Across 10 episodes of exquisite television, Mike Flanagan tracked a horrifying, deliciously creepy ghost story in The Haunting of Hill House.
The Netflix horror series was adapted from Shirley Jackson’s legendary 1959 novel of the same name, with Flanagan taking the reigns on ensuring a smooth, effective transfer. It follows the fractured Crain family, who in the face of tragedy have to come together to confront terrifying memories of their old home, which still plague their lives.
The book has seen the light of the silver screen before; it was adapted in 1963 and 1999, both films titled The Haunting (the former is a classic, the latter a hilarious dud).
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, revised and remodeled by Mike Flanagan. I don't usually care for this kind of revisionism, but this is great. Close to a work of genius, really. I think Shirley Jackson would approve, but who knows for sure.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 17, 2018
So, how does one match, nay, beat such excellence in a second season? The Haunting of Hill House season 2 will take the form of The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw – and Flanagan reckons it’s ‘going to be unbelievably scary’.
In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Flanagan said:
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. 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.
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.
The Turn of the Screw revolves around a young governess who, will caring for two children, becomes convinced that the country estate is haunted. Though it won’t be a straight adaptation; as Flanagan said, the season will borrow elements from a number of James’ works, as well as tying it into the groundwork laid in the original season.
As for how it’ll look, Flanagan is very keen to retain the old school feel which made the first season so disarmingly frightening.
That’s part of the DNA of The Haunting for me—that old-school approach to the ghosts.
In particular, we’re having an enormous amount of fun talking about how to take some of the ideas from season one about hidden ghosts and things like that, and find new gears for them this time.
It’ll be the same type of story, and we’ll treat the ghosts very much the same way.
As for casting, Victoria Pedretti has been brought on to play the governess, as well as Oliver Jackson-Cohen. There’ll also be a few familiar faces: Henry Thomas, who plays Hugh Crain, has confirmed he will return.
In an interview with UNILAD, Thomas said he was interested to see where the second season would go, considering where the first season finished.
Thomas told UNILAD:
I think, for me, I’m interested in seeing what the story is going to be because the first season was its own complete story from beginning to end.
And for Hugh, and for the Crains, I think the story was kind of finished.
But we know that the house keeps its occupants there.
Carla Gugino has also teased at returning in the next season in some capacity – not necessarily as Olivia Crain. She told The Wrap: ‘Well, I can’t say anything definitive at this point, other than Mike and I really love collaborating and working together and any opportunity where a schedule allows for us to do that, we will, and I would be honored to.’
Flanagan and Gugino previously collaborated on Gerald’s Game, a Netflix film based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name. The director is also due to release Doctor Sleep, a highly-anticipated sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, later this year on November 8.
The Haunting of Hill House season 2, The Haunting of Bly Manor is due to hit Netflix sometime in 2020, although no exact date has been given. In the meantime, you can watch the first season now; pre-warning, it’ll scare the living shit out of you.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.