- The Haunting Of Bly Manor -14 Connections & Easter Eggs That Connect ‘Bly Manor’ & ‘Hill House’
Spoilers ahead for all of The Haunting of Bly Manor. The cinematic world that horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan has created is full of Easter eggs, nods to other ghost stories, and even his own work and The Haunting of Bly Manor is no exception. As it follows The Haunting of Hill House as the second installment of The Haunting franchise, connections between Hill House and Bly Manor were inevitable. And spotting them is part of the spooky fun of watching Bly Manor.
While the characters don't cross over in the new season, Bly Manor's storytelling is similar to its predecessor with flashbacks and episodes focusing on different characters. The setting is familiar too with creepy rooms and spacious grounds for lots of ghosts (and statues) to observe the living. And since they are both haunted house stories, kids seeing ghosts is a must. (Miles and Flora are pretty much Luke and Nell 2.0.)
But beyond general themes and atmosphere, Bly Manor gives some direct nods to Hill House. Here are just some of the more ways these two horror stories connect.
1. The Actors
The most obvious connection is Flanagan's crossover cast. Carla Gugino (Olivia), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke), Victoria Pedretti (Nell), Kate Siegel (Theo), and Henry Thomas (Hugh) — all former members of the Crain family — return for the second installment.
But this time around, no one is related. Pedretti's Dani and Jackson-Cohen's Peter Quint are both employees of Thomas' Lord Henry Wingrave. Siegel's role of the Lady in the Lake (Viola Lloyd) was kept hush-hush before the series dropped — as was the real identity of Gugino's storyteller, who is Jamie as an older woman. Bly Manor also sees the return of Catherine Parker as Charlotte Windgrave, who played Poppy the ghost in Hill House.
Flanagan often works with the same actors and Gugino, Thomas, and Siegel (the filmmaker's real-life wife) have appeared in other projects of his as well and part of the fun of Bly Manor is seeing how these familiar Hill House actors interact with one another in these new roles.
Flora's dollhouse in Bly Manor is a major source of scares and, if you look closely, acts as a blueprint of where (and who) all the ghosts are in the house. There was a dollhouse in Hill House too. Rather than it detect the supernatural, Theo uses is it with her child patients in her psychology office.
The Crain kids kept trying to find the key that would open the door to the Red Room in Hill House (joke was on them). In Bly Manor, Peter Quint has a strange philosophy about keys that he passes down to Miles that harkens back to all the key-trying in Hill House: "If you want someone to open a door, you have to try different keys."
4. "Come Home"
Flora's drawing to her brother Miles in "The Pupil" may have reminded you of Luke's many creepy childhood drawings in Hill House. But the message that she sent — "Come Home" — is also similar to the devastatingly ominous message that was underneath the wallpaper on the walls of Hill House — "Come Home, Nell."
5. The Ghosts In The Background
There were an astounding amount of ghosts lurking in the background in Hill House, something Flanagan teased viewers about on Twitter. Bly Manor is no exception with the Lady in the Lake's victims hanging around the house to be spotted, including a particularly freaky bird man (turns out, he's a plague doctor).
6. Headlight Eyes
In Hill House's "The Twin Thing," when Luke sees the ghost of his mother, Olivia, her eyes turn into headlights of a car. Throughout the first half of Bly Manor, Dani is haunted by the ghost of her former fiancé, whose coke bottle glasses are filled with the blaze of the headlights from the car that killed him.
7. Quoting Hamlet
During a conversation with Mrs. Dudley about religion in the first episode of Hill House, Steven and Olivia quote Shakespeare's Hamlet when they say, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
In Episode 5 of Bly Manor, Owen — well, not really Owen, but the Owen in Hannah Grose's confused ghost mind — also quotes the Prince of Denmark, this time from Act III. "To sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream — ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil."
Dani wears a heart-shaped locket during Eddie's funeral. While it's not the same shape as the locket that Pedretti's other The Haunting character wore, it could be a nod to how Nell dies in Hill House — by accepting her mother's locket around her neck, which ended up being a noose.
Miles gives Dani a butterfly clip to wear that belongs to Miss Jessel. Flora also has framed butterflies on her wall. Butterflies were prominent in Flanagan's 2016 movie Before I Wake and fans had spotted a visual nod in the season finale of Hill House with a framed butterfly behind Luke in one scene.
10. The Bent-Neck Lady & The Stairs
Olivia foreshadows someone hanging from the stairs in Hill House in "The Twin Thing," which ends up being Nell as the "Bent-Neck Lady" when she's an adult. No one meets that fate in Bly Manor and there are no spiral staircases, but bad things happening on stairs and broken necks do occur.
In the first Bly Manor episode, Flora tells Dani about the "lovely stairs" while giving her a tour. "If you fall, you can injure yourself and the stairs are not forgiving, not forgiving in the least." Later, we watch Viola's Lady in the Lake very unforgivingly drag her victims down the stairs. As for broken necks, Hannah Grose's would often hear the sound of a snapping neck — a hint that she dies when she's pushed down a well.
11. "Forever House"
Olivia promised Shirley that after they flipped Hill House, the next home they lived in would be their "forever house." As an adult, Shirley built a model of the forever house her mother had designed. But the irony is Hill House became the place where Olivia, Nell, and Hugh would call home forever for a far less heartwarming reason.
In Bly Manor, ghost Peter manipulates Flora and Miles into thinking they can be tucked away in a "forever house" with their dead mummy and daddy if only they give their bodies up to his and Rebecca's spirits.
12. Ghost Footprints
The Lady in the Lake leaves muddy footprints all over Bly Manor as she comes into the house from the lake every single night. In Hill House's "Eulogy" episode, Olivia's dirty footprints lead Theo and Hugh to Shirley's destroyed "forever house" model.
13. Romantic Montages
Pedretti's characters in both Hill House and Bly Manor got a glimpse of true happiness for just a little while in Nell and Dani's love montages. In Hill House, Nellie and Arthur watch To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly; in Bly Manor, Dani and Jamie watch Sabrina with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. In Hill House, Arthur puts an engagement ring in Nell's champagne glass; in Bly Manor, Dani puts an engagement ring in the roots of a plant she gives to Jamie. Awww, isn't horror romantic?
14. You, Me, Us
The ghosts of Bly Manor can be invited into a living person's body with the words: "It's you. It's me. It's us." There are echoes of this "you, me, us" theme in Hill House. Luke tells Nellie, "It's just you and me" when he's asking his twin to buy him drugs in Episode 5. In a sweeter moment, Shirley tells her husband Eric in the last episode, "I know it'll be OK, because it's us."
By the end of Bly Manor, Dani saying these words is the ultimate sacrifice since she gives her body to the Lake in the Lake to save everyone else — just as Hugh Crain sacrificed himself to Hill House to spare his family. In the end, both of these ghosts stories were about love after all.
Images: Eike Schroter/Netflix, screenshots