The Haunting of Bly Manor is Netflix’s early Halloween treat from the makers of the terrifying The Haunting of Hill House. This time, we are in an entirely new house, meaning we are leaving the Crain family behind and heading into a new story of spooks and specters.
The Haunting looks set to be an anthology series, with each season telling a new standalone story—like American Horror Story‘s early seasons, before the show started linking its stories together.
Like American Horror Story, however, what links The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Haunting of Hill House is the team both behind and in front of the camera. Both shows are written by Mike Flanagan, the writer and director behind Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep. Flanagan also directed all of Hill House and the first episode of Bly Manor.
Both shows also share a number of cast members. The main actors who are back for Bly Manor are:
Victoria Pederetti (Nell Crain in Hill House)
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain)
Kate Siegel (Theodora Crain)
Henry Thomas (Hugh Crain)
Catherine Parker (Poppy Hill)
However, they are playing entirely new characters rather than the Crain family (and in Parker’s case, Poppy Hill). The new story is led by Pedretti playing Dai Clayton, a young American woman hired as a governess at Bly Manor to care for two young children, Miles and Flora.
Among these cast members will be the return of a more unwelcome set of characters. Just like the Hill House, Bly Manor features dozens of horrifying ghosts hidden among the episodes for eagle-eyed viewers of the Netflix show to spot.
If the plot of Bly Manor sounds familiar to Victorian literature fans, that is because The Haunting of Bly Manor is based on a classic 19th-century novella. While The Haunting of Hill House was based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 horror classic of the same name, Bly Manor is based on The Turn of the Screw, the 1898 Henry James book. Elements from other James stories like “The Jolly Corner,” and “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes” are also woven in, though the story is brought forward nearly a century to take place in the 1980s
Speaking to Vanity Fair, about the links between the two seasons, Flanagan said: “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.”
Instead, the director and writer described Bly Manor as “a new way to tell a love story,” with multiple romantic plots tied together with the latest ghost story.
The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Haunting of Hill House are streaming now on Netflix.