Today, the official Twitter account of “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the follow-up season to last year’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” let its followers know to expect something extra spooky this Halloween season: Episodes will drop this fall.
The new season won’t continue the story of the ill-fated Craines; instead, showrunner Mike Flanagan has decided to make “Haunting” an anthology series. Stars Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, plus some other regulars from “Hill House,” will return as different characters, and the story will follow Bly Manor in a “Turn of the Screw” (the 1898 Henry James horror novella)-inspired tale.
As someone who steers way, way, way clear of horror anything, I won’t exactly be tuning in. But, of course, fans of the scary series are elated. Why is it that some people get off on being scared out of their pants while others run in the opposite direction?
It’s not just preference, as you may think; there’s actually some science that goes into whether or not we’re predisposed to enjoying fear. Some people are just biologically wired to fill a need to be scared -- in a controlled setting.
Some of our bodies, for example, get a rush from feeling and managing stress, while others crumble under the pressure. Watching a horror film creates a mild stress reaction, which sends energy rocketing around your body. For a percentage of the population, this is an invigorating experience.
“Some might make a positive meaning out of that -- they feel really alive [and] grounded in their bodies, almost like how you feel after a really intense yoga class or something that focuses all attention into your body,” sociologist Margee Kerr told the Huffington Post. “For other people, they might interpret that almost like a panic attack, where they’re feeling a sense of loss of control over what their body is doing.”
And all of that is well and good, of course, when there’s no actual threat present. Malcolm Turvey, director of the Film and Media Studies program at Tufts University, explained, “What’s special about consuming horror is you can feel certain strong feelings without suffering the consequences, which allows you to enjoy the sensation.”
There’s also the sense of accomplishing a goal or the relief of getting to the end of something difficult that fuels a love for horror. If you are, by nature, the kind of person who craves that type of validation, perhaps you’re more likely to sit with your hands over your face for two hours. For people not open to thrilling experiences or who tend to be more sensitive by nature, odds are horror films are not their thing.
So, what about you? Is "Haunting at Bly Manor" at the top of your watchlist?