If you hungrily gobbled up the entirety of The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix's supernatural series created by Mike Flanagan, and you already buried your face in the Shirley Jackson novel that inspired the show, you might be craving even more horror narratives in the "quiet" or Gothic tradition. But where to start? There are probably thousands of titles that fit within this horror subgenre, so it's important to know which ones will immediately appeal to the sensibilities crafted by Jackson and modernized by Flanagan.
We present to you these 15 works of fiction that share both plot and thematic similarities with Hill House. Use this as a quick guide for your to-read pile, or, if you've already consumed these books, let us know which ones are comparable by voting them up. And if you're too spooked out by the books below, you should absolutely check out these shows like The Haunting of Hill House.
- Photo: Tor Books18416
Richard Matheson's Hell House feels almost like a remake of Shirley Jackson's classic, in that it concerns four investigators entering a notoriously haunted abode, the Belasco House, in the hopes of proving the existence of life after death.
Fans of the series will enjoy the Belasco's sinister ability to prey upon the weaknesses of those staying within its walls, just as the Red Room lures the Crain family.
- Photo: Doubleday211037
Stephen King's famous novel owes much to Shirley Jackson's Hill House (as do most haunting narratives, for that matter). Among many other elements, The Shining features a psychic character, Danny Torrance, entering a ghost-infested building (here the Overlook Hotel, a fictionalized version of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO). And just like Theo, Danny experiences supernatural phenomena with way more umph than anyone else in his family - save, perhaps, his father, Jack, upon whose weaknesses the ghosts of the Overlook prey.
If you thought Hugh Crain had it rough in the series, wait until you see what the old hotel has in store for poor Jack.
- Photo: Penguin Classics
While the TV series is a reworking of Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel of the same name, fans of the show will no doubt connect with the author's final work, especially its depiction of twisted familial relations and the resultant trauma.
Most critics agree Hill House is a classic, but many believe We Have Always Lived In The Castle to be Jackson's masterpiece.
- Photo: Vintage44215
With Hill House, series writer/director Mike Flanagan relies on minimal gore and violence, preferring to terrify his audience with well-placed jump scares, haunting imagery, and psychological dread. This "quiet" approach to horror can be traced back to the Victorian Gothic era of fiction, a movement that produced works like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe's short stories, and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
This movement also influenced Shirley Jackson's novel, which in turn had an impact on most of the great fictional horror works, including Toni Morrison's Pulitzer-winning novel Beloved. The story follows a former slave tormented not only by spirits but by the haunting echoes of slavery. It's hands-down one of the most beautiful horror novels ever written.