Mike Flanagan has established himself as the king of horror on Netflix – and his most substantial project to date was the terrifying 10 part adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
The series managed to be at once heart-stopping and tear-jerking, telling a new story inspired by Jackson’s source material that was one part intense family drama and one part frightening ghost story.
The good news is that Flanagan has been hard at work on a follow up to the chiller and the even better news is that it looks like progress on the show has not been impeded by the coronavirus pandemic. So, we could be crying and screaming again before the year is out.
Here’s everything we know about The Haunting of Hill House season two, AKA The Haunting of Bly Manor, which will follow a new story – this time based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw – including some familiar faces.
Is there going to be a The Haunting of Hill House season two?
Yes! Netflix confirmed on 21st February 2019 that “a new Haunting is coming”.
The new series will once again be created by season one director Mike Flanagan, and it also has a new name: The Haunting of Bly Manor.
All this means that season one will be the last we see of the Crain family however, after one of the cast members confirmed that season one was “the end” for them.
Asked whether viewers could look forward to a second season, Michael Huisman (Steven Crain) told RadioTimes.com: “Yeah, but what would that season look like? I’d be very curious. Very curious. Very early when we started shooting this first season I remember having a couple of conversations with Mike [Flanagan, director and writer] about that because it feels so contained. It feels so… It’s an end.”
Netflix later confirmed that the next instalment would feature “a new story with all new characters”.
The announcement of the new Haunting coincided with the news that Netflix had signed an exclusive deal with creator Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy.
“Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy are masterful at creating authentically frightening stories that leave audiences on the edge of their seats, but unable to look away,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with them on The Haunting series and future projects to come.”
When is The Haunting of Bly Manor’s release date?
The next chapter in the “Haunting of” series will arrive in 2020, and while there’s no release date currently returning star Oliver Jackson-Cohen confirmed that filming had wrapped as of February 2020.
“We just wrapped,” Jackson-Cohen told RadioTimes.com. “We’ve been in Vancouver since September, and we wrapped on Sunday [16th February]. So it should be out later this year.
And series creator recently Mike Flanagan announced that the series will be released before the year is out – claiming that coronavirus had not slowed down work on the follow up.
Speaking to ReelBlend podcast in July 2020, Flanagan said, “I don’t expect it to be delayed one bit. We didn’t really miss a step, believe it or not. We had already wrapped before the whole COVID shutdown hit all the productions.”
He added that while no official launch date was available yet, it wouldn’t be too long before more information arrives – claiming, “I think Netflix haven’t announced when it’s coming out. They’ve got their own plan. But we’ve been jamming through post. It’s been going great. It’s definitely later this year. It’s not going to get kicked off into 2021, or anything. Everything’s on schedule.”
Looks like there won’t be too much longer to wait then – but in the meantime you can re-watch season one – and keep an eye out for all those hidden ghosts — over on Netflix.
What is The Haunting of Bly Manor about?
The series borrows its title from Henry James’ ghostly novella The Turn of the Screw, and producer Mike Flanagan confirmed that the author’s ghost stories have inspired the new series. He also added that it will be “much scarier than season one”.
“We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season,” he told Birth.Movies.Death, “so it very much is a whole new deal. For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it’s much scarier than season one, so I’m very excited about it.”
“It’s based on the Turn of the Screw,” added Jackson-Cohen. “Mike Flanagan’s surpassed himself with what he’s done. It’s very very exciting.”
What happened in The Haunting of Hill House season one?
The show follows Hugh and Olivia Crain and their five children, and the series flips back and forth in time: alternating from present-day when the Crain children are adults, to back to when the family temporarily lived at Hill House for the summer.
Adult Crain children are still haunted by the brief time they spent at the house, during which time their mother Olivia died under mysterious circumstances. When one of the siblings returns to the house to face their demons, their tragic demise draws the remaining four Crain children back to Hill House.
Things get even spookier when we begin to realise that the house is really alive — more akin to the shark in Jaws than a standard haunted house. The Red Room (basically an evil version of the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter) functions as the house/monster’s “stomach”. It creates illusions tailored to each of the Crain siblings, luring them in and ultimately devouring them — and as in most horror films and shows, not everyone lives to tell the tale.
In one particularly sinister twist, Nellie (Victoria Pedretti) — the joint-youngest Crain child and probably the most sympathetic character in the show — is revealed to be the Bent-Neck Lady, the terrifying apparition she saw frequently as a child. The house tricks Adult-Nell into putting a noose around her neck (in her mind, it’s her mother’s locket), and she breaks her neck, before falling backwards in time and appearing in various major points in her own past. In other words, she was haunting herself.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.