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Discussion Starter #61
Haunting of Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan teases that new season is 'a gothic romance story'

Star Victoria Pedretti and executive producer Trevor Macy also tease what's in store in the second installment of the horror anthology series.

By Lauren Huff

Mike Flanagan is welcoming fans to Bly Manor.

In the exclusive video below, "Behind the Scenes: From Hill House to Bly Manor," the series creator is joined by executive producer Trevor Macy to tease what viewers can expect from the highly anticipated second entry in the horror anthology.

The new season, which follows 2018's Haunting of Hill House, is a standalone adaptation based on the ghost stories of Henry James. It stars Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton, an American who is hired to be the new au pair to two troubled children, Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) Wingrave, at their family's estate in the English town of Bly in the 1980s. As was the case at Hill House, not all is well at creepy Bly Manor, which is also home base for groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), housekeeper Mrs. Grose (T'Nia Miller), and on-site chef Owen (Rahul Kohli).

Although it's a new story with new characters, Flanagan says he approached it much the same way as the first season. "Similar to The Haunting of Hill House, I really wanted to play more with ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we do carry around — how the past and present can echo each other, that moments don't fall like dominoes, they fall like confetti," he says. "Though Haunting of Hill House is about a very tight family, Bly Manor is about strangers, a family that is created. All of the people that inhabit Bly Manor come from completely different backgrounds, and get to know each other through friendship, tension, conflict, and love. What sets Bly Manor apart is that at its heart, it's a love story. It's a gothic romance story."

"I think that it's different from the first season in that it plays with your heart in different ways," Pedretti tells EW. "It's beautiful and tragic."

The new season also features some familiar faces from the first one. In addition to Pedretti, who played Nell Crain in Hill House, Bly Manor will see the return of Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, and Kate Siegel.

"You get to see a different side of them this time than you did last time," Macy says of the returning stars. "[They] are really wonderfully woven into the fabric of this season in a way that I think fans will like." For Pedretti specifically, that meant taking on a more nurturing role this time around. "I think it's all about the children [for Dani]," she says. "It's really important that the young are not only just looked at and cared for, but nurtured, and that is something that's very important to Dani."

Ultimately, Flanagan hopes fans see the connection between a good love story and a good ghost story. "The two are really the same thing, how each of us when we fall in love is kind of giving birth to a new ghost, something that is going to follow us for the rest of our lives," he says in the video. "I hope that that intermingling of a ghost story and a love story is really impactful for people, and I think by the end of the season the line between the two is pretty much obliterated entirely."

Pedretti adds that she hopes viewers take with them "the power of being yourself and living your truth, because the more that we all do that, the more it opens doors for future generations to be able to live more freely and truly to their heart."

The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix.

 

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Discussion Starter #63
‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Is a Wan, Convoluted Follow-Up: TV Review

By Daniel D'Addario

Two years ago, Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” was the most pleasant of surprises — though perhaps “pleasant” is not the word. The series was often terrifying, thanks in part to strong pacing, performances that worked across the board and a willingness to wear an unusual ambition and intellect proudly. Horror on TV was not new: The show, a closed-ended limited series, existed within a context established by Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” earlier in the decade. But that show is rooted in a vampy, campy sensibility and, distractable in its broadness, has often lost its way. “The Haunting” was different. Methodically built using the work of novelist Shirley Jackson and willing to flaunt its intellect as well as its jumps in time, Mike Flanagan’s TV series — released before his high-profile leap to elevated multiplex material with 2019’s “Doctor Sleep” — seemed proof positive that there was a path for genre fare beyond Murphy’s venerable franchise.

That makes “The Haunting of Bly Manor” a somewhat deflating disappointment. The follow-up series, which shares with its predecessor a sensibility, a high-flying literary inspiration (the work of Henry James this time), a crisp and pristine visual aesthetic and some cast members, never takes flight in the way genre devotees might expect. For one thing, it’s too rarely really scary; for another, more important one, it gets confounded by its own story, doing something that’s less like toggling between corners of a complicated tale and more like losing threads. By the time the series concludes, after some nine hours, it’s fair to wonder what, exactly, the journey had been for.

Which is not exactly Jamesian! The master novelist was not one to use an extraneous word, character or moment; “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” lacking his precision, is instead spreading and sprawling. The story starts off in the U.K. in 1987, as an American expat (Victoria Pedretti) pleads with the lord of a local manor (Henry Thomas) for a job caring for his orphaned niece and nephew. These two unfortunate souls, who find in Pedretti’s character an eager and solicitous au pair, are played by Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth; the two child performers have mastered the art of sweet-natured mischief, explaining away their chaos as the stuff of children even when it seems to originate from a deeper and more sinister wellspring.

So far, so familiar: This is the plot of the novella “The Turn of the Screw,” and Flanagan carries it across elegantly. But his decision to draw upon various other James works, building out a series that ranges centuries into the past to explain the house’s bad vibes and plumbs the disparate traumas of other of the manor’s residents, yields diminishing returns. The further we get from what had been the show’s center, the less a center is apparent at all.

Why is this a problem, when “Hill House” also roved between its family members and skipped back and forth in time? Perhaps it’s the nature of the house’s curse, which has certain members living through a nightmare whose horrific power is its repetitious blandness. T’Nia Miller, who plays the housekeeper of Bly Manor (and was a standout on the remarkable limited series “Years and Years,” a horror story of a different sort) is well equipped to play the terminal, painful boredom and loneliness of being stuck in time, but she could do a lot more too. Sometimes the show jars less for structural issues than for jangling, underwritten lines. “I understand death. I know what loss is,” Pedretti’s nanny declares flatly in her job interview. Later, speaking to one of her young charges, she declares, “I’ve lost people a few ways in my life.” By the time we get around to excavating her trauma, it’s been so showily, cryptically teased that it would feel like an anticlimax no matter what.

Pedretti, such a revelation in “Hill House,” is misplaced this time around; that she’s left behind is the consequence of a show that can’t quite get a bead on what it wants to be. Bundling together James’ stories is a theoretically laudable goal as long as you don’t consider that stories are self-contained for a reason: They possess themes and elements that would take meaningful effort and great good luck to merge. Flanagan did not get lucky this time, and this second “Haunting” series looks less like the alternative it might have been and more like “American Horror Story”: a show with a lot to recommend it but precious little in the way of cohesion.




 

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Discussion Starter #65
‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ House Gets Real Zillow Listing With Creepy Easter Eggs

“The Manor is currently inhabited by the remaining members of the Wingrave family,” the listing reads

Want to buy the mansion of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor?” Well, here’s your chance: the house is listed on Zillow, accompanied by plenty of photos to give you the creeps.

OK, you can’t actually buy the house. It’s just a clever marketing campaign for the show that is releasing on Oct. 9.

“Bly Manor is a perfectly splendid 17th-century home in the English Countryside,” the listing reads. “The Manor is currently inhabited by the remaining members of the Wingrave family and their staff, who welcome guests of all ages and backgrounds to stay as long as they’d like.”

According to the listing, the property features “markings of its previous residents” and an “airy and expansive quality, particularly in the evenings.” However, the master wing is “off limits.” The listing has been on Zillow for an “eternity.”

Look closer at the pictures and you’ll see creepy footprints leading up to the staircase, abandoned shoes at the lake with what looks to be two human shapes in the water (although no swimming is allowed), and an ominous shadow lurking at the end of the hallway.

Here’s the official description for “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” which premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix:

From “The Haunting of Hill House” creator Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy comes “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the next highly anticipated chapter of “The Haunting” anthology series, set in 1980s England. After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. At Bly Manor, dead doesn’t mean gone.
The show stars Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel and Tahirah Sharif.

 

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Discussion Starter #66
‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ Stars on Moving Out of ‘Hill House’ Family Drama and Into a Possessive Love Story

Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen tell TheWrap about transitioning from twins to strangers

“The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the second chapter of Mike Flanagan’s “The Haunting” anthology, launches Friday with a completely different story and characters from its first season, “The Haunting of Hill House.” But while Bly is home to different residents, some of its key inhabitants are played by those who dwelled in Hill House, including Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

In short, the two seasons are just “wildly different,” Pedretti told TheWrap.

For 2018’s “Hill House,” based on the Shirley Jackson novel the same name, Pedretti and Jackson-Cohen played twins Nellie and Luke Crain, the youngest members of large a family that moved into the central haunted house one summer and were forever traumatized by the events that occurred there.

In “Bly Manor,” the actors play two strangers versus a set of siblings: Dani Clayton, who comes to Bly to become a nanny to two “unusual” young children, and Peter Quint, “a charming fellow” who lives at Bly Manor and “makes life very difficult for everyone there.”

“I think Mike has done something quite clever, which was, he said early on, ‘I’m done with the Crains, I think we’ve told their story. We have to now do something entirely different.’ And I think that’s what he’s done. ‘Hill House’ was about grief and mental illness and addiction and depression and childhood trauma and all of these different things. And ‘Bly,’ fundamentally, is about love and about all the facets of love.”

Set in 1980s England, “Haunting of Bly Manor” takes place after an au pair’s tragic death prompts Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) to hire Dani, a young American nanny to care for his orphaned niece Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and nephew Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller). But per Netflix’s description, “all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance.”

The show, which is based on the supernatural stories of Henry James, also stars Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel and Tahirah Sharif.

“Most the times when we think about love, we think about the exciting moments and the butterflies and the rainbow parts of it,” Jackson-Cohen said. “And actually, there is a much darker side to love and I think that Mike has done an incredible job of weaving that into the show — which is a horror show — by exploring the idea of possession. And I don’t mean demonic possession, but possessing someone you are in a relationship with, and how people behave when they are in love. And I think it’s a fascinating thing I hadn’t ever seen done before. So it’s a very, very different show. It’s a gothic romance. But there are familiar faces — and it’s still Mike Flanagan, so you get these characters that appear a certain way and then you’re shown an entirely different side, so it makes you question everything that you’ve thought about them before.”

As far as other changes go, Pedretti says her “Hill House” and “Bly Manor” alter egos are “very, very different.”

“Nellie is certainly a bit less ambitious, she just kind of wants to make things work with her family, really desperately, and take care of herself and be happy. Dani is very committed as a teacher. She really wants to help others, who she is not related to at all, to feel safe and empowered in the world. She’s from the midwest and Nellie is from the East Coast. Nellie grew up with a lot more comforts than Dani did. They both have a lot of similarities still also. As do we all.”

Jackson-Cohen says he and Pedretti had to tackle their “Bly Manor” parts in “entirely different ways” from “Hill House,” including adding their own pieces to the characters this time around.

“It was nice to go into ‘Bly Manor’ knowing we’ve got a trust,” he told TheWrap. “We’ve always got this trust between us already figured out. So it was quite freeing, in a way. This time around it felt like a real collaboration, collaborating on the character and on the story. And Mike was very open and trusting of Victoria and I to bring our own ideas and to present those and to incorporate those into the story and the script. So it was a very fortunate position that we were in.”

“The Haunting of Bly Manor” launches Friday on Netflix.

 

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I watched the first 3 episodes so far and I’m liking it, but the first 30 minutes or so of it were a bit rough. Henry Thomas’ delivery was so forced. Perhaps doing a British accent threw him off, but it felt like he was just reading his lines out loud for the first time and hadn’t figured out his role yet so there was no personality in it. And Flora was a bit “too British” but I’ll give her some slack because she’s young.

I went into this without reading anything ahead of time. I recognized Thomas right away but didn’t realize Dani and Peter were also from the first series. This is kind of like American Horror Story.
 

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Yeah, we are three episodes in as well...pretty slow but I like the slow burn - I'm hoping the pace and creepiness picks up. I feel like I was fully creeped out by Episode 3 of Hill House
 

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I've watched the first 3 episodes and I'm enjoying it...it's not as good as Hill House but I like the atmosphere and characters...the showrunner stated that this season is more of a gothic romance then horror and I'm fine with it...the 2 child actors who play Flora and Miles are adorable and creepy at the same time...hiring the same cast from S1 in different roles isn't as distracting as I thought it might be...it works fine outside of Carla Gugino who reminds me too much of Hill House

top notch marks for the Dolby Vision implementation...not eye searing HDR but a gorgeous natural color palette and everything from skin tones to detail on clothing look very nice

Hill House had excellent audio in terms of ambient sound...rear speaker activity for positional audio was one of the best implementations I've heard on a TV series...Bly Manor is also very good in this regard
 

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I have a 4K tv but don’t have the upgraded Netflix subscription and I noticed a lot of macro-blocking(?) in the dark background. The faces and bright scenes are ok. I don’t know if it’s Netflix, my tv, or my WiFi connection.
 

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I have a 4K tv but don’t have the upgraded Netflix subscription and I noticed a lot of macro-blocking(?) in the dark background. The faces and bright scenes are ok. I don’t know if it’s Netflix, my tv, or my WiFi connection.
definitely not inky blacks...but overall I think this is an excellent HDR presentation
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Finished the series over the weekend. Not nearly as good as Hill House but as a standalone it is enjoyable enough to watch. Almost no scary moments, instead the moments were more intriguing of why they were happening and a couple we laughed at when I think they wanted us to be scared (e.g. lady in the attic).

The use of the flash backwards and such, while cool in the first few episodes, is WAY over done throughout the series. Some episodes it is constant and while it is not confusing or anything, just felt over done and a little boring. The episode on how Bly Manor got started was kind of cool but was easily twice as long as it needed to be. Telling us about 50 times that she slept, woke, walked was just annoying and boring. We get the point, move on. It did explain a lot about the house and why but that could have been done in 30 minutes, not an hour.

I give it a B-.
 

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Just finished it - it so weirdly different than Haunting of Hill House...to me. I don't remember Hill House being so emotional (besides absolutely creepy) as this second iteration...definitely felt over-long and dragged in areas. 6-7 episodes would have been a nice sweet spot I think.

Not sure what I thought...
 
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