What goes on inside the mind of a horror author? After all, these are individuals who dream up nightmares for a living. Their stories, the best of them, possess the power to make you jump, scream, and misinterpret every creak in your house as the bogeyman coming to get you.
The upcoming psychodrama Shirley seeks to explore this question by focusing on one of the greatest horror authors who ever lived: Shirley Jackson. Jackson's acclaimed haunted house book The Haunting of Hill House inspired the successful Netflix series of the same name. Shirley Jackson's also the author of the classic short story "The Lottery". Now, the author's own life (or a fictionalized version of it) will get the movie treatment in Shirley—and a tense, new trailer for the film just dropped.
Shirley is directed by Josephine Decker, stars Elisabeth Moss as Shirley Jackson, and is based on the novel of the same name by Susan Scarf Merrell. In the movie, Jackson is at the height of her powers; she's on the verge of writing her masterpiece. Accompanying the author is her husband, literary critic and Bennington College professor Stanley Edgar Hyman (played by Michael Stuhlbarg). They share a tempestuous relationship, and are prone to "ruthless barbs and copious afternoon cocktails." When newlyweds Fred and Rose Nemser (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young) arrive in need of a place to stay, Shirley and Stanely agree to take them in. However, young Rosie soon finds that Shirley suffers from bouts of madness, is fiercely protective of her writing, and wants to divulge a secret to her. The situation escalates into a frightening psychodrama that inspires Shirley’s next great novel.
One question remains: Is Shirley merely eccentric, or is she truly unhinged? Watch the trailer below for a darkly thrilling glimpse at the new film, then get ready to check out the movie next month. Shirley will be available on VOD platforms for rental and purchase and on Hulu for streaming beginning June 5, 2020.
Want to dive deeper into the world of Shirley Jackson? Check out her classic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House.
The Haunting of Hill House
Featured still from "Shirley" via Neon