The Haunting of Bly Manor has reached Netflix, and we're all wondering how this new series connects to The Haunting of Hill House. After all, the two are from the same showrunner, feature the same cast, and share the same naming format. But are there actually any story connections between the two?
The short answer: no. Don't go into this expecting any members of the Crain family to appear. This is an anthology series and the two are completely different stories. Where The Haunting of Hill House was an adaptation of Shirley Jackson's book of the same name, The Haunting of Bly Manor takes elements from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, as well as other short stories from the horror maestro.
There are, however, a great many shared cast members between the two series. Those already publicised as returning include Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who play wildly different characters in The Haunting of Bly Manor. And there are a few more in Bly Manor – but we'll let that be a surprise.
Behind the scenes, Mike Flanagan returns as writer, although for the second series, he only serves as a director on the opening episode, not all of them. The same creeping wide shots are used in The Haunting of Hill House are used here as well, and the filmmaker makes sure there are more than a handful of creepy hidden ghosts to look out for in Bly Manor's bedrooms.
Why make a completely new series and not continue the story? "It was important to me that we told that story to its conclusion in the first season. I didn't want to cynically repeat ourselves, and the actors didn’t want to either," Flanagan told GamesRadar+ in 2019.
"This frees us up because, in theory, in this anthology format, every season can be its own exploration of another classic piece of horror literature. Actors can stay or go depending on their preference and their availability. That opens it up to new cast and new chances for existing actors. I love that format. It would be quite a disappointment to have to revisit the Cranes. It would rob them of the closure they got at the end of that season."
Yes, the two shows may be completely different beasts, but both are a treat for Netflix viewers. And if you've finished both, then make sure to check out our pieces on The Haunting of Hill House ending and The Haunting of Bly Manor ending.