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Top 10 Scariest The Haunting of Hill House Moments

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating
Whatever walks there … scares the heck out of us. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest “The Haunting of Hill House” Moments. For this list, we’ll be looking at the scenes from this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel that chilled us, thrilled us, and filled us with dread. A few spoilers - and ghosts - ahead.
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Top 10 Scariest “The Haunting of Hill House” Moments

Whatever walks there … scares the heck out of us. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest “The Haunting of Hill House” Moments.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the scenes from this adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel that chilled us, thrilled us, and filled us with dread. A few spoilers - and ghosts - ahead.

#10: Double Storm
“Two Storms”


It’s a tale of two storms, as the episode alternates between Nell’s wake in the present, and the family’s search for little Nell in the past. With thunder and lightning shaking the house, Olivia strikes off alone to find her daughter. In one room, she encounters an old lady sitting on a bed, staring silently back at her. Door number two isn’t any better . . . revealing a boy in a wheelchair just waiting for her to open it. More effective than cheap jump-scares, moments like these are what make the show so unnerving.

#9: Back from the Grave
“Eulogy”


This scary moment is presaged at the graveside, when Luke sees the ghosts of his twin sister and mother. Too bad that no one ever believes poor Luke. After the funeral, Theo and Hugh follow a trail of dirt to Shirley's office. As they clean up, Olivia’s ghostly corpse of suddenly crawls out from under the desk, reaching for her daughter. It's a quick but effective scare, and since Theo and her father both see the same thing, there’s no more pretending that it’s all in her head.

#8: Hidden Ghosts
Various Episodes


Even before the Crains realize something is up, eagle-eyed viewers can confirm that Hill House is definitely haunted. Throughout the series, ghosts peek out from dark hiding places in the background. You might not always notice them, but when you do, it’s a jolt. Examples include this sinister ghost waiting behind the ladder in the basement … and this one peeking around the corner as Hugh inspects mold damage. Here’s another in the hall as Olivia leaves the house. They always seem to be watching, adding a subconscious level of foreboding and terror. Oh, and it’s not just the ghosts . . . Keep an eye on those statues!

#7: Trick or Treat
“Witness Marks”


Following Nell’s funeral, Shirley just wants to remain alone at the funeral parlor and clean up. Although it’s Halloween, trick-or-treaters are the last thing on her mind. So when the doorbell rings, she tries to ignore it . . . but the ringing and knocking just keeps going. When Theo shows up, Shirley insists it’s just kids playing a prank - until the sounds become too much to rationally explain. The moment mirrors the scene in episode two when as girls they heard knocking all over the walls. Turns out you can never really leave the past behind.

#6: Flight from Hill House
“Steve Sees a Ghost”


In the opening episode, oldest son Steve is awakened by his panicked father, who tells him they have to flee the house. Just then, as they watch in silent terror, the doorknob slowly starts to turn . . . When the coast is clear, Hugh tells Steve to close his eyes . . . but as they make a break for it, Steve can’t help but look, and catches sight of his mother - or at least something that looks like his mother - in shambling pursuit. The confusion and guilt this leaves inside him sets the tone for the rest of the show’s dark events.

#5: Nell Pays Steve a Visit
“Steve Sees a Ghost”


Steve isn’t having a great night. Back from an assignment, he finds his brother Luke robbing him, and that his sister Nell has broken into his apartment and done nothing to stop it. But it turns out she has a good reason for acting strange. When Steve talks to his dad on the phone, he’s told that Nell has actually killed herself. He turns around to realize that the woman in his house is a ghost. The chilling moment shows viewers right away that in this ghost story, things are often far from what they seem.

#4: Mr. Smiley
“Touch”


As a child psychologist, adult Theodora helps kids deal with serious traumas, in spite of the fact that she still struggles with her own. After one patient tells her about Mr. Smiley, a scary entity that lives in the basement of her foster home, Theo wakes up in the middle of the night to see Mr. Smiley at the end of the bed. Not only is Mr. Smiley a terrifying figure, the circumstances of his appearances are also devastating. Turns out, Mr. Smiley is the coping mechanism that her patient made up to deal with the fact she’s being abused by her foster father.

#3: Dumbwaiter Descent
“Touch”


Playing in an old dumbwaiter - what could possibly go wrong? As a boy, Luke asks Theo to send him upstairs in the dumbwaiter, but he finds himself descending instead, all the way to a cellar filled with old barrels, dust, and rats. As Theo struggles to get the machine working again, Luke’s flashlight starts to flicker, and in its dying light, a ghost scrambles straight for him. It’s a terrifying, claustrophobic scene, made even worse by the fact that no one believes his story, despite the rips in his shirt.

#2: The Gentleman Giant
“The Twin Thing”


Hearing something in the night, young Luke looks out in the corridor . . . only to see a disproportionately tall ghost hovering through the hall, knocking the floor with a cane as it tries door after door. Luke hides under his bed just as the spectre enters his room. It looks around for a moment, then retrieves the bowler hat that Luke had been wearing. Luke tries to his best to hold his breath, but at the last second lets out a gasp. It’s a tense, nightmarish scene that left us feeling like scared little kids again.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Mom at the Morgue
"Open Casket"

Pregnant with Darkness
“Silence Lay Steadily"

#1:The Bent-Neck Lady’s Origin Revealed
"The Bent-Neck Lady"


As a girl, the ghost that terrified Nell the most was the Bent-Neck Lady. While the rest of her family seems to have escaped the horrors of Hill House, as an adult she begins to see the figure again. Terrorized, she decides that she needs to return to Hill House and prove there’s nothing to be frightened of. But back at the house the boundaries between what’s real and what’s not begin to blur . . . It turns out there’s a lot to be frightened of. The Bent-Neck Lady was a scary enough character on its own, but the reveal of this ghost’s real nature is truly horrifying.
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