The Haunting Of Hill House “Open Casket”

OK, so, we saw what made Steven maybe tick for the first episode as he finally came face-to-face with a ghost.  What about one of his siblings?

That’s as good a question to ask as anything.

So, if Steven Crain is a skeptic who finds scientific evidence for every purported haunting he investigates, what’s his sister Shirley’s deal?  She works as an undertaker with her husband Kevin with two kids of her own, and she’s, well, a control freak from the looks of things.  She gets very suspicious when she discovers a secret checkbook for a private account in her husband’s things, and then gives her son a blank mask to decorate for Halloween rather than get him the Daredevil mask he wanted, preventing some much-needed Netflix product placement.  Shirley is the one who told addict brother Luke not to attend Nell’s wedding when he showed up claiming to be clean and she didn’t believe him.

So, here’s a quick question:  what’s the healthiest way to respond to the news your sister killed herself in Shirley’s position?

I don’t know, but pretty much everyone agrees she shouldn’t be prepping the body for an open casket herself.  Both Steven and his estranged wife think that’s nuts.

But hey, this show has flashbacks.  What did Shirley experience in the house as a kid?

Well, one day while out playing in a toolshed, she found some newborn kittens in a box that seemed to have been abandoned by their mother.  She begged Hugh to let her take them home to care for them because otherwise “the dogs” might get them.  The house’s caretaker Mr. Dudley seems a bit bemused by mention of dogs.  Are there any actual, living dogs around here?

The problem is the kittens all eventually died.  One died first and Shirley was encouraged to give it a burial and maybe say something by her parents.  Olivia even made a small box to bury the kitten in.  But when Shirley takes a last look at the dead cat, it seems to be breathing.  Picking it up, she is soon scared by the fact the kitten was still dead, and there was a large bug in its throat that crawled out and made it look like the kitten was breathing.

And then when the other kittens died, one Shirley picked up had its eyes pop open and be all white and scary.

This house sucks.

And in one of the more ironic arguments in the series, Olivia had taken one dead kitten away to give the illusion that one had lived, but that didn’t fool anyone, causing her to rant at Hugh about how Shirley’s first experience with death to be in that house involving some sick kittens…you know, like this is the only experience with death anyone will have in this house.

But then later, we see Shirley was impressed by the job an undertaker did for Olivia after Olivia had committed suicide, and that seems to have led to her adult career.

So, naturally, as she preps Nell for burial, creepy stuff happens like a bug crawls out of Nell’s mouth and Shirley thinks she sees Olivia holding another kitten coffin in a dark room.

It’s a wonder they aren’t all drug addicts at this rate.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: