I’m finding it hard to hang up my Halloween hat and move on this year. It’s been such an awesome month. November will be just as cool – it’s birthday month! – but I don’t want to turn my back on spooky things just yet.
It’s no secret that this girl (me) loves TV. Sue me. I particularly love good television to enjoy during the darker evenings and luckily for me, Netflix has delivered another interesting prospect in the shape of this Gothic beauty.
The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. Based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
I love this show so much. It’s genuinely one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been frantically messaging my friend Matt throughout to compare notes – I think that’s made me love it even more.
While it focuses on the Crain family and their experiences at Hill House, it flits between past and present day, giving us an insight into the effect everything has had on its troubled members. Dad Hugh has a deeply damaged relationship with his children Nell, Shirley, Luke, Theodora and Steve. Their sense of distrust and anger toward him stems from the dramatic night they all fled the house in the middle of the night. The same night they lost their beloved mother Olivia.
Each has their own demon and as we find out, is haunted by different things. Nell (Victoria Pedretti) has grown up haunted by the continuous appearance of the bent neck lady. Her twin brother Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) sees a tall man in a bowler hat and has a history of substance abuse brought on no doubt by his experiences.
Theodora, Shirley and Steve each have their own cross to bear too. Eldest brother Steve (Michiel Huisman) has cashed in on their childhood by writing a book about Hill House and enjoyed medium success as a writer. This has set him apart from his siblings, particularly Shirley who refuses to take his ‘blood money’ and resents him exploiting the others’ experiences.
As the show progresses we get all the answers we need about what precisely happened at Hill House and to Olivia Crain (Carla Gugino), who we visit in flashbacks and also see from time to time in present day.
I’m not going to spend any more time on the narrative because I want everyone to watch this and love it as much as I do. It’s tinged with so much sadness and grief but it’s beautifully paced, genuinely frightening in places and perhaps most importantly, gives us well-rounded, flawed characters to fall in love with.
While the whole concept of the haunted house is not a new one, the way this series looks at PTSD, addiction and fractious familial relationships makes it feel really rich and satisfying. As the last episode wrapped up, I cried like a baby. It’s so beautiful with an amazing cast.
Get on it ASAP.
What are you watching?
UGH. I’m completely obsessed with this woman – and now, this show. I woke up early (ish) this morning and have mainlined a handful of episodes in one sitting, while supping tea and being thankful for no work for another day.
This is my favourite month hands down and it’s because of little gems like this.
Inside the cooking lab of Christine McConnell, who has attracted hundreds of thousands of social media followers with her creepy edible creations.
Christine McConnell is a very clever woman (model, actress, baker and photographer), making unbelievably detailed baked goods and dishes with a heavy Gothic edge. Spiders, monsters, Ouija boards and eyeballs all feature heavily but really there is no limit to her imagination or skill.
While I suppose this is technically a baking show, it doesn’t stop there. Produced by The Jim Henson Company, Christine is joined by a band of weird and wonderful creatures who terrorise the neighbourhood with their beastly goings on – so it’s part Sabrina the Teenage Witch (particularly Rankle the Sphynx cat who’s been to Salem Acting School), part sitcom, part cookery show.
And it’s all brilliant.
Dita Von Teese even joins Christine as Vivian the enchanted mirror – and it’s so camp I just love every minute. So far (in the handful of episodes I’ve wolfed down as I type this), Christine has built a biscuit replica of her own creepy mansion, made chocolate chip eyeball cookies, peanut butter and white chocolate bones, constructed an entire tea set out of dark chocolate – and even made a chicken-shaped chicken pot pie.
All this while looking like a Queen and she still has time to romance Norman, the man she met at her grandmother’s graveside (is there more to Norman that meets the eye, I wonder? Of course there is!). While Christine’s creations are definitely inspiring, the show seems to be aware that not very many people would have the time or inclination to whip up their own so it doesn’t spend too much time going in on the recipes – it’s directive but doesn’t pretend that the whole process is easy or quick.
At one point Christine puts the biscuit mansion in the ‘chiller’ and I had to lament my lack of fridge space at home. A couple of jars of pickled onions and ours is packed. No room for a giant cake/and or an octopus called Millie, sadly.
I would say, even if you’re not into cookery shows (and I’m not really), there might be something here for you. Christine also makes candles and decorative pieces for the home and in one episode, even gives us a brief sewing lesson.
She rocks a lovely vintage look and is one of those women I absolutely admire, the ones who never seem to succumb to a jogging bottom or bedhead (there’s one of them in my office). It’s a total and utter dedication to her brand that I could never achieve but wish I could. She’s very cool and even though it’s all so tongue in cheek, the Tim Burton-lover in me adores the dark tones.
At one point, Christine’s live-in companions Rose (raccoon), Rankle (cat) and Edgar (beast) kidnap and plot to murder their busy body neighbour, until Christine opts to kill him with kindness (and cocoa) instead.
I just want to watch this for the rest of the day (and my life) and eat candy-hued goods while I do it. Cancel all my meetings. Check it out for yourself on UK Netflix now.
You can follow Christine on Instagram here.
What are you watching?
Since we’re about to enter the best month of all, I’m currently planning my #blogtober2018 posts, as well as this year’s 31 Horrors (see 2017’s here). Even though I’ll be in Copenhagen for a small period at the beginning, I’m aiming to watch a horror movie for every day of October, just like last year. I’ve even got a list pre-prepared, check me out!
Anyway, I aim to fill my Blogtober with all of my favourite spooky things, creepy books, horror films and Autumn flavoured posts – who knows where the month will lead us? All I know is that it’s the best and I can’t wait.
Out the way September…
Man, I love Halloween (and yes, I am finding it hard to let go). Not least because I get to indulge my passion for horror movies in a more unabashed way.
This October I made a deal with myself that I’d watch 31 horror movies in 31 days – and here’s the list (including my ratings).
- Last Girl Standing (2015) – 3/5
- Under the Shadow (2016) – 4/5
- Gerald’s Game (2017) – 5/5
- Boys in the Trees (2016) – 3.5/5
- Session 9 (2001) – 4/5
- The Void (2016) – 3/5
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – 3.5/5
- Better Watch Out (2016) – 4/5
- Cult of Chucky (2017) – 3.5/5
- Exhibit A (2007) – 2.5/5
- The Atticus Institute (2015) – 4/5
- The Black Room (2016) – 0.5/5
- Friday the 13th (1980) – 3/5
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – 5/5
- A Dark Song (2016) – 4.5/5
- Long Pigs (2007) – 3.5/5
- Creep (2014) – 5/5
- The Sacrament (2013) – 4.5/5
- The Den (2013) – 3/5
- The Innkeepers (2011) – 4/5
- Creepshow (1982) – 3/5
- Two Evil Eyes (1990) – 4/5
- Killing Ground (2016) – 3.5/5
- 1922 (2017) – 3/5
- Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1972) – 3/5
- Carrie (1976) – 4/5
- The Visit (2015) – 3.5/5
- Trick r’ Treat (2007) – 4/5
- Digging Up the Marrow (2014) – 3.5/5
- Creep 2 (2017) – 4/5
- Tales of Halloween (2015) – 3.5/5