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— The Haunting of Hill House (@haunting) 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— The Haunting of Hill House (@haunting) 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.
When does The Haunting of Bly Manor come out?
Unlike a number of projects, the production of Bly Manor was unharmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Flanagan, filming wrapped just before quarantine prompted set shut-downs globally. For now, it looks like the series is still set for release later in 2020, although an exact date has not been released. If we had to guess, we’d say it’ll likely hit Netflix in October, similar to Hill House.
Going great. Still on schedule, we wrapped before the shutdown and post production has carrying on from home. The show is shaping up wonderfully, I'm thrilled with it. At the moment no reason to think it'll be pushed. @netflix will announce the release date when they're ready.— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) April 21, 2020
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
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.
We can’t wait to see what the pair do next, and will have a close eye on any updates about The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Featured Image: Netflix
Originally published on February 21, 2019.