Why was The Haunting of Hill House snubbed by the Emmys?


When Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House hit the streaming service in October, it was an immediate sensation. Yet, it was not nominated for a single Emmy award this year.

If you take a look at IMDb, 123,000 user reviews score The Haunting of Hill House at an average of 8.7/10. I’d call that an excellent average rating and critics’ reviews were overwhelmingly positive as well.

The series did win many awards: The Bram Stoker Best Screenplay award, Fangoria’s Chainsaw award for Best TV Series, IGN Summer Movie Awards for Best TV Series, Best New TV Series and Best TV Drama, and the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for Best TV Presentation.

And it deserved each and every one of these awards, but there is a slight problem with all of this. The Haunting of Hill House was snubbed by both The Golden Globes and the Emmy Awards.

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I see no reason for this. The series was cast with a mixture of relatively unknown and A-list actors, all of whom gave incredibly layered performances.

Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Annabeth Gish and Timothy Hutton are well-known and respected performers, while the child cast of Lulu Wilson, McKenna Grace, Paxton Singleton, Julian Hilliard and Violet McGraw were uniformly excellent in their diverse roles. There was not an over-the-top performance out of any of them, and that is definitely not the norm with child actors.

The Crain children as adults were played by Kate Siegel, Michiel Huisman, Elizabeth Reiser, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and, in her first role, Victoria Pedretti. Each of them perfectly portrayed the trauma the characters suffered as children living in the very haunted Hill House.

The Haunting of Hill House
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Carla Gugino speaks onstage at the Netflix FYSEE Event for “Haunting of Hill House” at Raleigh Studios on May 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix) /

The classic novel by Shirley Jackson had been adapted twice before for the big screen, but this adaptation was different. The storyline was completely new, yet used elements of the source material to make fans of the book happy. Some of the character names were used, phrases were repeated, and even a few scenes were included.

The cup of stars, the phrases “journeys end in lovers meeting,” and “all alone, in the night, in the dark” were all taken from Jackson’s novel. I love the novel, and I really appreciated the inclusion of so many elements from the book, it felt like a love letter.

The Haunting of Hill House refused to be strictly a ghost story, and that’s what gave it its biggest strength. Sure, it was creepy, but the family dynamics, the Crain family’s history with Hill House, and the family members’ different reactions to the trauma they suffered added a layer of heart to the story.

Discovering who the “Bent-Neck Lady” actually was delivered a gut punch, and my heart just went out to both Luke and Nell, the youngest victims of Hill House.

The Haunting of Hill House - Courtesy Netflix
The Haunting of Hill House – Courtesy Netflix /

The jump scares kept my heart racing (particularly the scene in the car with Theo, Shirley, and Nell…you know the one), and I became obsessed with spotting all of the “hidden ghosts.” If you weren’t terrified for little Luke when the dumbwaiter stopped down in the basement that no one even knew was there, you have no soul.

So, why did the two major awards organizations ignore this series? Short answer (in my opinion): because it’s a horror series. Horror still gets very little respect, despite the existence of critical darlings like Hereditary and The Witch.

It was a huge deal when 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs won five major academy awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay), but the fly in the ointment was the refusal to describe it as “horror” as if that was a stigma.

If The Haunting of Hill House were to be nominated, I would choose to recognize it for the following: Outstanding Writer for a Drama Series: Mike Flanagan, Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Drama Actress: Carla Gugino, Outstanding Drama Supporting Actress: Victoria Pedretti (she ripped my heart out of my chest in nearly every scene she was a part of), Outstanding Supporting Actor: Henry Thomas.

dark. Next. Penny Dreadful casts Hill House alum

Those are my dream nominations, what are yours? What other shows do you feel were snubbed by the Emmys? Let me know in the comments section.

The Haunting of Hill House is currently available to stream on Netflix.