The Haunting of Hill House was one of Netflix’s biggest hits of 2018, with the horror show drawing almost universal acclaim from critics and subscribers alike, who binged all ten episodes in short order. While the story was definitively wrapped up, the streaming service knew they had something special on their hands and quickly retrofitted Hill House into the first installment of an anthology series before announcing follow-up The Haunting of Bly Manor.
Creator Mike Flanagan has more than established himself as one of the most unique and talented voices in the genre, and with many of the cast members from Hill House also returning, Bly Manor promises to build on the atmosphere of dread, slow-burning terror and background frights that audiences have come to expect from the man behind Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil.
Fans are already freaked out by the recently-released teaser trailer, and that runs for less than 90 seconds, so who knows what Flanagan has in store when The Haunting of Bly Manor arrives in full just five weeks from today. The hype machine is starting to kick up a gear, though, and in a recent interview, the Doctor Sleep director confirmed that it won’t be a straightforward adaptation of Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw, while also revealing some surprising influences.
“It’s not about doing a straight adaptation anymore, that’s already been done. We’d cover two episodes, and then we’d have eight episodes of filler. I need to make a 10-hour version of this. When the show launches, you’ll see each episode is actually the title of one of his stories. They’re all braided together and made to work in one hopefully cohesive story. His language is not something that’s as easy to relate to for a contemporary reader or viewer. And certainly not easy to adapt. There’s a story Henry James wrote called The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, which is a phenomenal short ghost story, and if you strip away all of the proper language and all of the context of the time, underneath it, you see the DNA of The Ring, The Grudge. They’re all there. And he was one of the first to be playing with them.”
Comparing one of Netflix’s most highly-anticipated and popular new shows to long-running Japanese horror franchises is an interesting comparison to make, but Flanagan’s filmography has shown that he’s more than capable of putting his own spin on the standard ghost story, and with people gearing up to celebrate a full two months of Halloween, The Haunting of Bly Manor will be at the very top of the list when it arrives on Netflix in just over a month.