Skip To Content
    Oct 23, 2019

    29 "Haunting Of Hill House" Facts You Probably Didn't Know, But 100% Should

    Several extras dressed as ghosts were on standby every day so that they could be added into the background of scenes at any moment.

    The Haunting of Hill House just released the director's extended cut on DVD and it was filled with some amazing behind-the-scenes secrets. Here's everything we learned:

    Netflix

    🚨Obviously MASSIVE spoilers ahead!🚨

    1. First, when creator and director Mike Flanagan was originally approached about adapting The Haunting of Hill House, he wasn't sure how they could stretch out the story into a TV series.

    Netflix

    Flanagan thought the original source material worked perfectly as a feature film.

    2. Flanagan realized he could make the story into a series by starting with the Crains' escape from Hill House and making the show about the family.

    Netflix

    "We see what happens when a family lives in a haunted house, which is always building up to their escape," he said. "What if we started there? What if we saw the escape in the pilot and the meat of the show was about the aftermath? Even decades later, what being a child in a haunted house could do to a person, or to a family."

    3. One of the scenes Flanagan used to pitch The Haunting of Hill House was the moment when the Bent-Neck Lady leans over young Nell.

    Netflix

    Also, this scene was originally first going to appear in Episode 5, not Episode 1.

    4. Also, the scene features Victoria Pedretti, who played adult Nell, as the Bent-Neck Lady — they painted her a very dark shade of blue so viewers wouldn't be able to tell it was her.

    Netflix

    Flanagan joked that Victoria "looked like an evil Smurf."

    5. Steven Crain was named after Steven Spielberg, who produced The Haunting movie and whose production company coproduced the TV series.

    Netflix

    Flanagan said that Steven's love for The Haunting of Hill House story was "one of the reasons I was brought in at all to pitch for it."

    6. Also, the first actor cast for the show was Michiel Huisman as adult Steven.

    Netflix

    Because Michiel was the first person cast, the rest of the casting was based off of what he looked like.

    7. Steven's first scene was based off of one of Flanagan's favorite character introductions of all time: Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blain in Casablanca.

    Netflix / Warner Bros.

    Both scenes include seeing the character's hands before panning up to their faces.

    8. Victoria Pedretti sent in a self-tape for the role of Nell — she had never booked an acting job before Hill House and she didn't even have a headshot.

    Netflix

    Flanagan recalled watching Victoria's tape, saying, "A minute into her self-tape I knew she was Nell and that she was a star."

    9. Flanagan said casting his IRL wife Kate Siegel as Theo was important to him — "I love working with Kate on and off-screen. The collaboration of my life, right there."

    Netflix

    10. In "Steven Sees a Ghost," the scene where Hugh gets back into bed with Olivia was originally much longer — they talked about parenthood and their children.

    Netflix

    For a long time, Flanagan fought for the extended version of the scene to make it into the final cut.

    11. Several extras dressed as ghosts were on standby every day so that they could be added into the background of scenes at any moment.

    Netflix

    Having hidden ghosts in the series was also part of Flanagan's original pitch for Hill House.

    12. In the early versions of the pilot, it wasn't revealed that all of the characters were siblings until they woke up at the same time.

    Netflix

    13. In "The Bent-Neck Lady," the ghost that appears over Olivia's shoulder was played by Bruce Greenwood, who starred opposite Carla Gugino in Flanagan's movie Gerald's Game.

    Netflix

    14. Before production began, Flanagan knew he wanted "Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin to play during Nell's love-story montage and then when she returns to Hill House — in fact, the entire episode was built around the idea of Nell dancing to the song in Hill House.

    Netflix

    The other song he was adamant about having was "If I Go I'm Goin'" by Gregory Alan Isakov. The song plays during the final moments of the season finale.

    15. One of the main musical themes in Hill House was actually composed at the piano on set during a lunch break.

    Netflix

    16. In "The Bent-Neck Lady," Steven's book reading was filmed on the same set as Shirley's funeral home — Steven is standing where Nell's coffin would be.

    Netflix

    17. In fact, when Nell stands up at the book reading, she's standing in the same spot as the Bent-Neck Lady in the funeral home later on.

    Netflix

    18. "Two Storms" was inspired by "The Body" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Netflix / Warner Bros.

    19. Every time the doorbell of the funeral home rings in "Two Storms" it was Flanagan ringing it remotely.

    Netflix

    20. Since "Two Storms" consisted of only five long takes it was rare that they stopped and started over. So some tiny mistakes are in the final product, like when Hugh accidentally steps on a flashlight.

    Netflix

    "The DP and I would watch these shots go and when a moment like that, when Henry [Thomas] stepped on that flashlight, would go by, we would look at each other and kind of have the emperor from Gladiator moment, 'thumbs up, thumbs down,' to see if we keep going or abort the shot," Flanagan said.

    21. One of the trickiest shots to film was when the camera moves from young Nell and Theo holding hands to the rest of the Crain family.

    Netflix

    Flanagan explained that Nell and Theo had to run out of the way and then come back and hold hands behind the camera in order to get the continuous shot.

    22. When adult Hugh takes a pause and looks to the back of the funeral parlor, it was actually Timothy Hutton forgetting his line and looking toward Flanagan.

    Netflix

    Flanagan said that the pause ended up working perfectly for the scene because "it looks like he’s just taking a moment and kind of looking back at Theo and reflecting on where he is."

    23. Hours before filming "Two Storms," Kate Siegel found out she was pregnant, so the moment when Theo falls off the couch and hits her head was "incredibly stressful" for Flanagan.

    Netflix

    The couple ended up naming their daughter Theodora, after Theo Crain.

    24. There was initially a discussion about whether or not to burn down Hill House during the finale.

    Netflix

    Flanagan said, "We ultimately came to the conclusion of, 'Who are we to burn down Hill House?'"

    25. In "Silence Lay Steadily," Leigh is reading Doctor Sleep in the living room — Flanagan found out days before filming the finale that he would be adapting the book into a movie.

    Netflix

    26. The funeral director who walks Shirley to see herself in the coffin is Mike Flanagan's brother, James Flanagan.

    Netflix

    27. Olivia wearing a bowler hat is a "not-so-subtle" nod to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange.

    Netflix

    28. There is only one word in Hill House that was done in ADR after filming wrapped — it was when Joey comes up behind Luke and says, "Hey."

    Netflix

    29. And finally, Steven's final speech was one of the first things Flanagan wrote for The Haunting of Hill House — in fact, he wrote it before he wrote the pilot.

    Netflix

    Also, there were theories that the Crain children never left the Red Room at the end, but Flanagan said seeing them all happy was "very real." He felt like the Crain family "earned" a happy ending.