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The Haunting of Hill House Has One Of The Best Portrayals Of Sleep Paralysis


So, I binged on The Haunting of Hill House last night. Yup I wanted to see for myself it it’s as good as everyone said it is, and I must say… The Netflix horror series didn’t disappoint.

Created by Mike Flanagan, The Haunting Of Hill House is loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. It stars Michiel Huisman, Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino, Elizabeth Reaser, Oliver Jackson – Cohen, Timothy Hutton, Kate Siegel and McKenna Grace among others and yeah, it’s scary and amazing at the same time. I highly recommend it.

In fact… Several things were instantly noticeable throughout the series. The great set design, the amazing ensemble cast, the brilliant direction (especially in episode 6) and the accurate portrayal of sleep paralysis. Dead on accurate.

That proved to be true in episode 5 of the series called “The Bent-Neck Lady”. The episode centers on Nellie Crain (played by Victoria Pedretti). Years after leaving the Hill House she’s still haunted by the The Bent-Neck Lady. A scary monster that terrified her when she was a child and even now as an adult. She’s seeking professional help, both from a psychologist and from a sleep technician but to no avail.

The terror from the The Bent-Neck Lady will persist in her late 20’s and will be the reason for her untimely death (spoiler), but that’s not the point of my post. As somebody who’s experienced sleep paralysis I can adamantly say that the portrayal on the Netflix TV show is the most accurate I’ve ever seen by far.

My first and so far last Sleep Paralysis happened last year. Much like in Nellie’s case, I was awake in the middle of the night and I thought I saw a big dark monster in front of me. I couldn’t move a muscle but I remember screaming Martin Martin Martin to my sleeping partner lying next to me.

That episode lasted about 2 minutes and it was as terrifying as you can imagine, despite realizing later that the „monster“ I was seeing in the middle of the night, was the coat-hanger in our bedroom. And flash forward to yesterday (seeing it with Nellie once again) I was basically re-living that horrible experience once again.

Now, if you take a quick Google search, you’ll notice that there is no universal way of experiencing sleep paralysis. Unlike Nellie, I could talk (and scream) while I was in the middle of the paralysis, but some can’t move a finger, while others experience auditory hallucinations and so on.

I really loved The Haunting of Hill House and I was particularly moved by the accuracy of sleep paralysis even for a TV series that has the word supernatural in its description. You did good.


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