haunting of bly manor featurette

As October rolls in and gives way to Halloween season, it’s time to get haunted by Mike Flanagan and Netflix all over again. Flanagan and his team return next month with The Haunting of Bly Manor, a follow-up to the fantastic Haunting of Hill House. While this is yet another ghost story, and it maintains several Hill House actors, this is also something completely new – they’re taking an anthology approach here, where each new season tells a different story about different characters. A new Haunting of Bly Manor featurette goes behind the scenes of the upcoming series.

Haunting of Bly Manor Featurette

I was a huge fan of The Haunting of Hill House. Sure, it takes a lot of liberties with Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, and I can understand why that might bother some people. But once you get beyond that you find a unique, emotional ghost story anchored by the guidance of Mike Flanagan, one of the best horror filmmakers working right now. Flanagan really understands how to blend both otherworldly horror and down-to-earth emotional beats to create memorable entries in the genre.

Now Flanagan is back with The Haunting of Bly Manor, although unlike Hill House, Flanagan does not direct every episode (which is something I’ll have more thoughts on when I review the series next week – the embargo lifts on October 5). In the featurette above, Flanagan talks about how the show started off with Shirley Jackson, and now continues with the work of Henry James. Not only is James’ classic The Turn of the Screw being adapted, but Flanagan and company also dipped into several other ghost stories that James wrote, including The Romance of Certain Old Clothes and The Jolly Corner.

As Flanagan explains, this season was a chance to adapt Henry James stories that had yet to find their way to the screen (Turn of the Screw has already been adapted several times, most recently in this year’s The Turning). And while Bly Manor brings back several familiar actors from Hill House –  Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Carla Gugino – you can all expect to see them in different roles.

Hill House was a show about a family, with all the characters knowing each other well. Bly Manor, in contrast, is about strangers – people coming together at Bly Manor, where things aren’t what they seem. And while this remains a ghost story, Bly Manor is also a love story, tying into a gothic romance angle. Flanagan adds that he wanted to play around more with ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we carry around – how the past and the present can echo each other – moments don’t fall like dominos they fall like confetti. This is a theme Flanagan returns to again, and again in his work – not just Hill House, but also his films Oculus and Doctor Sleep.

The Haunting of Bly Manor arrives on Netflix October 9, 2020.

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