Skip to main content

Why Netflix's Haunting of Hill House is focusing on "family horror"

Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House starts on October 12, and to mark the creepy occasion our sister publication SFX magazine has an interview with showrunner and director Mike Flanagan. In it he explains why the focus of the new series is "family horror," and what that means for the unlucky inhabitants. 

"This was always a show about family, grief and trauma," he tells SFX. "It just happened to be wrapped in the skin of a horror. We talked about things like Six Feet Under – authentic family dramas. To me, it’s more interesting to be in that world and let the horror elements creep into that space than it is to just go for the jolt.”

Flanagan also had very specific ideas about the feel of Hill House. It is the star of the show after all. "We needed it to feel schizophrenic," Flanagan says. "That so many people had lived and died in it, and so many different people had hands in building it over the years."

The crew found a strange building out in the woods in Georgia to be the face of the house, and then worked hard to make the sets for the interior feel just as unsettling. 

"We wanted the house to be full of implied or explicit faces that were always staring at the characters – or the audience,” Flanagan reveals. "Almost all our wallpaper has different facial patterns inside it. They’re in the doorknobs too – some are animals, some human. Then there’s the placement of windows in relation to fireplaces: we laid out eyes and an open mouth in all the rooms. It’s a subconscious thing, but it creates this sense of unease.”

To read more about The Haunting Of Hill House, the new Halloween movie, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina grab the new issue of SFX, out now. Check out a preview of the latest issue.

Buy your iPad version via iTunes

We're also available on Google Play and Zinio, and most digital formats give you a 30-day free trial, so you can try before you buy! For Apple users: click the link and you’ll be directed to SFX's page in the App Store – once there, install the SFX app, or – if you’ve done that already – hit Open to be taken to the SFX storefront.

Order your print copy from My Favourite Magazines

If you live in the UK, use this handy guide to find who's stocking SFX. Live outside the UK, or nowhere near a newsagents? Don't despair! You can order SFX online and have it delivered to your door. Alternatively, why not get the best of both worlds by subscribing? Take advantage of our cut-price digital and print bundles and take SFX wherever you go.

Rachel Weber

I'm the benevolent Queen of the US, or - as they insist I call it - US Managing Editor. I write news, features and reviews, and look after a crack team of writers who all insist on calling trousers "pants" and don't think the phrase fanny pack is problematic.