Following up the chilling success of The Haunting of Hill House is going to be a tall order, but Netflix and director Mike Flanagan are ready to give it a try. The Haunting of Bly Manor finally has both a teaser and a release date, but looks a bit different in execution than Hill House. For starters? It’s set in the 1980s for some reason. Why? We haven’t the foggiest, but that will certainly give this particular adaptation of Henry James an unusual visual identity.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is, at its heart, another adaptation of the famous Henry James novel The Turn of the Screw, which was legendarily adapted into The Innocents in 1961, rightly considered one of the best ghost movies ever made. The same story has also seen some much less inspiring adaptations, however—including the dreadful The Turning just this year. Showrunner Flanagan, however, has previously stated that he’s taking a bit of a different approach to this adaptation, incorporating elements from other Henry James fiction and ghost stories as well, including “The Jolly Corner” and “The Romance of Certain Old Clothes.” Presumably, the director of Gerald’s Game and Hush is hoping that this will help to broaden the ghostly appeal of Bly Manor. Netflix, meanwhile, describes the series in this way:
From The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy comes THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, the next highly anticipated chapter of The Haunting anthology series, set in 1980s England. After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. At Bly Manor, dead doesn’t mean gone.
It is notable, judging from the trailer, that the reality of the haunting in this series looks indisputable, which is a major deviation both from the Henry James source material and The Innocents, in which the existence of the ghosts is never explicitly proven. It seems that The Haunting of Bly Manor is taking more of a straightforward approach, removing the question of whether the protagonist is losing her mind and instead diving fully into the supernatural aspects of the story.
As previously reported, Bly Manor will feature the return of numerous members of the Hill House cast, now playing new characters, including Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas and Victoria Pedretti. Check out the first trailer below, and start getting ready for Halloween season! The Haunting of Bly Manor arrives on Netflix on Oct. 9, 2020.