Bly Manor Isn't A Real Place, But These Spooky Locations Might Have Been Its Inspiration

- The Haunting Of Bly Manor -
Bly Manor Isn't A Real Place, But These Spooky Locations Might Have Been Its Inspiration

Rationally speaking, I know normal houses are inanimate, insentient, still structures. But haunted houses you find in horror stories? Well those are very much ~alive~.

For the second installment of Netflix's The Haunting anthology series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, viewers are whisked off to Bly Manor, which in the show is located in Essex, England. There (as you probably know from watching the show) things get pretty terrifying. (There are ghosts. A lot of them.)

In case you are hoping to book Bly Manor as the next stop on your post-quarantine vacation, I'll have to stop you right there. While the countryside of Essex is very much real, Bly Manor (or Bly in general) is completely fictitious and comes from Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw, which Bly Manor is primarily based on.

According to creator Mike Flanagan, filming for The Haunting of Bly Manor, the show filmed from October 2019 to February 2020 and took place in Vancouver. Netflix confirmed in a statement to The Dipp that the English countryside you see in the series is in fact British Columbia, Canada. And ahead of the new season, a fake house listing for Bly Manor popped on Zillow, advertising its "mesmerizing lake," "antique doll collection," and its "off-limits" master wing.

While you can't tour the filming location of The Haunting of Bly Manor (would you really want to?), below you can tour some of the other real-life locations that filled in for Bly Manor in other adaptations of James' very prolific work below. (Good luck!)

The Innocents (1961): Sheffield Park

In a Vanity Fair article, Flanagan said this adaptation starring Deborah Kerr was his favorite of James' work and is a "huge, huge influence" on The Haunting of Bly Manor. The Innocents cinematographer Freddie Frances reflected in his memoir (via Criterion and courtesy of Scarecrow Press) that most of the exteriors of the film were shot at Sheffield Park and Gardens in East Sussex, England. Meanwhile, the interiors were shot at a studio. But you can still tour the grounds of this UK National Trust site.

Virtual tour: Sheffield Park

The Nightcomers (1971): Sawston Hall

Marlon Brando plays Peter Quint in this prequel to The Turn of the Screw. As director Michael Winner recalled to The Guardian, it was filmed at Sawston Hall in Cambridge. According to the Daily Mail, Sawston Hall was built in the 1500s and, like Bly Manor, is said to be allegedly haunted by Queen Mary.

Virtual tour (which only shows a graveyard. Fitting): Sawston Hall

The Haunting of Helen Walker (1995): Englefield House

This TV adaptation has the governess (played by Valerie Bertinelli) named Helen Walker and features the recently departed Diana Rigg as Mrs. Grose. According to the book Adapting Henry James to the Screen, the movie filmed at Englefield House on the Englefield Estate and it "takes great care to show the landscape surrounding the house." The mansion has also been featured in The Crown, X-Men: First Class, and The King's Speech.

Virtual tour: Englefield House

Presence of Mind (1999): Raixa Estate

Instead of giving audiences the traditional English manor, the film Presence of Mind transports James' story to the Spanish island of Mallorca. Even though the estate is more open feeling, it's still very isolating for the governess (as any good of Bly Manor should be). The Spanish-American movie features Harvey Keitel, Lauren Bacall, Sadie Frost, and Frost's very famous ex (not to bury the most crucial part of this or anything) Jude Law.

Virtual tour: Raixa Estate

The Turn of the Screw (2009): Brympton House

In pre-Downton Abbey roles, this BBC film stars Michelle Dockery as the governess and Dan Stevens as her psychiatrist for a little bit of a Lady Mary and Matthew preview. Brympton House in Somerset, England, fills in for Bly (the BBC reports it was also featured in Chocolat). And while it's spooky on-screen, it's advertised as a wedding venue on its website, complete with a church and a "party barn."

Virtual tour: Brympton House

The Turning (2020): Killruddery House

Earlier this year there was another Turn of the Screw adaptation called The Turning, starring Mackenzie Davis and Finn Wolfhard. While it was set in Maine, it filmed at the Killruddery House in County Wicklow, Ireland — just south of Dublin. According to its website, the striking estate has also been featured in the far-less-haunting fare of Becoming Jane and Ella Enchanted. You can book tours of the house in real life, but in case you're not planning to make it to Ireland anytime soon, here's a ...

Virtual tour: Killruddery House

Bly Manor may not be a real place, but as The Haunting anthology and these other The Turn of the Screw adaptations prove, this location can still haunt your nightmares.

Images: Netflix, 20th Century Studios, Embassy Pictures, CBS, Cargo Films, BBC, Universal Pictures

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