The Haunting of Bly Manor is almost upon us. We're just days away from the follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House, and things are already going bump in the night. There are ghostly trailers, creepy posters, ominous episode titles, and some terrifying behind-the-scenes footage to keep us enthralled before The Haunting of Bly Manor reaches Netflix this October.
However, although this may come from the same creators as The Haunting of Hill House, the new series tells a completely different story – just with some of the same actors. Bly Manor adapts Henry James' classic novella The Turn of the Screw and several other horror stories by the author, most of which have never transitioned to the screen before. Mike Flanagan's back as showrunner – though has not directed any episodes – offering a guiding hand over proceedings. So, what else do we know? Scroll on for The Haunting of Bly Manor release date, trailers, cast, and everything you need to know. Just watch out for the ghosts...
The Haunting of Bly Manor release date
Netflix has confirmed The Haunting of Bly Manor will reach the streaming service on October 9 – just in time for Halloween. The Haunting of Bly Manor was one of the few upcoming TV shows that largely escaped the pandemic unscathed due to filming having been completed before lockdown.
The Haunting of Bly Manor trailer
The Haunting of Bly Manor is a chilling affair. We see Victoria Pedretti (Nell from Hill House) as an American nanny working in England as a caretaker for the orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) of Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas). Naturally, unexplainable events begin occurring as "centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed." Oh, and there are a lot of creepy dolls...
The second Haunting of Bly Manor trailer features a haunting cover version of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" – though the trailer is anything but sweet. The Wingrave children and governess Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) are facing some serious horrors. "The people here...they're born here...they die here," the trailer tells us, and from the looks of it, the ghosts and ghouls will be here to wreak havoc.
Thanks to some behind-the-scenes footage, we also have a new look at the series, with Flanagan promising a great many ghosts this time around. You may even spot a few if you look closely...
The Haunting of Bly Manor's title meaning
Wave goodbye to Steve, Shirley, Theo, Nell, and Luke, because The Haunting of Hill House season 2 is actually The Haunting of Bly Manor, and it's set in 1980s England. As revealed in the above Instagram post, we can expect all-new characters (but not an all-new cast – more on that later).
That voice you're hearing in the above teaser? "The terrace and the whole place, the lawn and the garden beyond it, all I could see of the park, were empty with a great emptiness," is a quote from chapter four of The Turn of the Screw, the horror novella by Henry James set in the English estate of Bly Manor.
The Turn of the Screw, on which the new series is based, tells the story of a governess who moves to Bly Manor to take care of a man’s niece and nephew – Miles and Flora – after their parents died. Things turn sour when the governess starts to see ghosts of the previous governess Miss Jessel and her lover Peter Quint around the property. As to now spoil anything about the novel's ending, just know that the debates rage on in literary circles about its ambiguity.
However, while the series will be predominantly based The Turning of the Screw, Flanagan has told GamesRadar+ that the new series will also take in aspects of other stories by Henry James. "The thing I have access to, that no other adaptation of The Turn of to the Screw has, is the rest of Henry James’ ghost stories. I get to use all of them," he said. "The Turn of the Screw has been adapted so many times. We know how perfectly it fits into a feature film format. We're doing a whole season of television. The Turn of the Screw is only one of a dozen stories that we're telling. All Henry James; all thematically linked.
"I think of Turning of the Screw as the backbone of this season – the through-line that carries us from beginning to end. But we get to go off into The Jolly Corner and The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, and so many other of these wonderful ghost stories that people haven't seen adapted before. It's all wrapped up in what seems to be familiar, but that familiarity goes away really early in the first episode. It says, 'We're off on a whole other road.'"
Flanagan added that there's "no upside" to doing a straight adaptation of Turn of the Screw. "It's been really exciting to have this much bigger canvas, because you're not going to do better than The Innocents anyway," he continues, referencing the 1961 movie based on the same novel.
The Haunting of Bly Manor cast and directors
Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Victoria Pedretti, who played Luke Crain and his younger twin Nell in the first season of The Haunting of Hill House, are back! Yes, despite the series being an anthology, the pair will be returning. However, they will be playing different characters.
Netflix has revealed that Jackson-Cohen will play someone named Peter, “a resident of Bly Manor, who makes life very difficult for everyone who lives there.” Pedretti will play the governess, Dani, who "looks after two very unusual children." The actress announced the news in an instagram video, which you can watch below.
Nellie Crain may be gone, but Victoria Pedretti is returning to the Haunting universe in The Haunting of Bly Manor coming 2020! pic.twitter.com/uWoB5zdxKxJune 28, 2019
Pedretti later told Nylon in an interview: "I'm really excited about it. In some ways, it is [more intense] than season one. It's its own thing. Even though it's the second season of a show that I've been in before, almost everything is different."
Speaking to GamesRadar+, series creator Mike Flanagan spoke about recasting the same actors in new roles. "It will be a totally new story," Flanagan confirmed when asked about bringing them back. "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.
"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."
With regards who will be directing season 2, Flanagan, who directed all episodes of season 1, will be handing the torch to a bunch of new horror directors. He wrote on twitter that Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling (Netflix's Cargo), Ciarán Foy (Sinister 2), Liam Gavin (A Dark Song), and Axelle Carolyn (Tales of Halloween) will all helm episodes.
Jackson-Cohen has also done his part to tease the upcoming series. "The hard thing is, is The Haunting of Hill House was – this makes me sound like arrogant – such a brilliant show," he said. "I really loved it. It was such an incredible story, what Mike had done. And so the hard thing was, how's he going to kind of make a second one and it be equally as brilliant?
"And he has, which is just phenomenal. We finished shooting. ...I left The Invisible Man shoot to go and start on Bly Manor, and it's quite the story. He's so clever, Mike Flanagan."
I’m really excited to be collaborating with some of my favorite filmmakers on THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR. Yolanda Ramke & Ben Howling, Ciarán Foy, Liam Gavin, and Axelle Carolyn are all directing episodes. @Yolanda_Ramke @BenHowlingFilm @citadelfoy @LiamGavin @AxelleCarolynOctober 3, 2019
That's about all we know about the secretive The Haunting of Hill House season 2. However, if you're looking for more terrifying tales from Flanagan then you're in luck. He has a new Netflix series, titled Midnight Mass, on the way. It will revolve around an "isolated island community" who experience “miraculous events and frightening omens” after a mysterious young priest joins them.
The Haunting of Bly Manor episode titles
Just ahead of the series' launch on October 9, Netflix revealed a series of ominous posters for The Haunting of Bly Manor, and each one (save for episode 8) reveals the title of an episode. The posters and titles offer a few tantalizing, albeit creepy, clues as to what we can expect from each episode. Personally, the two-episode saga 'Two Faces' elicits a particular sense of dread. Check out the episode posters and titles yourself:
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The Haunting of Bly Manor opening credits
How much do we love good horror, you ask? Well, so much that we squealed in delight when we found out the Haunting of Bly Manor opening credits sequence has been revealed. It's not much, admittedly, but it does do well to suggest the tone going into the Hill House follow-up, and now we know exactly the sort of creepy, ominous prelude we should expect to set the mood before each episode.
The opening credits introduce each main character of the show, before their faces deteriorate into the faint image of a skull. It's similar to the Haunting of Hill House opening sequence and features a beautifully haunting musical arrangement. One thing's for sure, we'll be more than happy to sit through the opening credits for every episode of The Haunting of Bly Manor.
There's plenty to watch before the Haunting of Bly Manor lands. Check out our list of best new TV shows coming soon.