The Haunting of Hill House terrified Netflix viewers around the world back in 2018 and The Haunting of Hill House season 2 (opens in new tab), titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, aims for a similar outcome. Creator Mike Flanagan, though, has shared how the two anthology series will compare and contrast to each other – with one key similarity and a handful of differences.
“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,” Flanagan told Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), before hinting at a change of direction for the Netflix series that will feature the same cast returning to portray different characters in a new setting.
“[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.”
The Haunting of Hill House was based on the novel of the same name, while Bly Manor is going to be loosely adapted from Henry James’ seminal 19th Century horror story, Turn of the Screw. That means the tone will be starkly different, with Flanagan hinting at a brighter, sunnier disposition for Bly Manor than the more foreboding, Gothic-centric take on Hill House.
One fan-favourite element from Hill House, however, is making its way into the hallowed halls of Bly Manor: the ghosts hiding in the background of some scenes.
“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,” Flanagan said.
This year, these ghosts will “tell their own story” and will be explained – so you won’t have to dive into Reddit posts and Twitter fan theory threads to tease out secret information you otherwise might have missed: “By the end of the season, you’re going to know who they are and why they’re there,” Flanagan teased.
So, ghosts aside, don’t expect to retread the grounds of Hill House's first season. The Haunting of Bly Manor is shaping up to be its own beast – one with four walls, a roof, and a whole lot of scares in store. Season 2 has a release window of "this Fall".