Mike Flanagan’s been a well-known horror director for years, but 2018’s Haunting of Hill House series for Netflix arguably put him in the spotlight. After following that up with Haunting of Bly Manor two years later, Flanagan’s been busy with other series for the streamer like last year’s The Midnight Club and more recently The Fall of the House of Usher. That last one may end up being the last we get from him, Netflix-wise, as he’s now moving over to Amazon to spearhead a TV show for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.
But as busy as his schedule was and still is, Flanagan planned to return to the series that made him a household horror name. In the new limited edition of Richard Matheson’s 1971 novel Hell House, the filmmaker wrote a foreword revealing that Haunting was going to live past Bly Manor. He and Netflix had “much talk” about how to continue the anthology series, and that his plan was for season three to be The Haunting of Hell House. This was his initially what he wanted to do for season two, but rights issues prevented that from happening.
Why Hell House? Flanagan holds great appreciation for it, praising Matheson’s “flair for cinematic set pieces, audience expectations, and visceral thrills that eluded many of his literary predecessors. I don’t know that there has ever been a haunted house story as downright cinematic as Hell House. […] Stephen King is correct when he says: ‘Without his I Am Legend, there would have been no Night of the Living Dead.’ Without Hell House, I’d argue that there would be no Poltergeist, no The Conjuring, no Insidious.”
For those who haven’t read it, Hell House centered on a quartet of strangers brought to Belasco House, which has been abandoned for twenty years. While the house has a reputation for being cursed and previous attempts to find out its secrets have seen people wind up dead, this new group can’t help but try to discover why it’s been given its titular moniker. The book has received strong praise, with many calling it one of the scariest novels ever. Two years after release, it received a film adaptation called The Legend of Hell House written by Matheson himself and starring Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowell. And in 2008, Ian Edginton and Simon Fraser adapted it as a comic book miniseries for IDW.
If you want the new limited edition from Suntup Edition, you can pre-order the remaining stock here ahead of its eventual release in 2024. And maybe in the next few years, Flanagan will find time to do a film adaptation of Hell House in between TV projects?
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