Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Haunting of Hill House

Go To

    open/close all folders 

     The Book 
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Eleanor the victim of the House? Or does she suffer from mental problems? Or does she suffer from mental problems which the House deliberately exacerbates? On the one hand the other residents also see and hear unnatural things, but even before she reaches the House Eleanor is shown to have an overactive imagination.
  • Les Yay:
    • Eleanor and Theodora get very close to each other very quickly, touch each other a lot, share clothes. Eleanor in particular starts to obsess of Theodora and starts fantasizing about living with her.

     The Series 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The House. Is it a genuine haunted entity that wishes to feed or is it just a deposit for spirits (both good or bad) who die within its grounds? The latter lingers due to most of the spirits of Hill House not being violent, if not just scaring the characters; the most evil character seems to be Poppy, and it's worth noting that fellow ghost Hazel even gives a seemingly well-intentioned warning to Olivia about her being a liar.
    • Did Joey abandon Luke simply because she cared more about getting high despite his attempts to help her? Or did she notice that Luke was exhibiting a bunch of symptoms of withdrawal and think that perhaps he had used too and felt betrayed? Notably, the last thing she does before suddenly thanking him and kissing him (allowing her to steal the money from his back pocket) is notice that Luke was sweating a lot, right after he was complaining about how cold he was despite wearing a heavy coat.
    • The "ghost" stalking Adult Luke: really William Hill, the Bowler Hat Man, or actually just a less psychologically damaging substitute for Olivia, who tried to poison six-year-old Luke and Nell, and killed his friend Abigail in front of them.
    • Is Olivia staring at Steve at the end of episode 10 because she still wants the rest of the children to join the house? Or is it simply a nonverbal goodbye and acknowledgement that her son now knows the truth about her?
  • Awesome Music:
    • The soundtrack composed by the Newton Brothers is breath taking, giving a sense of sadness and horror, combining the show's traits of being a horror story but also a heartbreaking tale of trauma. Examples include...:
    • "The Haunting of Hill House - Theme" adding to the show's atmosphere.
    • "12:00 AM", which plays around the growing horror of Nell's suicide at the exact same time in the first episode.
    • "Feel Nothing", which adds to the heartbreak of Theo's terrified rant about feeling The Nothing After Death after touching Nell's body and making Shirley realize that she never tried to start an affair with her husband.
    • I Want To Wake up So Badly is both terrifying and heartbreaking, perfectly encapsulating the tragedy of Olivia's spiral into madness and eventual death.
    • "Go Tomorrow" and by an extent "The End", which play during Nell's ghost comforting her sibilings and Steve watching Hugh's ghost reunite with Nell and Olivia in the Red Room.
  • Broken Base: The show's ending tends to bother a huge select of people, mainly due to how optimistic it is compared to the show's tone. Some think it's a deserving Earn Your Happy Ending for the Crain family while some feel it's just Flanagan trolling the audience into not seeing it's a secret Downer Ending.
    • Fans became concern when the series was renewed for a second season, feeling the show should be it's own standalone series. This was mediated when Netflix revealed the second season was gonna focus on another haunted house, revealing the show was going to be an Anthology series similar to American Horror Story.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Another member of Luke’s drug therapy group tells an utterly horrific story of how he blinded himself to never again be reminded of a little girl’s corpse he saw in the army, but now it’s the only thing he sees. Luke is asked to go next, and can only laugh at being expected to follow that.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The middle part of the series tends to be the most difficult for viewers due to the Dysfunction Junction that is the Crains, but Up to Eleven. You'll be forgiven for eye rolling and facepalming each time the family spends 90% of the time at each other's throats. Then again, we're supposed to feel the pain of a family broken by events in their lives.
    • The scene with the family at Nell's casket in particular is this as it's basically the remaining Crain family arguing over petty stuff in comparison to one of their own being dead.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Luke. In spades, due to his back story and more or less of being the most broken of the family. Nell as well, despite being dead in the first episode of the show.
    • Theo has also developed a pretty big fandom, especially among the LGBT community.
  • Epileptic Trees: Debates have ranged about the show's ending, on whether or not the Crains escaped the Red Room or if they're in a mirage like the Red Room had done before, following Mike Flanagan revealing the original ending to the series. This was also not helped with Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Adult Luke) pointing out in an interview that there is always some element which is red when characters are in the Red Room - and in the last scene Luke's sobriety cake is red.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Hill House in a sense wins and continues to exist after it has collected so many souls to keep in its grounds and now has taken Hugh Crain alongside Nell and Olivia. And yet we're suppose to be okay that Steve cannot breathe a word of this? While the Crains have reunited and are a family again by the end of it, the House still lingers within the forests, waiting for more victims to take. Poor Nell also presumably has to spend eternity without her husband or her beloved siblings.
  • Fanfic Fuel: The facts of the back story behind this new version of Hill House and its past, alongside the Red Room, gives a lot of writers plenty to go mad with.
  • Heartwarming Moments: As dark and depressing as the show can get, it has its moments.
    • While Luke is treated as the Black Sheep by almost all of his siblings (which, admittedly, isn't entirely uncalled for, considering he himself has admitted he screwed them over numerous times), his twin sister Nell is the only one that doesn't give up on him even when he has her purchase drugs for him one last time while they are on their way to an addiction treatment center.
    • Steve and Nell finding out Theo is gay and their only response is to affectionately hug her.
    • Ghost Nell telling her siblings that she will always love them no matter what.
    • The remaining Crain siblings finally being able to fix their lives after escaping Hill House. Shirley reconciles with her husband and tells him about the affair she had, Steve fixes things with Leigh and is able to let go of his fears of fatherhood, Luke becomes clean and sober, and Theo finally moves out of Shirley's guesthouse and presumably in with Trish, even finally taking her gloves off.
    • "I was so lucky to be your dad...", said by Hugh to Steve as he leaves into the Red Room. Also counts as a Tear Jerker.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Theo. Having the ability to sense people's emotions must suck and her rant about how she felt complete emptiness upon touching Nell's dead body makes you realize how broken she is..
    • Hugh Crain. He starts off as a kindhearted man with a loving wife, but the House destroys it all and despite keeping to his story that the House killed his wife, he's made a laughingstock and his family grows to hate him for it, especially Steve.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Shirley is often hypocritical and self-righteous, but it's hard not to feel sorry for her considering how much Hill House left her mentally ruined and the amount of hell she's struggled with since then.
    • Steven is rude, snippy, arrogant, and a borderline asshole, but he also is in such denial that the House wasn't haunted and seeing ghosts (to the point of refusing to have children because he thinks they would inherit the supposed mental disease that he believes is behind it all) that it's hard not to feel some pity for him.
  • Narm: The first episode has a horribly contrived Jump Scare as the sound of Hugh getting into bed is amplified to a clearly unnatural level. Luckily, the show never cheats like this again.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Considering the Red Room's Lotus-Eater Machine powers, you'll be looking for your room just having one window too.
    • Olivia's Death Glare in the end of Episode 10 give some vibes that the family isn't safe yet...
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The ending almost feels too happy and saccharine compared to the rest of the story. Everyone gets their happy ending in an extended montage, and even the house taking the souls of those who die in it is given a positive spin with Mrs. Dudley being taken to die there so she can remain with her children as a ghost. To top it all off, during the montage, there is a rather peppy licensed song playing, making it feel like it was taken straight out of a basic cable TV show. The whole segment feels like it belongs to another show. It makes sense considering originally the last shot of the family celebrating Luke's sobriety was going to pull the rug out from under the proceedings by showing the Red Room's window in the background, meaning they were all still in the Lotus-Eater Machine, justifying the overall tone. And all that said, many viewers may feel the family deserves the happy ending they got after the hell they experienced.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Trish, the girl that Theo slept with and wants a relationship with her. While the attachment is somewhat understandable, she keeps trying to push herself into Theo's life despite only having had sex once, which comes off as stalker-y and creepy, rather than romantic, and makes Theo seem like she is being a reasonable person that is bothered by someone with little understanding of boundaries. Coming uninvited to Theo's sister's funeral was particularly uncalled for.
  • The Woobie:
    • Olivia Crain. The House drives her mad to the point where she doesn't want her children to leave, ever, and it pushes her into almost killing her twin children, succeeding in only killing Abigail Dudley.
    • Nell Crain is probably the biggest Woobie due to being the most traumatized by the House, her husband is killed by herself as the Bent-Neck Lady, and she herself becomes a ghoul of the House after she's tricked into killing herself.
    • Luke Crain nearly tops his twin sister for how fucked his life is after Hill House, what with his drug problems and being stalked by the Man with Bowler Hat/Mr. Hill.


Example of: