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10 October 2020 10:39

They’re very, very subtle,” Kniest says.

the haunting of hill house

Watching The Haunting of Bly Manor can be a somewhat confusing experience then. Even to the well-trained eye, it at first seems as though Flanagan didn't follow up on his pledge to up the series' ghost game. But according to the Bly Manor cinematographer James Kniest, the ghosts are still present this time around, just a little harder to see. "They're very subtle. They're very, very subtle," Kniest says.

The Haunting of Bly Manor and the Anatomy of an Easter Egg

"That was something that Mike (Flanagan) was really cognizant about in not making them too obvious." It turns out that improving upon the show's hidden ghost gambit to Flanagan meant making the ghosts harder for viewers (who were now expecting them) to spot. "They were always meant to be very subtle and not on the nose," Kniest says. "And that was probably some of our biggest conversations with how bright to light the ghosts in the background and then how to deal with them in post. Sometimes they're in reflections. Look in the dark corners. Look behind stairs and places like that." On a second viewing of the series, one should begin to notice that the ghosts appear as early as the season's first episode. In the first hour alone, we were able to spot the ghost of a plague doctor at 26:45 (behind the door, whenever it's from Miles' perspective), 32:55 (an extreme close-up outside kitchen), and 50:00 (at the end of the hallway).