For horror fans, the thrill of watching a fantastic film or TV series isn’t usually coupled with hopes for the project to win any prestigious awards. Many of us understand that the genre is maligned where critical supremacy is concerned. However, Netflix’s mostly immaculate The Haunting of Hill House legitimately appeared destined to upend TV awards ceremonies in any number of categories. It got completely snubbed during the Golden Globes nominations, though, proving that horror still isn’t taken seriously enough in Hollywood.
Without question, The Haunting of Hill House is one of the most highly acclaimed genre TV series of all time. The variety of verbal accolades heaped upon Mike Flanagan’s dread-inducing masterpiece is unending, and the praise isn’t just coming from horror fanatics. This imaginatively altered adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s seminal novel could have imploded in many other filmmakers’ grasps, but Flanagan’s story is stunningly realized from top to bottom, exuding as much emotional trauma as atmospheric unease. It’s not just a horror show.
But did the Hollywood Foreign Press Association see through the genre-centric platitudes about horror’s worth in order to shower The Haunting of Hill House with richly deserved nominations? Not a single time. Not in a single category.
Which is garbage, obviously. I know the Golden Globes isn’t able to delve into second-tier TV categories that honor everyone else besides the actors. Still, The Haunting of Hill House should have easily swept through all the major categories that were applicable, regardless of its nomination distinction.
First, let’s call it a Limited Series, since we don’t yet know if Mike Flanagan will be back to handle a second season after his next feature Doctor Sleep is released. Can anyone eve half-heartedly argue that The Alienist or A Very English Scandal was truly a more powerful or enjoyable experience than watching the Crain family’s doomed exploits?
Or maybe it would have been considered a flat-out Drama Series. In which case, The Haunting of Hill House should have handily taken one of the spots filled by FX’s Pose or Netflix’s UK import Bodyguard. (Also, how was The Americans the only nominated show that wasn’t in its freshman season?)
While I’m definitely not meaning to viciously disparage any of these projects or the actors within them, some of this year’s nominations are downright ludicrous in the face of this horror drama getting completely shunned. Not every single performance was worth its weight in awards gold, but I would have bet money on Henry Thomas or Timothy Hutton picking up a Supporting Actor nod. Meanwhile, there should have been publicized arguments over where Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel and Victoria Pedretti would be placed in the Actress categories.
Perhaps it’s limiting to lay The Haunting of Hill House‘s criminal snubbing completely at the feet of horror’s horrific history with major awards. But how else can this be explained?
Just within the genre itself, Mike Flanagan has delivered the end-all, be-all of emotionally resonant and masterfully crafted ghost stories. From beginning to end, just about every detail introduced pays off in poignant ways, which isn’t always the case where CGI monsters and serial killer slashers are the focus. And don’t get me started on how incredible his directing is, or that perfect ending.
With The Haunting of Hill House, horror has produced its most fully rounded project since Hannibal. So if it can’t convince the Golden Globes and others of its cultural legitimacy, then what shot does anything else have?
Some years back, it seemed like this horror-ignoring trend had taken a major turn for the better once Ryan Murphy and Brad Flalchuk’s American Horror Story premiered. For its first few years, the star-studded anthology series earned itself nominations across the board, with Jessica Lange often leading that charge. However, I’d easily wager that AHS‘s rise with the Golden Globes and Emmys wasn’t at all a matter of the horror genre finally getting its due embrace.
Rather, TV just hadn’t experienced its current limited series boom, which Ryan Murphy was partly responsible for popularizing. As such, there just wasn’t enough competition to take American Horror Story down at the time. Now, though, in a world filled with Big Little Lies, American Crime Story and more shorter-form series, American Horror Story is getting ignored on the regular. Its most recent noms were for Hotel and its star Lady Gaga, who actually won that year. Perhaps if she followed A Star is Born with more AHS…
This may not fall under “horror” directly, but I’d also wager the mostly facetious prediction that Atlanta got snubbed in the Comedy Series category because its “Teddy Perkins” episode was so godforsakenly frightening. Otherwise, I don’t understand that show getting ignored, either.
In any case, Hollywood quickly needs to catch up and remember just how important that genre is to its history, and how gloriously disturbing the future could be if everyone really started giving a shit about horror TV.