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SYFY WIRE Midnight Mass

Mike Flanagan explores faith, religious themes of Netflix's 'Midnight Mass' in new behind-the-scenes featurette

By Matthew Jackson
Midnight Mass

For nearly a week now, horror fans have been digging into the rich darkness of Midnight Mass, the Netflix original horror miniseries from writer/director Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy. Like The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor before it, it's a show that combines tremendous emotional depth with an ensemble cast and some very creepy horror elements to produce an unforgettable experience. Now, in a new featurette, Flanagan and Macy are digging into how they pulled it off.

In the video below, which is thankfully spoiler-free for those of you who haven't yet dug deep into the series and its secrets, the duo -- who've been working as a director/producer team since Oculus nearly a decade ago -- explore the origins and the key themes of the series, beginning with Flanagan's own Catholic roots.

Check it out below:

For the filmmaker, who's been developing the story since "before [he] had a career," Midnight Mass presented an opportunity to dig deep into the big questions of faith that he's wrestled with for much of his life, and to try to view the world from other perspectives in the process.

"I wanted very much to try to tell a story wherein I would authentically try to inhabit both perspectives that exist within me, about faith and about religion, to see where I came out," Flanagan said.

In Flanagan's mind, that begins with Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), a recovering alcoholic who returns to his family home of Crockett Island after a stint in prison, haunted by a tragic mistake. Once there, he meets Father Paul (Hamish Linklater), a new priest who seems to be ushering in a miraculous age of renewal on the once declining again. But it's not what it seems.

Riley represents an "avatar" within the series for Flanagan, but according to Macy, Midnight Mass is often just as focused on the larger questions of faith and believe for the whole community, not just for one or two characters.

"The ethos of the show is to ask questions, not give answers," Macy said. "Those questions should really stay with you if we've done our jobs right."

Midnight Mass and its many questions are now streaming on Netflix.