Minor spoiler alert: the new hit horror series on Netflix, The Haunting of Hill House, does not end with much promise of a season 2. Director Mike Flanagan is, obviously, a much more creative person than I. So we can’t completely discount the possibility that where they go next is simply straight back to Hill House and the Crain family. In fact, a Screen Rant article even quotes Flanagan as saying the ending of season one actually sets up season two.
I am willing and excited to entertain the thought of a second season. Without spoiling too much, one closing shots includes a multitude of Hill House ghosts we never get to meet. And some of the buttons on family plot lines feel almost too tidy. Even with the events of episode ten, I find it almost hard to believe the house would let (some) of the Crains go without more of a fight.
But, with that said, a much larger part of me feels like I just consumed a complete story. In fact, the cynic in me is very concerned trying to push forward with more story would lead to an unraveling of the tight plot lines I so enjoyed (however sappily ever after some of them ended). So we have an idea as to where this should all go.
Fun With Theories Time
The formula which has worked, to some extent, for horror series is the anthology. American Horror Story does it (meh). Channel Zero does it (much, much, much better). There is a very interesting open red door for this possibility with The Haunting of Hill House. What if … just playing what if … just spitballin’ here … what if instead of forcing the story to continue within the same confines, Netflix allowed Mike Flanagan to broaden his horizons a bit. What if what we get in the coming seasons are anthologized stories within the same general world. Specifically, a world crafted by Shirley Jackson.
While Jackson may not be quite as prolific as Stephen King, there are some Castle Rock possibilities here. And with Mike Flanagan as a singular voice driving the stories, we could see wildly original development, clever crossovers, and loyal nods to one of the early masters of horror fiction. Just stick with me long enough to consider the source material:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Jackson’s final novel, published only a few years before her death, tells the story of two sisters who survive the murder of their family only to be suspected and ridiculed by townspeople. You’ve got family drama: check. You’ve got a creepy house: check. And you’ve got a typically shocking Shirley Jackson ending: check. There is plenty of room for Flanagan to play. And he would have numerous creative ways to connect the two worlds.
Jackson’s second novel is based on the real-life disappearance of a college sophomore from Jackson’s hometown. Although there are fewer supernatural elements, there is more than enough base material to shift from family drama into the more intimate troubled mind of a single person.
Released only a year before Hill House, The Sundial is about the Halloran House. There are ghosts and murder and family drama. In fact, the only knock on this one is that it may actually be too similar to the version of The Haunting of Hill House Flanagan created. One could even claim Flanagan was already pulling from The Sundial for added influences in season one. If there is any truth to that, then this whole idea gets much, much less crazy.
The Lottery and Other Stories
I’m quite certain this is the first thing popping into most heads when Shirley Jackson comes up. And, make no mistake, seeing what Flanagan could do with “The Lottery” is a fun thought. But there are other sources of material here. As an example, check out the short story “Charles” sometime. Most people read it as the story of a boy who invents a persona to absorb tales of his own misbehavior at school. BUT … how-f**king-ever … there are some readers who see it as a ghost story about a ghost child. I’ll give you one guess as to how I think Mike Flanagan would adapt it.
Will any of these ideas come to pass? Most likely not. Nevertheless, it’s fun to think about possibilities of a creative director with his hands on some classic horror material.
What are your thoughts? Hit the comments and let us know!