The first season of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House reimagined Shirley Jackson’s classic horror novel as a modern story about shared familial trauma. It was a hit, so the pressure was on for Mike Flanagan—who directed and co-wrote every episode—to come up with something equally intoxicating for season two, since the story of the Crain family was wrapped up in the first. Many—myself included—assumed he would go the anthology route, telling different stories set in Hill House.
What none of us figured is that The Haunting would move beyond its titular home and adapt another horror classic. But as Flanagan recently revealed on Twitter, that’s exactly what he and his team are doing.
Here’s everything know about the second season Netflix’s The Haunting series, The Haunting of Bly Manor.
It’s based on The Turn of the Screw
The official Twitter account for The Haunting of Hill House posted a mysterious video back in February teasing the show’s second season. “Listen closely,” it read.
A new Haunting is coming. Can you guess where it takes place? Listen closely... pic.twitter.com/vqzrd3z4NZ— Midnight Mass (@midnightmass) February 21, 2019
In the background a faint whisper can be heard. It’s a woman reading the words: “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.” This is a line from Henry James’ chilling horror novella The Turn of the Screw, which seemed to indicate the next season would set up shop in another famously haunted abode from literature: Bly Manor.
That news was confirmed by Flanagan after another quick teaser. Season two will be called The Haunting of Bly Manor and will re-adapt James’ story for the small screen.
This is thrilling news for literary horror fans. The Turn of the Screw is a beloved staple in the genre, and was famously adapted into the controversial 1961 film, The Innocents. The book tells the story of a young governess who watches over two orphaned children in an English country house called Bly. She begins seeing ghostly apparitions and is troubled by the strange behavior of Miles, one of the children in her keep.
It will also incorporate other Henry James stories
In an interview with Birth. Movies. Death., Flanagan revealed that the next season isn’t solely based on The Turn of the Screw, but on all of Henry James’ ghost stories. Here’s his full quote:
“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. It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about season one, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time. 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. I already think it’s much scarier than season one, so I’m very excited about it.”
As for other James stories that influenced the story, Flanagan told Games Radar: “We get to go off into ‘The Jolly Corner’ and ‘The Romance of Certain Old Clothes,’ and so many other of these wonderful ghost stories that people haven’t seen adapted before.”
“The Jolly Corner” is one of James’ other popular short stories which follows a man named Spencer Brydon who returns to the empty New York house where he grew up and encounters a “sensation more complex than had ever before found itself consistent with sanity.”
”The Romance of Certain Old Clothes” is about two beautiful sisters who fall in love with the same man. Their jealousy and bitterness over the man leads to violence and tragedy.
Many Hill House cast members will return
We now know that the governess, named Dani in this version, will be played by Victoria Pedretti, who played Nell in Hill House. She announced the news on Twitter.
Nellie Crain may be gone, but Victoria Pedretti is returning to the Haunting universe in The Haunting of Bly Manor coming 2020! pic.twitter.com/uWoB5zdxKx— Midnight Mass (@midnightmass) June 28, 2019
She’s not the only Hill House cast member joining the show’s second season. Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who played Nell’s twin brother Luke, will also appear in Bly Manor, playing a character named Peter. In the novel, Peter Quint is the name of a ghost that the governess encounters at the house, a former bad boy and valet whose got his sights set on Miles from the afterlife.
Don’t worry, it’s not just Nell and Luke coming back. Flanagan revealed on Twitter in August that Henry Thomas—who played the family patriarch Hugh Crain in Hill House—will return for Bly Manor, along with Kate Siegel, who played Theo. Siegel is also married to Flangan in real life (they even have a daughter named Theo, after her character) so her return felt inevitable, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.
Catherine Parker and Amelia Eve, who had small roles in Hill House, will also return for Bly Manor.
What about new cast members?
In addition to the returning cast members, a number of new faces will make their way to the screen in Bly Manor. Child actors Benjamin Ainsworth and Amelie Smith will play Miles and Flora, the children at the center of The Turn of the Screw. T’Nia Miller and Rahul Kohli will also appear in major roles.
Will there be more hidden ghosts?
One of the spookiest aspects of The Haunting of Hill House was all of the background ghosts Flanagan and his crew snuck into frame. Will that continue into Bly Manor? Yes indeed!
We are already discussing how to up our hidden ghost game. https://t.co/rW4AW0LpF2— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) February 22, 2019
Additionally, in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Flanagan said the hidden ghosts will have more of a story this time around. “This season we wanted our hidden elements to tell their own story,” he told the magazine. “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.”
The first look is here–and it’s full of dolls.
Netflix released the first official images from Bly Manor on Twitter. It looks great and appropriately spooky. Those creepy dolls!
The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres this Fall — FIRST LOOK: pic.twitter.com/9S2HyCL6C6— Netflix (@netflix) August 24, 2020
There are even more available on The Haunting’s official Twitter page, including our first good look at Bly Manor itself.
Welcome to Bly Manor. It's a great, good place. pic.twitter.com/HzU1evEofk— Midnight Mass (@midnightmass) August 27, 2020
We also got our first poster, which shows a mysterious woman coming out of the water near the titular house.
The Haunting of Bly Manor arrives this fall. Until then... look beneath the surface. pic.twitter.com/e5rICOlt5F— Midnight Mass (@midnightmass) August 24, 2020
We have two trailers for the series.
The first official teaser trailer is loaded with atmospheric dread. And yes, more dolls.
It’s also set to a creepy cover of “Beneath the Weeping Willow,” as sung by children. To really hammer home the Henry James horror.
Netflix also released a full-length trailer that shows us even more of Dani, Mrs. Grose, and that dollhouse.
There’s a behind-the-scenes video that sheds more light on the making of the season.
Netflix dropped a fun behind-the-scenes video about The Haunting of Bly Manor ahead of its release. Most of this is stuff we’ve already heard. (Although notice the clever cut-away before showing footage of whoever Kate Siegel is playing this season—they’re keeping that secret close to their chests.)
Flanagan also offered this little tease:
“Similar to The Haunting of Hill House, I really wanted to play more with ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds. How the past and present can echo each other. How moments don’t fall like dominos, they fall like confetti. The Haunting of Hill House is about a very tight family, and Bly Manor is about strangers. A family that is created. All of the people who inhabit Bly Manor come from completely different backgrounds. They get to know each other through friendship, tension, conflict, and love. What sets Bly Manor apart is that, at its heart, it’s a love story.”
He also talks about the difference between a traditional romance and a Gothic romance. “A [Gothic romance] is steeped in mystery and doom; incredibly passionate emotions that swing into the darkness of human nature.”
The series is set in the 1980s.
Flanagan told Vanity Fair that The Haunting of Bly Manor “mostly” takes place in 1987. Does that mean we’ll have some flashbacks–and possibly flashforwards–to look forward to?
The episode titles are here
The Haunting social media accounts revealed the titles for all nine episodes. Or, eight episodes we should say. For episode eight, they only revealed spaces for the episode’s letters. (Read the comments on Twitter for some very good guesses as to what that title may be…)
- The Great Good Place
- The Pupil
- The Two Faces Part I
- The Way It Came
- The Altar of the Dead
- The Jolly Corner
- The Two Faces Part II
- _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- The Beast in the Jungle
We have our first look at the opening credits
The Haunting Twitter account also revealed the opening credits for the season. And they look appropriately Gothic!
One week to go. Until then, enjoy our perfectly splendid opening titles. pic.twitter.com/2wxdka3ZmU— Midnight Mass (@midnightmass) October 2, 2020
The show is part of a new deal for Flanagan
The Haunting of Bly Manor also comes with the news that Mike Flanagan and his producing partner Trevor Macy have signed an exclusive deal with Netflix that will include more seasons of The Haunting and other new series. The pair previously worked together on the first season of The Haunting and on horror films like Oculus, Hush, the excellent Gerald’s Game, and the upcoming Doctor Sleep.
It finally has a release date.
The full season of The Haunting of Bly Manor will drop October 9, 2020 on Netflix.
Featured Image: Netflix
Originally published on February 21, 2019.