If The Haunting Of Bly Manor is anything like its 2018 predecessor The Haunting of Hill House, it’s going to be the scariest thing on TV this year. Mike Flanagan’s hit first season combined the performances and cinematography of a top-flight prestige drama with some absolutely terrifying supernatural thrills. Can Flanagan and Netflix hit a home run twice, though? Well, they’ve just released the first stills for the show’s next run and it appears they’re continuing in much the same vein.
One thing to bear in mind is that The Haunting of Bly Manor won’t continue the story of The Haunting of Hill House. Instead, they’re taking an American Horror Story anthology-style approach and telling a new tale with some of the same cast. This will loosely adapt Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw in which a teacher tasked with educating two children on a remote estate becomes convinced that the place is haunted. The book turns on whether there really are supernatural forces at work or whether the teacher is going insane.
Flanagan has described the new season as a warped “romance,” saying in an interview with Vanity Fair that:
“It certainly provides a new way to tell a love story, and there are three of them really that beat at the heart of this season. They all have a very dark edge to them. And by the end, it’s really hard to differentiate tragedy with romance. That sense of romantic longing for someone who meant so much to us—but who’s gone—really is the heart of any ghost story.”
The show will mostly take place in 1987, though the stills hint at flashbacks to the 1950s. One aspect that’s returning is the series’ “hidden ghosts,” where eagle-eyed viewers might notice dead characters quietly standing in the background of scenes. The effect was chilling in Hill House and they’ll expand on it here, apparently.
“The hidden ghosts in the first season turned out to be one of my favorite things to play with on set. The audience seemed to really like them. I loved watching people double back and try to find more of them. It encourages repeat viewing.”
And while the two seasons might look similar, it seems that we’re going to get something very different tonally, with Flanagan explaining:
“At its foundation, the Haunting series is very much about haunted spaces and haunted people. The way we make those things dance together is really going to be what’s uniform about Hill House and Bly.Outside of that though, it was really important for all of us not to play the same notes we played for the first season. The first season is very much entrenched in family dynamics and death and grief and loss and child trauma. We all collectively felt like we’d said everything we wanted to say about that.”
Personally, I can’t wait. Netflix hasn’t announced a release date other than the fall, but smart money says The Haunting of Bly Manor will land in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
Source: Vanity Fair