In Part Two of Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which dropped on Friday, the dark magic continues. Sabrina returns to The Academy of Unseen Arts to further her studies, while leaving her mortal friends behind in Greendale. There, the teenage witch attends classes taught by the best witches and warlocks The Academy has to offer. But horror fans should pay particularly close attention to the name of one specific member of The Academy's faculty — Shirley Jackson.
In the new season, Shirley is a slightly vindictive witch with a vendetta against Sabrina's Aunt Zelda. When Zelda begins to work for The Academy, and continue her affair with Father Blackwood, Shirley spends most of her time tormenting and pranking Zelda. Clearly, Zelda's presence is not welcome in Shirley's world. But there is much more to Shirley Jackson than the plotting witch she embodies. Her character is actually a nod to the famed author of the same name.
Shirley Jackson, who lived from 1916 to 1965, published a slew of work throughout her career. Her short story, The Lottery, was one of the most popular stories published by the New Yorker. Jackson specialized in writing horror, supernatural, and gothic novels including Hangsaman, which was published in 1951. But it was her 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, that would earn her the most acclaim.
The Haunting of Hill House reached such popularity that it's been adapted twice for the big screen. The first adaptation came in 1963, four years following the novel's publication, and starred Julie Harris and Russ Tamblyn. The film was directed by Robert Wise who famously directed the Oscar-winning film West Side Story. The second film adaption in 1999 starred Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson. The novel's influence, however, doesn't end there.
The novel was, of course, more recently adapted into a TV series by Netflix. Since it premiered in October 2018, The Haunting of Hill House has gained a loyal following among fans and critics. It was recently renewed for a second season, slated for a 2020 release, and will be based on Henry James' 1898 gothic horror novella The Turn of the Screw. And much like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's Shirley Jackson, a main character (Shirley Crain) in The Haunting of Hill House is also named in honor of the author.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a series that doesn't shy away from tipping the hat to other horror and supernatural films, TV shows, and novels. But the nod to Shirley Jackson ties deep into the Netflix catalog by paying homage to the writer whose work bore the streaming service's new incarnation of The Haunting of Hill House. Jackson passed away in 1965, but her novel's influence is still captured today in the many iterations and homages.
Part Two of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is streaming on Netflix now.