The Haunting of Bly Manor cinematographer reveals how they filmed those hidden ghosts

(Image credit: Netflix)

Now that we’ve binged The Haunting of Bly Manor, cinematographer James Kniest has revealed the challenges of filming the new series’ secret spectres. 

Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House became infamous after hidden ghosts were discovered in each episode, so it’s no surprise that more were found in the follow-up series. And although Kniest came on six episodes into production, he has said that there was a “constant conversation” about how many ghosts to use. 

“It was a constant conversation, as to how many of the ghosts to portray, how many to put in, and when and where,” he told Digital Spy, adding that the creepy ghouls haunting each frame became less important as the series progressed. 

“I think that it just became a little bit less of a priority as the characters started to get really interesting,” he continued. “But they’re definitely there.” Just because they’re less important than Dani’s story doesn’t mean they’re not terrifying – and we spotted nearly 50 ghostly cameos across the series. Check our all The Haunting of Bly Manor hidden ghosts through that link.

There’s also a reason why so many of the ghosts appear in the distance or are half-hidden by shadows. The Haunting of Bly Manor managed to finish filming before the coronavirus-induced lockdown and production had to be finished remotely, Kniest explained.

“One of the other things that happened to us is, with COVID, we weren’t able to finish as we normally would,” he said. “So a lot of the finishing was done remotely via an iPad, which is less than ideal, to tell you the truth. That may or may not play a role in how much you can see into the shadows and see the ghosts. 

“I think that it just evolved organically to a point where they have just appeared a little bit farther into the recesses of the manor. They are there.”

Sure, Doll-Face and the Plague Doctor haunt our nightmares, but James Kniest had to contend with finishing production on an iPad. That’s a horror story in itself. If you need something new to binge-watch, check out our lists of the best Netflix shows, best Netflix movies and best shows on Amazon Prime.

Freelance Writer

Eammon is an experienced TV and movie journalist, who's written for Looper, Fandom, The Digital Fix, Radio Times, Zavvi, and GamesRadar over the years.