After the out-and-out success that was Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, the ghoulish ghost story’s follow-up, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is one of the most highly anticipated series out there. Series creator Mike Flanagan is, of course, hard at work adapting Stephen King‘s Doctor Sleep for the big screen, but Bly Manor is coming quickly down the pipeline; we already know it’s based on Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw and that Hill House stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Victoria Pedretti are set to return.
But Flanagan apparently still has plenty of surprises in store. Talking to BMD, the filmmaker revealed that Bly Manor will not only be “much scarier” than Hill House, but it’s also inspired by more classic Henry James tales than Turn of the Screw.
“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,” he says. “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.”
The “much scarier” soundbite is enticing given the fact that the back-of-the-car jump scare from Hill House wrecked my shit for several hours afterward, but I’m really intrigued by the catalog Flanagan and Co. are drawing from. James is one of the best horror writers of all time with a vast resume of spine-tinglers worth tracking down. (Personal recs: “The Jolly Corner”, “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes”, and “The Ghostly Rental”.)
Flanagan also made sure to note that Bly Manor will continue—and improve upon—the Hill House tradition of stealthily hiding ghosts in the background. Stay on your toes, casual bingers.
“That’s part of the DNA of The Haunting for me—that old-school approach to the ghosts…In particular, we’re having an enormous amount of fun talking about how to take some of the ideas from season one about hidden ghosts and things like that, and find new gears for them this time. It’ll be the same type of story, and we’ll treat the ghosts very much the same way.”