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Mike Flanagan: Why Netflix's 'Midnight Mass' wouldn't work as a season of 'The Haunting' and needs to stand alone

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Sep 14, 2021, 1:51 PM EDT

Midnight Mass, the new Netflix original horror series from writer/director Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy, is still shrouded in mystery, which has led some fans to wonder if the show might secretly be the next addition to the Haunting franchise Flanagan and Macy began with The Haunting of Hill House and continued last year with The Haunting of Bly Manor.

The shows do share quite a bit, from the creative team behind the camera to the actors bringing the story to life in front of it, but speaking to Entertainment Weekly about Midnight Mass, Flanagan stressed that it's in no way a continuation of The Haunting.

"One of the things that defines the Haunting anthology for me is that both of them so far are about updating and riffing on existing classic literature," Flanagan said. "Midnight Mass was always so original and important and personal, it just never felt like it was ever going to be a part of that universe."

The Haunting of Hill House, released in 2018 to critical acclaim, was loosely adapted from Shirley Jackson's legendary novel of the same name, with a story centered on the title stately home. The Haunting of Bly Manor, released last year, was even more loosely adapted from the ghost stories of Henry James, and was set in the title home that James used for the setting of his most famous tale, The Turn of the Screw.

By contrast, Midnight Mass is set on Crockett Island, a sparsely populated community largely built around the local Catholic church, where a charismatic new priest (Hamish Linklater) has just set up shop and seemingly ushered in a new era of miracles on the fading island. As Flanagan stressed, it's also an original story that he's been developing for years as a standalone piece of horror, while The Haunting has always had its roots in pre-existing classics.

Still, that doesn't mean we'll never get a new Haunting season out of Flanagan and Macy. The duo are very busy at the moment developing everything from Christopher Pike's The Midnight Club to James Tynion IV's Something Is Killing the Children, but the right story could come along and make The Haunting Season 3 possible.

"If the stars align in such a way that we decide to go back into the Haunting world, it would have to be so much on that track that we've set up," Flanagan said. "It would have to be with the right piece of IP, it would have to be with the right ghost-centric story, and it would have to really fit with Bly and Hill House."

Midnight Mass arrives Sept. 24 on Netflix.