'The Haunting of Bly Manor' Is the Even Scarier Follow-Up to 'Haunting of Hill House'

Emma Dibdin
·4 mins read
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From ELLE

Netflix's modern adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House was one of the most unexpected treats of 2018 TV, reimagining Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel as an emotional, deeply frightening family drama. The story of the Crane family was a closed-ended one that definitely does not require a sequel, so instead, showrunner Mike Flanagan took the anthology approach for season 2, telling an entirely new story at an entirely new creepy haunted house.

Here's everything we know so far about The Haunting of Bly Manor.

The show is based on a different iconic novel.

There's no shortage of haunted houses in literature, and for season 2 Flanagan went quite a bit further back in the canon than Jackson's 1959 novel. The Haunting of Bly Manor is based on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, as confirmed way back in early 2019 by this opaque Twitter post:

If you listen closely to the teaser clip shared, you'll hear a female voice reciting a passage from The Turn of the Screw: "The terrace and the whole place, the lawn and the garden beyond it, all I could see of the park, were empty with a great emptiness.” Creeped out yet?

The show, just like James's novella, follows a young governess who's sent to a remote country estate to take care of two newly orphaned children, and gradually starts to lose her grip on reality as she becomes convinced the house is haunted.

The Turn of the Screw isn't the only source material for the new season, though. Flanagan has said that Bly Manor will incorporate elements from all of James's ghost stories. “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," he told Birth. Movies. Death.

One James short story that will feature prominently in the season is The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, which tells the chilling story of two sisters whose romantic rivalry leads to horrifying and otherworldly consequences.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Several Haunting of Hill House cast members will return.

If you're still not quite over Victoria Pedretti's devastating season 1 performance as Nell, buckle up for more heartbreak. Pedretti returns as Dani Clayton, the protagonist of Bly Manor. She's a governess who soon comes to regret her decision to take a job at a remote English manor house that is absolutely haunted.

Also returning is Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who played Nell's twin brother Luke in season 1 and here will play a character named Peter Quint, and Henry Thomas, who played the young Hugh Crain in season 1. He now plays Dani's employer, Henry Wingrave. The cast also features Kate Siegel, T'Nia Miller, Bahul Kohli and Catherine Parker.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

The ghostly Easter eggs will return.

One of the most fun slash terrifying elements of Hill House was spotting the many, many hidden ghosts in the corners and shadows of scenes. These semi-subliminal ghosts really added to the overall sense of unease and dread, and Flanagan has confirmed that they'll be back in Bly Manor.

Flanagan also revealed to Vanity Fair that this time, the hidden ghosts will have a narrative arc of their own.“This season we wanted our hidden elements to tell their own story," he teased, "and very much unlike the first season, they’re actually going to be explained. By the end of the season, you’re going to know who they are and why they’re there."

It's a period piece (ish).

Unlike The Haunting of Hill House, which was set mostly in the present day but also featured flashbacks to the family's past, Bly Manor takes place in the 1980s.

It's going to be even scarier than The Haunting of Hill House.

At least, if you take Flanagan at his word. "For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary," he's promised. "I already think it’s much scarier than season 1, so I’m very excited about it.”

Judging by the first trailer, he's not kidding—a major element of the new season appears to be dolls. And not just any dolls, but dolls that come to life secretly overnight. Welp.

The Haunting of Bly Manor drops on Netflix on October 9, so prepare yourself for some sleepless nights around that time.

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