What Is Haunting of Bly Manor Based on? Henry James’ Turn of the Screw Explained

Netflix The Haunting of Hill House was a reimagining of the classic Shirley Jackson novel, transporting the action to modern times and focusing its horror tale on a family’s generational trauma. The follow-up series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is also a book-based psychological ghost story, although its source material is a bit more varied than Hill house. Here are all the details you need to create a Manor of Bly Reading list.

The series is primarily based on the 1898 novel by Henry James The turn of the screw, which has been adapted numerous times over the years, most notably by Jack Clayton in his acclaimed 1961 film Innocents, and more recently by director Floria Sigismondi in this year Turning. The turn of the screw was originally released in serialized form by Collier’s magazine between January and April 1898. It was very common at the time, and this is how much iconic British fiction began, including Charles Dickens’ debut novel Pickwick papers and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock holmes stories.

haunting bly manor


The turn of the screw tells the story of an anonymous young housekeeper who arrives at a remote mansion in the English countryside, where she has taken a job looking after a newly orphaned brother and sister. Although charmed by the idyllic and bucolic setting of the house and its expansive grounds, the housekeeper becomes increasingly unstable when she begins to experience strange visions and realizes that the house is haunted. This synopsis describes at least part of what happens in The Haunting of Bly Manor, although creator Mike Flanagan and his writing team have significantly expanded the story and characters, adding a lot of new elements to create a rich nine-episode series.

“The backbone of Turn the screw is about children who have no family, ”Flanagan said on the Manor of Bly defined earlier this year. “I’m very drawn to stories of family and trauma, and it’s kind of an improvised family, a family that comes together. There is trauma, but it’s not that kind of existential trauma that we dealt with at the start of the season. “

Flanagan & co. was also inspired by the source material beyond The turn of the screw– in fact, there are references to many works by Henry James in the series, and each episode is named after one of his short stories.

the haunting of bly manor l to r amelie smith as flora and victoria pedretti as dani in the haunting of bly manor cr eike schroternetflix © 2020


“One of the peculiarities of this season is that while we are using The turn of the screw as a kind of backbone of it, we dig into all of the other Henry James ghost stories as well, ”Flanagan said. “Turn the screwhas been adapted so many times that it’s really hard to make it fresh, but once we open it up to the rest of his work, and a lot that has never been adapted, there’s just a lot more to shoot.

Without spoiling anything specific about the season, there are a few short James stories that are particularly significant to the story. One is The romance of some old clothes, which tells the story of two sisters whose romantic rivalry turns into a tragedy from another world. Another is The beast in the jungle, who follows a man overwhelmed by a sense of doom, certain that his life is doomed to disaster. And the third is The Jolly corner, which focuses on a man who returns to his childhood home and finds it haunted by his alter ego – a physical manifestation of the man he could have been had he made different choices.

“You can really see the seeds that Henry James planted which then rippled into the horror fiction,” Flanagan said of James’ cannon dig for the new season. “Shirley Jackson was clearly inspired a little bit by Henry James, and Stephen King was inspired by Shirley Jackson. It was really cool going back to the beginning and being able to identify those sons who have always been with the genre. Since.”

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