Creator Mike Flanagan Reveals ‘The Lifeblood’ of ‘The Haunting’ Anthology: What to Expect in Season 3

The Haunting anthology — both Hill House and Bly Manor — are redefining the dramatic horror landscape. While remaining steadfast in their commitment to suspense and terror, the underbelly of the series fixates on humanity – love, loss, turmoil, and familial conflict. The Netflix anthology takes This Is Us and adds in The Conjuring. Ghost stories clash with the human condition; it’s horror meets heart. 

The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

The Haunting of Hil House and The Haunting of Bly Manor both premiered to critical adulation. Though vastly different in a narrative, their purposes remained the same. Both seasons focus on character exploration and trauma — past pain lingering over the present. The horrifying is merely the device the creators use to convey their more profound messages; horror is not the core but rather the vehicle used to communicate the complex thematic undertones. 

While both seasons have adapted famous and classic ghost stories, the source material for season 3 remains unconfirmed. Yet, if and when season 3 comes, the barebones will mirror the former two seasons. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Mike Flanagan discussed the series and the string that will connect each installment. 

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‘Bly Manor’ creator Mike Flanagan reveals what ghost stories are all about — at their most basic level 

Flanagan told Entertainment Weekly that a “ghost story is simply an element from the past that refuses to live in the past…” In remaining tethered to that concept during the creative process, Hill House and Bly Manor came to life. He shared: 

A ghost is simply an element of the past that refuses to live in the past and instead just encroaches upon the present that it alters the present. It changes the trajectory of the person who’s experiencing that little piece of the past… That link between memory and ghosts and between ghosts and the past, that is the lifeblood of the show.

Mike Flanagan / Entertainment Weekly 

Moving forward with the anthology

Flanagan went on to explain that the intention for the anthology is to continue on with the series in the same fashion — to continue to discover a way to communicate with something that is much less complex than many a ghost film would leave viewers to believe. He shared: 

I feel like there’s no shortage of ghosts in the world for all of us…So, if we could find some common language with which to talk about them, then that’s something we always aspire to do this season or beyond if that’s the way it goes.

Mike Flanagan / Entertainment Weekly 

Given the success of the show, a third season feels inevitable. The first season saw Shirley Jackon’s work come to life; the second season took Henry James’ works and transferred them to the screen. Who’s next? From Robert Louis Stevenson to Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Riddell, there are many writers famous for Victorian horrors to choose from.