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Everything We Know About The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan returns with another ghoulish literary classic and some familiar faces.

by | November 6, 2019 | Comments

The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House flouted horror adaptation conventions, retooling Shirley Jackson’s classic novel to portray scary supernatural events, as well as explore a family’s enduring trauma as a psychological thriller. Aesthetically, the Netflix series was reminiscent of the book’s previous movie adaptations, but with Flanagan — screenwriter and director of such horror fare as Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil — at the helm, the familiar tale veered into exciting, new, and intensely creepy territory.

The first season of the series was a hit and is now Certified Fresh at 92% on the Tomatometer with 92 reviews. (Episode 6, “Two Storms,” in particular, impressed fans and critics.)


RELATED: Hear Us Out: The Haunting of Hill House Episode 6 Might Be This Year’s Best Horror Movie


So where will season 2 go? As soon as the story of the Crain family ended in season 1, Flanagan confirmed to press that their tragic story was complete. The next installment will follow a new family’s story — in a completely different haunted house. With some familiar faces set to return, however, it seems Netflix’s Haunting series could become the streamer’s answer to American Horror Story.

“There’s not a narrative connection, but there are little Easter eggs, for sure, not only in small details but in moments of dialogue and in some of the ideas from Hill House,” Flanagan told Entertainment Weekly. “There are definitely going to be things that will set off that little dopamine rush that those kind of connections create. But it’s not a direct connection from a story point of view.”

As speculation swirls about the show’s upcoming sophomore season, here’s everything we know about The Haunting of Bly Manor.


ANOTHER LITERARY CLASSIC WILL BE ITS GUIDE

Deborah Kerr in 1961 film The Innocents (Fox)
(Photo by Fox)

Flanagan has turned his attention to a different author’s work for this outing. In February, Netflix revealed that the next installment of the series will be titled The Haunting of Bly Manor based on Henry James’ 1898 Gothic horror novella The Turn of the Screw.

The story was adapted previously for the big screen in the 1961 film The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave, as well as in other feature films and TV movies as “The Turn of the Screw.” Another take on the tale, titled The Turning and starring Mackenzie Davis and Finn Wolfhard, is scheduled to hit theaters next January.

“It’s such a treat to play in the world of Henry James … [but] You can skip rocks off of The Turn of the Screw,” Flanagan told EW. “So, we were able to open up his entire library of ghost stories, stuff that’s never been adapted, and build the whole season out with the entirety of Henry James’ supernatural library. And that has been a real treat, because we really get to do things that I’ve never gotten to see before. Turn of the Screw is really just our way in.”

For those unfamiliar, James’ classic story tells the tale of a young governess who heads to Bly Manor in Essex, England to keep an eye on an orphaned boy and girl. The governess then begins witnessing supernatural activity, becoming convinced the kids are being visited by ghosts.

“We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal,” Flanagan told Birth.Movies.Death. “It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about season 1, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time.”

Sounds like The Haunting of Bly Manor could also feature tidbits from “The Beast in the Jungle,” “The Figure in the Carpet,” “In the Cage” and/or “The Altar of the Dead.”


SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE HILL HOUSE GANG WILL RETURN

The Haunting of Hill House star Victoria Pedretti (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

Flanagan has recently tweeted casting announcements for The Haunting of Bly Manor and revealed that Hill House‘s  Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, whose connection as twins Nell and Luke Crain was the emotional foundation for that story, have both joined the new installment. Kate Siegel, who played the troubled, be-gloved sister Theo Crain, and Henry Thomas, who played young Hugh Crain, will also return.


The Haunting of Hill House featurette screencap (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

Catherine Parker, who played the 1920s-era flapper ghost Poppy Hill in The Haunting of Hill House, will also return for Bly Manor.

Flanagan hasn’t revealed which roles the actors will take on in Bly Manor. We do know that Pedretti’s character will care for the young boy and girl at Bly Manor. Jackson-Cohen is playing Peter, “a charming young guy” who lives at the estate and “makes life difficult” for everyone in the house.

There hasn’t been any news on Carla Gugino’s return but she has expressed interest in returning to the series.


SOME NOTABLE NEW FACES WILL JOIN THE SHOW

Rahul Kohli as Ravi Chakrabarti in iZombie (The CW)
(Photo by The CW)

New actors joining the mix include iZombie fan favorite Rahul Kohli, who has signed on as a series regular. Deadline describes his character as “a small town guy with a worldly mindset, who was returned to the country to take care of his ailing mother.”

Flanagan has tapped child actors T’Nia Miller (Years and Years) and Amelia Eve to join Bly Manor, though their parts have not yet been announced. And Amelie Smith and Benjamin Ainsworth will play Flora and Miles, the odd children under the care of the governess.


MIKE FLANAGAN WON’T BE DIRECTING EVERY EPISODE, THIS TIME AROUND

Narrative cohesion was a big component that helped The Haunting of Hill House‘s success. And while Mike Flanagan is still involved with the second installment of the series, it seems that this time around, the Doctor Sleep helmer is divvying up the directing responsibilities to up-and-comers in the filmmaking world.

Among the group joining the project are co-directors Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, whose movie Cargo offered a new, bleak twist to the zombie genre; Ciarán Foy, who made his debut in 2012 with film festival darling Citadel; Liam Gavin, the writer and director behind the 2009 award-winning horror film Dark Song; and Axelle Carolyn, the writer and director behind the Tales of Halloween segment, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”

While it’s not yet been confirmed if Flanagan will helm any episodes in the new installment to the series, the addition of these names reaffirms the filmmaker’s affinity for the genre’s independent storytellers.


THE HUNT FOR HIDDEN GHOSTS WILL CONTINUE

Bly Manor’s themes are still a mystery, but one thing we do know is that the hidden-ghost scavenger hunt will continue.

“That’s part of the DNA of The Haunting for me — that old-school approach to the ghosts,” he told Birth.Movies.Death. “In particular, we’re having an enormous amount of fun talking about how to take some of the ideas from season 1 about hidden ghosts and things like that, and find new gears for them this time. It’ll be the same type of story, and we’ll treat the ghosts very much the same way.”


EXPECT A “PRETTY WILD” AND “UNBELIEVABLY SCARY” NEW SEASON

From the sounds of it, Flanagan’s attention to overall tone is likely to continue in Bly Manor, but the fright factor will be kicked up a few notches.

“For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild,” Flanagan said, “and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it’s much scarier than season 1, so I’m very excited about it.”


WHEN WILL IT PREMIERE?

Doctor Sleep stars Ewan McGregor (Warner Bros)
(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Netflix has not announced when The Haunting of Bly House will premiere. Flanagan teased his own expectations to The Wrap: Halloween 2020.

“I don’t know the date, but, you know, I left the set to come here,” Flanagan said ahead of the theatrical release of Doctor Sleep, the highly-anticipated sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining that he directed. “It’s probably Halloween again, if I had to guess. You’re going to like it. It’s cool!”

While you wait for fall 2020 to roll around, grab a slice and…


RETURN TO HILL HOUSE

The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

To ease our collective hunger for the ghastly and ghoulish, an extended director’s cut of the season that King called “close to a work of genius” is now available.

The Haunting of Hill House is now streaming on Netflix. The Blu-ray release of The Haunting of Hill House is now available on Amazon.


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