The Haunting Of Hill House season 1 episode 5 revealed the devastating truth about the bent-neck lady ghost that tormented Nell as a child. The Haunting Of Hill House is based off the 1959 novel by Shirley Jackson, which involves an investigation into a supposedly haunted house by a scholar looking for evidence of the supernatural. He brings along some companions to help with his study and the group soon find themselves in for a terrifying time. The book is considered a classic of the genre and relies on psychological chills for its scares.
The book has been turned into a movie twice, with Robert Wise's acclaimed 1963 adaptation The Haunting, which is one of the finest horror movies ever made, and the 1999 remake from director Jan de Bont (Speed). This version of The Haunting starred Liam Neeson (Taken) and Catherine Zeta-Jones and while it was a modest success, it received poor reviews for its overreliance on CGI and jump scares to bring the ghosts to life.
The most recent adaptation was Netflix's series The Haunting Of Hill House from director Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game). This version reimagined the story and centered on the Crain family, who once lived in the house and have to return decades later to face the horrors it unleashed. The series was praised for its great ensemble cast, gothic atmosphere, and emotional new take on the source material. Often the scariest thing about the show is just characters recounting their own supernatural experiences, but one of the most memorable apparations comes in the form of the Bent-Neck Lady.
This spirit haunted Nell Crane, played by Victoria Pedretti (YOU), as a girl and is a silhouetted ghost with its head twisted at an unnatural angle. Each of the Crain siblings gets an episode dedicated to them, with The Haunting Of Hill House season 1 episode 5 "The Bent-Neck Lady" focusing on Nell. This episode details her experiences in the house with the titular ghost, and how she grew up and fell in love with a medic named Arthur. Arthur tragically dies of an aneurysm one night and she's unable to help due to her sleep paralysis condition. Nell soon suffers from depression and feeling the Bent-Neck Lady is somehow responsible for Arthur's death, she returns to the abandoned Hill House alone.
When she arrives, she has a vision of meeting with her late mother Olivia, played by Carla Gugino (Watchmen), who puts a locket around her neck. In reality, this is really Nell tying a noose around her own neck, and she soon falls from the spiral staircase and dies. The big twist of The Haunting Of Hill House's "The Bent-Neck Lady" comes when Nell starts to fall through the past while tied to the rope and realizes the spirit that tormented her throughout her life was really herself following her own suicide.
It's a horrific, tragic twist and easily one of the most shocking moments of The Haunting Of Hill House. The show was a perfectly contained miniseries and while fans would like to see what happened to the surviving Crain family after the finale, the next season The Haunting of Bly Manor will focus on new characters.