This Is How Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Connects To ‘Hill House’
At long last, spooky season is upon us, and Netflix is pulling out all of the stops with the release of The Haunting of Bly Manor. The series is part of The Haunting of Hill House anthology which was initially released in 2018 to critical acclaim.
If you recall, Hill House was loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name and it follows two different timelines. Set initially in 1992, we follow the Crain family, Hugh, and Olivia along with their children—Steven, Shirley, Theodora, Luke, and Eleanor who all move into the sweeping Hill House in order to renovate it and eventually sell it. However, the repairs take longer than expected and strange things begin to happen which spiral into a horrific tragedy resulting in the family fleeing the home. In the present day, the siblings and their estranged father, Hugh, reunite to confront the past.
Now, Netflix is set to debut the second part in the anthology with The Haunting of Bly Manor. This is how Bly Manor and Hill House connect.
Inside Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’
Loosely based on Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, The Haunting of Bly Manor is set in the 1980s in England and follows Dani (Victoria Pedretti) who finds herself at Bly Manor in charge of two orphaned children. Creator Mike Flanagan explained to Elle, “This is definitely a love story.”
“We display a lot of different kinds of love—toxic love, convenient love, practical love,” Pedretti added. “When Dani comes to the U.K,, she’s definitely not looking for love, but she finds these beautiful connections. She does end up finding somebody that she begins to feel really safe and loved by and attracted to.”
However, as we all know, love can show up in various forms, romantic, platonic, toxic, and empowering.
You will see familiar faces from ‘Hill House in ‘Bly Manor’
In Hill House Pedretti played Eleanor “Nell” Crain Vance. In Bly Manor she steps into Dani’s shoes, an American governess, trying to find her place in the world. Other familiar faces in the story are Oliver Jackson-Cohen (who played Luke Crain) and Henry Thomas (who played the young incarnation of Hugh Crain). There are also some other familiar faces sprinkled throughout.
However, the roles that the actors are playing in Bly Manor are very different. “For a lot of us, with season 1, we didn’t want to revisit a lot of the places we went,” Flanagan said to Elle. “I know for Ollie, who really went through the wringer with how he was diving into addiction and depression, he felt like he had really crawled out of something by the end of [Hill House]. He really put himself through it.”
‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ doesn’t actually connect to ‘Hill House’
Like American Horror Story, with The Haunting Flanagan is circling around the same themes, even using the same actors, but the two stories don’t actually connect narratively. However, eagle-eyed fans will certainly see Easer eggs and nods.
“There are absolutely little nods, but they’re very subtle,” Flanagan explained to Elle. “A lot in dialogue—you’ll hear familiar phrases, but it was really important to the actors, and to Victoria especially, that she wanted to be as unfamiliar as possible. So there are neat little moments where this season and the last season touch each other, but it’s way more in ideas than it is in specific narrative or character connections.”
While Hill House focuses on family trauma, Bly Manor will focus on the bonds that tie strangers to one another. “This is kind of about an improvised family, and about people who don’t have a family,” Flanagan revealed.