest. But what we got was actually quite enjoyable. Taron Egerton and Bendelson were very good in their roles and it had some pretty solid action sequences to boot. It is one of those films I think most people overlook because we know the story and there have been many films and TV shows about this character but if you give it chance I feel like you might just have some fun with it.

A Director for a film is like what a captain is to a ship of pillaging and plundering pirates. They need to be in control of the sea battle and keep their vision of treasure in their minds as they stumble through the dark caves of an unexplored island. Ummm anyway…

Best Director:

Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
Guillermo Del Toro – The Shape of Water
John Krasinski – A Quiet Place
The Russo Brothers – Avengers: Infinity War
Alex Garland – Annihilation
Christopher Mcquarrie – Mission Impossible: Fallout



So who won the sea battle, who guided their ship mates to a glorious bounty. Okay I’m going to stop comparing directors to captains of a pirate ship…

Winner – John Krasinski

So John Krasinski just comes out from under his tiny office desk to direct a unknown horror film starring his wife Emily Blunt. This film is filled with so much tension and dread that you really can not settle at all during the whole film. The silence doesn’t allow for it. I literally gasped during one of the scenes which is unheard of for me. I really cared for these characters and the horrible situation they have been thrown in to and it made the viewing experience that much more tension filled.

The world building is magnificent and makes me want to know more about what actually happened to this world that they now live in. There are floorboards that have been painted because stepping on them makes noise. The hand made roads are covered in sand to reduce any accidental sounds. Its these little details that really flesh out a world for me and make me believe whats going on in this exhausted and worn out world they live in. I could probably write an essay on how much I love the direction in this film but I will save that for another day. It’s just so good to see something so original in a genre that needs a bit of a boost of originality. Apparently Johnny boy is hard at work developing the sequel and I for one cant wait to see what happens next.

Best Actor:

Tom Crusie – Mission Impossible: Fallout
John Krasinski – A Quiet Place
Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born


Who is the champion?

Winner – Rami Malek

This was actually quite tough for me. It was a toss up between Bradley Cooper and how he portrayed the fragility of his character in A Star is Born or Rami Malek and his complete embodiment of Freddie Mercury. It sounds massively cliche but I have to say its almost like this role was made for him. He looks like Freddie, he sounds like Freddie and he acts like Freddie. When he is on screen he is Freddie Mercury. I don’t really know what else to say. Just a fantastic performance giving us all something I’m sure Freddie would surely be proud of if he could watch it today.

Best Actress

Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie – I,Tonya
Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place

Winner: Lady Gaga

So other than a few cameos and a season of American Horror Story, which she is terrific in by the way, this is pretty much Lady Gagas acting debut.

She absolutely hits it out of the park on her first swing in A Star is Born portraying a character which I’m sure felt quite close to home for her. I would give her the award for the song at the end of the film alone. You can absolutely feel the emotion she is going through not just by her singing which is incredible but also through her body language during the performance. It genuinely brought me to tears as I was watching it. A real tragic story about stardom, love and depression which is only elevated by the chemistry of its two leads and the perfect performance from Gaga. I couldn’t picture anybody else nailing this role as much as she did.

So we are here. This has been emotional hasn’t it? There have been ups and there have been downs. But now Ladies and germs we have made it to the biggest award I can give out and the award that every filmmaker dreams of getting when they were young watching Aliens at an age when they should 100 percent be watching something less scarring. So without any more of my nonsense lets move on to:

Best Film:

Molly’s Game
The Shape of Water
A Star is Born
Avengers: Infinity War
Coco
Annihilation
A Quiet Place
Deadpool 2
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Bohemian Rhapsody

Winner: A Star is Born

No other film quite affected me this year like how A Star is Born affected me. A Deeply tragic story brought to life by some incredible direction by Bradley Cooper, In his directorial debut to boot, and incredible performances by Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Elliot who really bring their human and flawed characters to life. I’m going to say it again this film brought me to tears a few times by displaying themes we don’t see too often in mainstream media like this and it’s extremely important to get these sorts of messages across to as many people as possible.

Accompanied by an amazing soundtrack with stellar vocals from Gaga and surprisingly Bradley Cooper it all adds up to make my film of the year, this was probably my easiest choice of the whole bunch.

Honestly just see it.

Well that’s another year done and dusted. There have been ups and downs what an emotional roller coaster it’s been. But I’m not buying the damn photo at the kiosk once you get off. £18 just for a photo. You’re having a laugh surely? They also have the cheek to be like “Well you can get a keyring for an extra 4 pounds”. No I’m not doing it I refuse. I REFUSE!!

*Coughs*

Anyway 2019 is shaping up to be a pretty huge year for film so expect to hear from me on my opinions on them and they jackets that the characters are wearing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If there is anyone who has read this far. Or read it at all.

As always many thanks.

Hope you had a great 2018 and an even better 2019.

Your local nerd and fruit loop,
Shaun


So, blogging and that huh?

So recently I’ve been pondering, a bad idea for me I know, about writing a blog. What I’m going to write about on this old blogo of mine is still quite undecided. I guess it will be about stuff I am passionate about, prepare yourself for what some people refer to as a list:

Films and TV
Gaming
Sharpening swords on whetstones
Books
Pop culture
Deciding if you should help somebody up before laughing at them falling over
Short stories that I write
Space and that
Other projects I’m working on
Lists
Dungeons and Dragons

I could go on… and I shall:
Superheroes
Star Wars

I’m done now I think. But if you haven’t already thrown away your electronic device at the nearest loved one because of the annoyance I have brought upon you through this initial post then I guess you could follow this blog I suppose. (Out of breath wheezing ensues).

Thanks,
Shaun