Updated on 1 September: we’re calling it now: Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House isn’t just one of the scariest horror series of all time, it’s also just hands down one of the best TV shows we’ve ever watched. And that’s because it didn’t just rely on cheap jump scares to get under our skin, oh no. It also made sure to serve up complex characters and emotionally-driven storylines, too.
It made us gasp, sure, but it made us cry. Buckets. It kept us up all night long worrying about the Bent-Neck Lady, yes, but it also made us reach out to loved ones we’d fallen out of touch with. And it didn’t just have us scouring the screen for spooks, either: it challenged us to reflect upon big, bold themes around grief, loss, and addiction, too.
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That’s right: the first teaser for the horror series dropped over the bank holiday weekend, as it was confirmed that The Haunting cast and crew will be back on our screens on 9 October.
Check it out:
Based on Henry James’ The Turn Of The Screw, literary types and cinephiles alike will note that the gothic tale’s influence pervades much of the trailer.
First things first, there’s the fact that the whole thing is scored by a creepy rendition of O Willow Waly, aka the same haunting song composed for the 1961 film The Innocents. As in, yeah, the very same film which was also famously based on The Turn of the Screw.
Then, there’s the ever so creepy Flora (Amelia Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) – the oh-so-creepy children inspired by the original novel’s characters of the same name.
And, on top of all that, we have Dani (Victoria Pedretti), who serves as Miles and Flora’s new nanny, and is clearly based on the unnamed governess at the centre of James’ original tale of terror.
Judging by the furore on social media, viewers were peeping through their fingers as the camera panned across a darkened basement and a pile of antique dolls. And people have admitted that they literally screamed aloud when Dani is shown heading back upstairs and leaving the dolls alone to… well, to do their thing.
Much like the original series, though, this isn’t your typical horror: on top of all the spinetingling moments, the trailer skims over a series of tragic love stories, the secrets behind them, and the people they’ve affected so very deeply.
And we are seriously into it.
With that in mind, then, here’s everything you need to know about the must-watch horror series.
What’s the plot of The Haunting Of Bly Manor?
As reported on 5 August: The Haunting of Bly Manor will be based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, which tells the story of a governess hired to look after a pair of siblings. However, several ghosts around their manor house exhibit a supernatural hold over the children.
“We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal,” showrunner Mike Flanagan told Birth Movies Death.
“It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about season one, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time.”
Adding that the series will reimagine the most terrifying aspects of James’ work and present them to an entirely new audience, Flanagan said: “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.”
Who makes up the cast of The Haunting Of Bly Manor?
Fans of The Haunting of Hill House will be pleased to learn that the stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Victoria Pedretti, Catherine Parker, and Henry Thomas will all be returning to play new characters in Bly Manor.
Better still? The cast also boasts the talents of T’Nia Miller, Rahul Kohli, Amelia Eve, Benjamin Ainsworth and Amelie Smith.
And what part will the ghosts play in The Haunting Of Bly Manor?
Everyone was obsessed with the countless ghosts of season one, so it’s understandable that Flanagan has decided to expand their characters and give them their own backstories this time around.
“This season we wanted our hidden elements to tell their own story,” he said, as quoted by Digital Spy.
“And very much unlike the first season, they’re actually going to be explained. By the end of the season, you’re going to know who they are and why they’re there.”
Is there a trailer for The Haunting Of Bly Manor?
As revealed at the top of this article, there is now a proper trailer for The Haunting Of Bly Manor. Before that, though, we had this enormously creepy teaser to sink our teeth into:
As we pointed out previously, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it teaser doesn’t exactly give us many clues about the new series. However, a whispering voice does mention the garden beyond… and the “great emptiness”.
Then there’s that strange creaking sound to decipher. It’s a little like the sound an old swing might make as you settle into a rhythm of back-and-forth into the sky.
It also, though, sounds an awful lot like the twist of a hangman’s noose. Which, y’know, is probably a hell of a lot more likely, considering what happened to Nell (Pedretti) in The Haunting of Hill House.
When will The Haunting Of Bly House be available to stream on Netflix?
The streaming platform has promised that the horror series is coming to our laptop and TV screens on the 9 October. Which means that, yeah, it will be with us just in time for those colder days, darker nights, and Halloween’s full blue moon.
We genuinely can’t wait. Fingers crossed it lives up to all our high expectations, eh?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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