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Hugh Crane took children from his mills by the dozens (possibly hundreds) and murdered them, burning their bodies and hiding the remains underneath his great fireplace. Some time later, he re-married to Caroline (Nell's ancestor) who became pregnant and had a child. She discovered what Hugh Crane had done, and managed to escape from Hill House. However, death did not stop Hugh Crane. His malevolent spirit continued to haunt Hill House, stalking the ghosts of the children he had slain every night. He was finally defeated when Nell called him before the doors carved in imitation of Rodan's "Gates of Hell", whereupon the engraved demons reached out and dragged him into hell at last.
Not at all; it bears very little resemblance to the original Shirley Jackson novel. The entire background of Hugh Crain as a child murderer, and Nell's family connection to him, was made up for the movie, and the bizarre and flamboyant supernatural events in the movie are nothing like the more subtle events in the novel. This movie had a bad reputation among fans of Shirley Jackson's work, as they view it as a cheap and bastardized adaptation.
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