Today, Netflix has announced the phenomenal The Haunting of Hill House has been approved for a second season! What’s even better? Instead of trying to draw blood from a stone, the series will instead mutate into an anthology series, with each subsequent season focusing on a new story with new characters, and of course, new scares.
Creator Mike Flanagan and long-time partner in crime Trevor Macy have signed a whopping eight-figure deal with Netflix for at least 4 to 5 years worth of haunting new tales! This deal is separate from their feature film work which has spanned movies like Gerald’s Game and Hush. Under this new deal, the pair will produce and develop exclusive content for the streaming giant. Basically, Netflix put a ring on it.
VP of Originals at Netflix, Cindy Holland, had this to say regarding this monumental deal.
“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. We’re excited to continue our partnership with them on The Haunting series and future projects to come.”
The first season of The Haunting series has received critical and commercial acclaim and is sitting pretty on rotten tomatoes with a score of 92% and 91% respectively. While Netflix doesn’t release viewership numbers, it’s widely known their renewal process hinges on a series’ popularity, and The Haunting of Hill House certainly fits the bill in that regard. When it premiered back in October 2018 it became one of the fastest binged shows on the network.
Flanagan and Macy released a joint statement stating that “Netflix has been an important part of our story, and we’re proud to have worked with them on The Haunting of Hill House, not to mention Gerald’s Game, Hush and Before I Wake. They’ve enabled and supported a great deal of our work, and we look forward to much more.”
You guessed it. The HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, a new chapter in the Haunting series based on the works of Henry James, is coming in 2020. pic.twitter.com/nvhRBEfH2E
— The Haunting of Hill House (@haunting) February 21, 2019
The second season will return under the name The Haunting of Bly Manor which will be an adaptation of the 1898 novella “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James. This tale focuses on an Essex country manor and a governess who is hired to care and look after a pair of siblings. Her job becomes a lot more complex when she discovers the existence of several ghosts on the property. What’s worse is it appears that these specters have some hold over the children. The story is shrouded in ambiguity as the reader becomes increasingly unsure of whether these ghosts are real or just projections of the governess’ subconscious, leading you to doubt what’s real and what isn’t.
Like it’s Hill House predecessor, The Turn of the Screw has seen multiple adaptions sprout from it over the years. A 1950 stage play, The Innocents led to a 1961 film adaptation under the same name. BBC One saw a 2009 rendition of it starring Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens before they went on to assume their more notable roles of Mary and Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey. Aside from some direct adaptations, Turn of the Screw has inspired other works including Nicole Kidman’s thriller the Others in 2001.
This second season might not see the return of the Crains, but it will use similar themes to connect the two seasons. Characters will still have skeletons in their proverbial closets that will lend themselves to similar inner torment. Paranormal happenings will take place in another eerie house. The plot points will revolve around the children and their supernatural encounters, and the aim will be for terror above horror like its predecessor. The focus will be on playing with the character’s, and viewer’s, psyche; not screams.
Like The Haunting of Hill House, Flanagan aims to use this inspiration as a starting point, not a one to one re-imagining; taking an old story and modernizing it for a new age. Flanagan clearly recognizes the importance of not beating a dead horse, choosing to interpret an old tale in unknown ways instead of retelling the same story for the nth time.
“It was about identifying the elements, characters, moments and even chunks of prose from the book that I really loved,” Flanagan told THR, “and taking all those pieces and trying to build something different out of the same ingredients.”
What’s even more exciting is the fact that Flanagan is known for working with the same actors and actresses across multiple projects. Seeing him use them in an American Horror Story type way would undoubtedly have huge payoffs, especially considering season one’s fantastic performances from people like Carla Gugino, Elisabeth Reaser, and Annabeth Gish. All of whom have worked with him before on multiple projects. Personally, I would LOVE to see Gugino assume the role of the governess and watch her spiral into madness all over again.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is set to release some time in 2020.