August 3, 2021

The ghosts of Shirley Jackson, following the steps of the dystopias of Margaret Atwood | TV

The ghosts of Shirley Jackson, following the steps of the dystopias of Margaret Atwood | TV


In the fifties of the last century, Shirley Jackson, future Mother of Contemporary Terror Literature – think of Stephen King and be thinking of one of his illustrious children, literary – was already a small celebrity. The lottery, the macabre story that provoked the wrath of hundreds of thousands of readers of the New Yorker, had been published in 1948, giving a macabre turn to its peculiar fiction of domestic chaos (fiction of domestic chaos), and allowing you to settle on top of supernatural literature. A peak that only lovers of the genre had been able to see. Until now.

The television success of The Handmaid's Tale (The story of the maid), the classic of Margaret Atwood (writer from which she has also adapted Alias ​​Grace and an adaptation of the trilogy is prepared MaddAddam) that was published in 1985 and was inspired by the writer's clandestine visits to East Berlin, has put producers and platforms behind the track of other classics likely to become small phenomena, and here The Curse of Hill House, the most admired of Jackson's books, could become one. Published in 1959 and considered the best novel about haunted houses ever written, The Curse of Hill House Follow the steps of a small group of ghost hunters who go to a damn house, huge, labyrinthine, monstrous, with the intention of catching the spirits that supposedly inhabit it since time immemorial.

Jackson, who was born in San Francisco in 1916 and to whom a fatal cocktail of amphetamines and soothing, hundreds of thousands of cigarettes, an unstoppable overweight and who knows if the shifting sands of a frustrating career as a housewife – she was always self-conscious because her husband, who saw it normal for them to take care of all the household chores and the four children, was slightly younger than her – took to the grave with only 48 years old, in 1965 with the story in one of the hundreds of books on occultism that crowded his library. Specifically, in one starring a group of psychic researchers who rented a supposed haunted house to try to find the ghost that was there. charming. The rest, as they say, is history. And one that is about to repeat itself. Only this time it will be written by Mike Flanagan.

A scene from 'The Curse of Hill House'.
A scene from 'The Curse of Hill House'.

Netflix has released this October 12 the first television adaptation of the classic of Jackson, who had a very faithful film version, directed by the British Robert Wise, back in 1963. A miniseries starring Carla Gugino (The Game of Gerald) and Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) that substitutes the psychic investigators for the children of a family that is not like the others because he lived in the cursed house. Become insomniac adults and, also, in their own way, cursed, they must return to the house to face once and for all to whatever is in there. Flanagan, codename of television terror and not only television (Absentia, The Game of Gerald), brings to his land, quite classic and gimmicky, Jackson's gothic madness.

But not only Jackson's work will come back. So will Jackson herself, played by Elisabeth Moss (protagonist of The Handmaid's Tale). It is not another series, but a movie, a thriller indie based on a novel by Susan Scarf Merrell, who imagines a young couple of writers sharing an apartment with the couple formed by Jackson and the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman. At the controls, the screenwriter of I Love Dick, Sarah Gubbins, and the young director Josephine Decker. The movie will be titled simply Shirley. The infernal day to day of the writer will be, then, too, very soon, back.

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