‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ is basically THE Netflix show to watch at the moment, causing a stir on the old interweb for allegedly making people throw up, pass out, faint – all manner of weird reactions to a fictional TV show – and its clever use of hidden ghosts which are scattered throughout various episodes.
It’s gone down so well, in fact, that spook master Stephen King has even given it two thumbs up.
As per IMDb, the horror series is best described as ‘flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.’
That family is the Crains, whose trauma of living in the house as youngsters and how it’s affected them in the present day is what the story centres around.
In total, there are five Crain children, who, as Tumblr user cagedbirdsong has pointed out, represent each of the five stages of grief – an integral theme that weaves throughout the narrative of the story.
For those of you who don’t know, the five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, and cagedbirdsong reckons each of these can be assigned to a specific sibling.
Let’s dive into it a little deeper:
Steve = Denial
Steve is the doubter who constantly refuses to accept the truth about what happened to him during his childhood in Hill House.
Steve is also in denial about Nell’s death, and specifically, that the cause of death could be anything to do with the supernatural.
Shirley = Anger
Shirley is arguably the most volatile of all the siblings, harbouring pain, guilt, and most importantly, anger, about everything that happened to her as a kid.
Not only does she hold a grudge against Steve for deciding to write a book about the events at Hill House, she also holds a degree of anger to Nell for killing herself after what happened to their mother.
Theo = Bargaining
Theo is constantly bargaining for a better outcome for the family with her “power of touch”.
When she realises Nell is dead, she tried to rationalise and work out why she would go back to Hill House in the first place.
Theo is also the most pragmatic and unfeeling of all the siblings, describing to Shirley how she was emotionless after touching Nell’s dead body, even though she was begging to feel again.
Luke = Depression
By nature, Luke is a sensitive and emotional character, which is why Nell’s death affects him the most.
He spirals with depression as he struggles to cope with live without his twin sister, even telling Nell’s ghost “I don’t know how to do this without you.”
He takes her passing the hardest, which coincides with depression being the most difficult stage of grief to get over.
Nell = Acceptance
And that leaves Nell, who also happens to be the last stage of grief: acceptance.
When Nell returns to Hill House before her death, she arrives at a point where she accepts her fate and welcomes the prospect of being reunited with her mother.
She is able to ultimately move past her grief by embracing her destiny, telling her siblings when she sees them in the Red Room:
“I loved you completely. And you loved me the same. That’s all. The rest is confetti.”
Pretty convincing, right?
But the craziness doesn’t even stop there.
As Tumblr user shelbobaggins adds, all the stages of grief are in the exact same order as how the children were born:
Yep, that checks out; Steve (Denial), Shirley (Anger), Theo (Bargaining), Luke (Depression) and Nell (Acceptance) are all born in the same order as the stage of grief they supposedly symbolise.
You have to say that’s a pretty nuanced, and incredible, plot point if true, and one that is genuinely difficult to argue against.
I guess it just proves why horror, and specifically The Haunting Of Hill House, is so immensely popular at the moment.
Images via Tumblr/Netflix/GIPHY