The Haunting of Hill House electrified Netflix viewers when it premiered last year in October, providing the proper thrills and chills expected of the Halloween season. It follows the Craine clan as they struggled with secrets from their past after moving from their family home. With a great cast of enigmatic characters and a tight script, its 10 spine-tingling episodes were not enough for some horror fans.
Now they can look forward to Season 2, currently in production, with a whole new story, characters, and of course, ghosts in almost every scene! Get ready to go back to sleeping with the lights on.
Though the series appears on the internet under the working title of The Haunting of Hill House Season 2, it has nothing to do with Hill House or any members of the Craine family. It’s titled The Haunting of Bly Manor and focuses on the residence of the same name.
In the tradition of focusing on haunted houses, Bly Manor is equally beset by specters. It’s a sprawling manor home in the English countryside, though chances are the location will change to an American location, and it won’t be set in the Victorian Era.
Part of what made The Haunting of Hill House so engrossing was the wonderful performances by the cast. The story of the Crain siblings and their parents’ internal “hauntings” were as chilling as any wraiths seen in the background of the series.
In the same way that American Horror Story has the same cast of people simply take on new characters each season, it would be fun to see some of the original cast return for the second season in new roles that further challenged their acting abilities.
The Haunting of Hill House was based on a book, and so is The Haunting of Bly Manor. The series takes its inspiration from the 1898 novella ‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James. It follows a governess who protects her two wards from a pair of restless spirits that haunt the home where she is employed.
The Turn of the Screw is a short story, and just as The Haunting of Hill House needed to be fleshed out to create a 10-episode series, expect some creative liberties taken with the source material to pad the new series.
One of the most talked about aspects of The Haunting of Hill House was the ghosts! Here a ghost, there a ghost, every frame a ghost ghost! We whiled away many an hour searching the background for any sign of sneaky specters and the show did not disappoint.
The two most prominent ghosts in The Haunting of Bly Manor are Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, two young spirits formerly employed at Bly Manor. The manner of their death is a mystery for viewers to solve, and hopefully as their story unfurls, there will be many new ghosties included.
Since it’s based on “The Turn of the Screw”, it will most likely follow The Governess and the two children she looks after in the story, Miles and Flora. Their mysterious, somewhat absentee father will probably also make an appearance (if not have a bigger part), as well as groundskeeper Mrs. Grose.
The only other big characters of note would be the two spirits, Peter Quint and Miss Jessel. They are seen in spectral form in the novella, but for the sake of expanding their parts, they may be seen alive in flashbacks.
Besides counting background ghosts, The Haunting of Hill House had another fun component keeping viewers glued to their screens; great camera work. The narrative was told often with long pans of a single take, which required every actor and crewmember to be on their game.
Episode 8 saw an astounding seventeen minute single take without cutaway or edit, astonishing viewers who weren’t expecting anything of the kind to appear in a horror series. It will be difficult to repeat such inspired camera work but we’ll enjoy the attempt in Season 2.
In the grand tradition of American Horror Story, each series will be a “haunting” of some new location. First we had The Haunting of Hill House. Now we have The Haunting of Bly Manor. And next, we’ll have someplace new.
Given the context of the story this second season is based on, it remains to be seen whether or not it will be set in the Victorian Era. The first season played with two distinct time periods, so perhaps, as was also featured in American Horror Story, the series will capture a new time period each season.
As gripping as The Haunting of Hill House was, it heavily focused on certain members of the Craine family more than others. Characters like Sarah and Nell got a lot of coverage, but other characters like Luke and Theo weren’t even introduced properly or given attention until well into halfway through the series.
Hopefully, in Season 2, the narrative is a little more balanced, especially since it’s part of an anthology series and therefore won’t be a continuation of the stories of characters from the previous season.
The Turn of the Screw is set on Christmas Eve when a bunch of friends are gathered around telling ghost stories. Each friend tries to outdo the other, which is partially where the “turn of the screw” expression comes from; the addition of innocent children to the story amps up the horror akin to another “turn of the screw”.
The Haunting of Hill House was released in October, and there’s no reason to doubt that Season 2 will be released in Fall of 2020, though the addition of a Christmas theme might make it appropriate for Winter viewing too.
For many fans of Season 1 of the Haunting series, the gripping storytelling lost its meaningfulness in the last episode when everything previously horrific about the series got resolved in a tidy way. It reeked of family-friendly entertainment that seemed to negate all the impact of the thrills and chills leading up to that point.
Hopefully, The Haunting of Bly Manor will keep to its convictions and not wuss out in the finale. The best horror doesn’t pull any punches and certainly doesn’t go for the “safe” ending.