Movies That Will Get You In The Mood For The Haunting Of Bly Manor

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The Haunting of Hill House redefined the horror TV genre when it debuted in 2018, managing what few other haunted house shows have accomplished — a massive fanbase and a swift season 2. The titular mini-series never had a problem with ratings, becoming a huge success overnight. While the follow-up season in the anthology isn't following the same characters, much of the original cast is involved with the similarly-titled Haunting of Bly Manor (including Victoria Pedretti, Kate Siegel, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Additionally, Hill house creator Mike Flanagan is helming the follow-up series.

Each show's plot loosely stems from an original novel: The Haunting of Hill House found inspiration from the book of the same name, while the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw instructed Bly Manor. Looming haunted houses take center stage in both series as they chronicle the lives of children tormented by unruly spirits, and — in the case of Hill House – how that kind of experience can affect a family after they're all grown up.

The Turn of the Screw kicks off on Christmas Eve, giving the story major holiday vibes. The show will hone in on young siblings and their new governess, who bites off more than she can chew when she takes the job at Bly Manor. While Hill House fans are preparing themselves for another spectacularly spooky mini-series from Flanagan, there are a slew of similar-minded movies to binge before viewers tackle Bly Manor. Between creepy holiday tales, historical gems, sibling ghost hunting teams, and straight-up bonkers horror, the chills and thrills don't have to stop with Hill House.

The Boy

What could possibly go wrong when you stick The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan in a mansion to babysit a doll? Nothing creepy, that's for sure. Right? (Wrong.) While most horror flicks have jump scares for days, The Boy manages to do what few horror films tend to do these days — surprise a discerning audience. With a genre filled with rinse-and-repeat tropes, most major horror fans can sense an ending miles away. But the 2016 film serves up a plot that genre fans are still talking about.

The creepy doll, named Brahms, gives off some pretty significant Robert the Doll vibes — the early 1900s doll serving out a life sentence in the Fort East Martello Museum for causing general mayhem (and displaying homicidal tendencies). Legend has it if visitors take a picture without Robert's permission, he'll haunt them until they write an apology. Have you ever written an apology letter to a doll? It's a sobering process (or so we hear). Like Robert, Brahms has his own quirks, and none of them are cute.

The Boy checks all of the horror boxes: classic haunting, romantic sub-plot, creepy doll, and a twisted and dysfunctional family that's par for the course when it comes to the Hill House and Bly Manor residents. With Supernatural's Lauren Cohan and Harry Greenwood from the Charmed reboot, fans will love checking into Brahm's mansion — but they may never check out. And just remember, cell service is spotty.


Creepy kids are important to horror, and both Bly Manor and Hill House have them in spades. Malevolent takes the concept ten steps further, featuring three young girls with their mouths sewn shut. Listen, everyone's wanted to make a kid stop yelling at some point, but perhaps sewing lips closed is taking things a little too far. The haunted house in Malevolent offers more secrets than it does answers, but what starts off as a con by fake paranormal investigative siblings quickly turns deadly when the brother-sister duo realizes that the house is actually haunted.

Let that be a lesson for anyone trying to monetize on ghosts: They will find you. The film's sibling nature is reminiscent of the Hill House family, with a host of animosity met with deep love and affection as each family comes to terms with their respective ghostly encounters. The British film revolves around Ben Lloyd-Hughs (who made a name for himself on big films like Divergent and Me Before You) and breakout star Florence Pugh who recently starred in Little Women (2019) as Amy March. Every family has their set of secrets, and the families featured in this film have quite a few skeletons in the closet. Literally.


The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor are deeply rooted in history — the former based on a novel from the '50s and the latter going back to the late 1800s. As such, there's nothing like a historical haunting to get into the zone before binging the new series. 

Like both installments of the original Netflix anthology series, Winchester's true star is the haunted house itself — where the last living Winchesters are haunted by the lost souls killed by the guns that made the family rich. Sarah Winchester, the kooky heiress, is played by the formidable Helen Mirren, and shares the forefront of the film along with Jason Clarke, who plays Dr. Eric Price. Jigsaw fans will recognize director sibling duo Michael and Peter Spierig, who took on the daunting task of bringing Winchester House to life. The Winchester Repeating Arms Company hires Price to assess Sarah's mental status, heavily suggesting that he declare her unfit to own most of its shares. Despite being massively in debt, the widowed doctor with a significant drug problem refuses to throw the results. He later discovers that the mansion houses as many unruly spirits as it does endless rooms. 

Ghostly rumors about the real-life Sarah Winchester — upon whom the film is partially based, and who renovated the Winchester house right up until her death — provided rich and compelling food for thought. The film tackles the choices we make, the consequences we face for them, and how responsible we are for the butterfly effect that follows every small decision each person makes.


For anyone who's ever exclaimed that holidays like Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day were created by greeting card companies to make money, the film Holidays is just what the doctor ordered. The anthology consists of delectable, bite-sized horror stories that run about 15 minutes and manage to be thought-provoking and puzzling enough to stump even the most discerning fans. 

The film takes on everything from childhood fears of the Easter Bunny to online dating, and pregnancies gone really wrong — and each piece comes with a horrific holiday twist. Performances from TV fan-favorites like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Family Guy's Seth Green and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Ava Acres join a cast of actors whose work will keep viewers awake at night as they ponder the sanctity of life, death, and ... snakes?

The most terrifying stories often don't tie up neatly in a box, but rather leave viewers questioning what happens next. Given The Haunting of Bly Manor's Christmasy horror roots in The Turn of the Screw, a holiday horror flick is the perfect thing to binge before tacking the Netflix anthology. 

The Babysitter

Sometimes, horror fans just need a break from the doom and gloom of family peril and terrifying hauntings. McG's The Babysitter is arguably the most compelling (and bonkers) horror-comedy of the past decade — a worthy successor to blockbuster hits like Scream, that essentially birthed the genre into what it is today.

With all of the components of a cutesy teenage 'while the adults are away, the teens will play' type of film, The Babysitter throws that trope right on its head, and nothing is as it seems. Instead of figuring out how young tween Cole (Judah Lewis) will hide the night's shenanigans from his parents, he has to figure out where the bodies are buried as he tries to escape the ritual his deranged babysitter has planned. Just imagine that conversation with mom when she comes home from date night. "What did you do with the babysitter?" "Oh, nothing much. Escaped a Satanic ritual and watched a bunch of people die, the usual." 

With a star-studded cast including Bella Thorne and Robbie Amell (The Duff), Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect), and Andrew Bachelor (Netflix's To All the Boys I've Loved Before), good luck deciding who to root for in this film: the somehow likable homicidal teenagers or the young protagonist?

Family Blood

Sidestepping hauntings and veering straight into fanged fiend territory, Family Blood chronicles a single mom's plight and her battle with overcoming addiction. As is often the case, enter the "perfect guy" who, instead of dragging her back into drugs, gets the young mom hooked on something much darker: blood. Hocus Pocus alum Vinessa Shaw (who played Allison in the classic Halloween film) tackles the struggling mom Ellie as she makes her descent from a pill addiction to a vampire's bloodlust — a similar predicament faced by Hill House's Luke (well, except for the whole bloodsucking thing). 

However, the kids steal the show with performances from actors like Colin Ford (Daybreak and Supernatural) and his on-screen love interest Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why and Empire). Family Blood is the horror film to watch if you're looking for a heavy dose of reality and metaphor. Among the subtext are, of course, the blood, guts, and glory that accompanies all the best horror films.  

Before I Wake

Prolific horror writer and King of the Macabre Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, "All that we see or seem is is but a dream within a dream". Much of his work explores the concept of reality within the scope of dreams, and it's a sentiment that's fueled nightmares (and horror) for generations, including the film Before I Wake.

If you die in your dream, but you don't abruptly wake up, do you die in real life? Can injuries within your dreams leech back into reality? Dreams are the perfect fodder for horror films, and popular films like Insidious and Before I Wake walk the line between imagination and reality — and the darkness that can come when those lines are blurred.

Like Bly Manor's predecessor, Before I Wake tests the bonds of family, centering around foster parents (Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane) who recently lost their child. The couple must figure out why their dead son is haunting their home, and grapple with the fact that their new son, Cody (Jacob Tremblay), manifests his nightmares and daydreams into the physical realm. Children are vessels for both the brightest and darkest images. One minute they're dreaming of butterflies, and the next, the most terrifying demons anyone dares imagine break into their minds. With a stellar cast and a truly moving plot, the family aspect of the film stands even stronger than the horror.

Haunting on Fraternity Row

We've seen haunted houses and eery mansions, but a haunted frat house is one for the books. Haunting on Fraternity Row has something for everyone — whether viewers have a grudge against Greek life or want some American Pie-esque comedy served hot with their horror. And by hot, we mean really hot. Definitely don't watch this film with family, but it's the perfect party horror premise for a virtual kegger when looking for some jump scares without wanting to be terrified.

The cast is nothing to blush about, either. Glee's Jacob Artist, G.B.F.'s Molly Tarlov, Hart of Dixie and Kick-Ass 2's, Claudia Lee, and The Conjuring's Shanley Caswell all make a gruesome appearance in the haunted frat film while decked out in their finest luau gear. The film is shot home video style, giving off some serious The Blair Witch Project vibes. Between pervy bunny costumes and the demons hiding behind the curtains, Haunting on Fraternity Row is a refreshing (and deadly) spin on typical jock films.