How to build a haunted house: On set at Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor

Bly Manor’s entry method. 


Bly Manor would not look haunted — in actual life, at the very least. The rooms are spacious and tastefully adorned, with wooden paneling and vintage furnishings. The kitchen is brightly lit with white tile and mossy inexperienced cupboards. The steps are broad. 

But when the portraits on the partitions appear to stare at you for a little bit too lengthy, or that stairway within the kitchen is just a bit too eerie, you’ll be able to at all times lookup on the ceiling of the sound stage and remind your self the place you actually are. 

That is  a haunted home, deconstructed, scattered throughout about 5  totally different phases, plus an exterior location that may persuade viewers it is really a grand previous British property relationship again to the 1600s. Right here, on the set of the primary ground of the home, one of many central areas for brand spanking new Netflix horror anthology The Haunting of Bly Manor, the key to creating a haunted home is forgetting concerning the haunted half. 

“I attempt to make units which might be stunning and someplace that you’d really prefer to stay,” says Patricio Farrell, set designer for The Haunting of Bly Manor. 

It is January in Vancouver, Canada, and Farrell and set decorator Mark Lane are main a tour, going room to room, from the massive entry method, to the eating room, an workplace, a portrait-lined hallway, a classroom and a kitchen seemingly bigger than some massive metropolis studio residences. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor, streaming now, is predicated on ghost tales by 19th century creator Henry James, notably Flip of the Screw. On this adaptation, a younger American lady turns into an au pair for a brother and sister who misplaced their dad and mom and stay at Bly Manor. The home, with its manicured gardens, initially appears idyllic for the younger lady, however she rapidly learns there’s one thing sinister beneath the floor. 

Early within the present, the voice over describes Bly Manor as a “good and good spot” that “yawned to welcome her dwelling.” It is also the sort of home the place “the rooms had been bigger at night time.”

People have suspected buildings of being haunted for hundreds of years. Historic Roman lawyer and author Pliny the Younger wrote a couple of home in Athens the place supposedly the ghost of an previous man rattled chains and was usually so unpleasant the home was finally deserted. Victorian houses particularly have turn out to be go-tos for paranormal exercise in literature and popular culture.

“It is the place the place we’re presupposed to be the most secure,” says Flanagan, describing the continuing fascination with experiencing hauntings at dwelling. “Homes have lives… they will carry echoes of what is gone in there earlier than. That fascination with who’s lived in an area we’re inhabiting earlier than we acquired there’ll by no means actually exit of favor, as a result of who would not get up of their home sooner or later at three a.m. and marvel if anyone else is watching them?” 


Some rooms will at all times be creepy, just like the basement.

Eike Schoter/Netflix

In designing Bly Manor, Farrell regarded to structure in Scotland and elsewhere across the UK. He concocted a backstory not talked about within the present, that the home has been constructed on previous Roman ruins and constructed the basement with that in thoughts. 

As Farrell notes, between basements and attics, there are just a few rooms that may at all times be creepy.

He additionally needed to look to the more moderen previous. The Haunting of Bly Manor is about within the 1980s, that means that amid all of the antiques, you’ll be able to spot a lamp or kitchen telephone clearly not authentic to the home. Lane talks about scouring vintage retailers for objects, in addition to both renting or constructing no matter they may want, together with customized designing all of the window remedies. 

A number of of the fireplaces really work, and a few of the decanters positioned in varied rooms have precise alcohol in them. Farrell and Lane aren’t telling which of them. 

When constructing Bly Manor, there was additionally the query of how one can differentiate it from season 1 of The Haunting of Hill Home, which blended Roman, Gothic and Tudor structure. And whereas within the first season, the decor masked hidden ghosts, luring the background, season two’s home did not need to.

“We relied on a variety of wainscot and wallpaper all over the place, and [were] at all times looking for wallpaper that both had or may very well be prefer it had a face,” Farrell says. There’s much less of that this time round. 

After which there’s that big kitchen, with a hearth so giant it may very well be a room of its personal. Lurking dying apart, it is fairly Instagramable. 

“The kitchen is, like for thus many people, the soul of the home,” Farrell says, “Season one was somewhat small, so this one is the revenge of the kitchen.” 

So, Bly Manor is not actually haunted. In the event you look carefully on the components of the set the place Bly meets development mission, you’ll be able to see screws and velcro. The small courtyard is simply across the nook from the craft companies desk. There are cables on the ground. And a few of the partitions do transfer, however solely to accommodate cameras filming cramped photographs. 

“Generally when you may have this similar area with lots much less gentle and also you see a toddler, or somebody strolling alone, the size itself makes it spooky,” Farrell says, “I am not attempting to make a spooky home.”

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Erin Carson