haunting of hill house episode 6

Almost everyone seems to love Netflix’s spooky series The Haunting of Hill House, and rightfully so. There’s a lot to praise, from Mike Flanagan‘s skilled direction, to the great performances from an impressive cast. And there’s one episode in particular that viewers can’t stop talking about: episode 6, “Two Storms.” The episode packs an emotional punch, but more than that, it’s something of a technical marvel, with much of it assembled to look like one continuous, traveling shot. Below, a featurette reveals how The Haunting of Hill House episode 6 was put together.

The Haunting of Hill House Episode 6

I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, on the chance you haven’t watched The Haunting of Hill House. Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s iconic novel blends the past with the present, jumping back and forth in time. No episode does this better than episode 6, “Two Storms.” Here, Flanagan keeps the camera constantly moving, as characters walk down halls in the present only to end up in the past. Here’s the spoiler-free set-up: in the present, the Crain family have gathered at a funeral home for a wake. A violent storm breaks out, causing a power outage. As the family stumbles around in the dark, we follow them, watching as scenes from the past – when the family was younger and living in the haunted Hill House – collide with scenes in the present. While it’s not really filmed in one take, director Mike Flanagan attempted to give the episode that appearance.

As a result, creating episode 6 took a lot of work. As this featurette reveals, the filmmakers would go through 18-page scenes without cuts, and spend several days just to set up specific shots. Flanagan comments that every single shot was “the product of hundreds of people executing hundreds of tasks.” In an interview with Vulture, Flanagan elaborated on the tricky episode:

“That episode was part of our original pitch to Netflix. I’d said I wanted to do an episode that appeared to be executed in a single take. The reality of what that entailed didn’t become clear until we started rehearsing the episode. We shut down the company for over a month to choreograph and rehearse each of our five long takes. The longest was 17 minutes. There was no room for error at all, and if we made a mistake, we had to start over. We rehearsed for almost a month with our second team stand-ins before we even folded the cast into the process. By then, we had already filmed the entire episode with stand-ins and rehearsed the camera moves. When the cast arrived, I showed them the shots and said, “This is what we have to do.” It was the single hardest thing any of us on the crew had ever attempted, and it almost killed us.”

This may make episode 6 sound gimmicky, but it doesn’t come across that way as you’re watching it. Instead, you’re full immersed within the story being told, and wrapped-up in the emotional elements on display, as well as all the creepy stuff. It’s magnificent, and one of the best television episodes you’re likely to watch all year.

Watching this featurette makes me wish Netflix would make, and upload, more special features for their original shows. The streaming service doesn’t often release their original content on Blu-ray, so the next best thing would be to provide special features to stream. Alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and we’ll have to make due with short YouTube featurettes like this for now.

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