There is little doubt that any ghost story like Henry James' The Turn of the Screw would involve a death or two. Not surprisingly, its Netflix adaptation The Haunting of Bly Manor has a lot of deaths and one, in particular, stands out as being very vicious although it doesn't appear in the source material. Now, show creator Mike Flanagan has explained why they decided to add a death scene that was not featured in the original novella.
In Bly Manor's penultimate episode The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, the origins of the Lady of the Lake was revealed. The episode focused on the story of sisters Viola and Perdita, the latter of whom killed her own sibling. Viola's spirit becomes trapped in a large chest that contains her daughter's inheritance and when Perdita opens it several years later, Viola violently kills her sister.
Now, here's the interesting part. The episode is actually a mini adaptation of James' short story of the same name where Perdita suffered the same fate. However, her corpse was simply discovered by her husband. With that in mind, Flanagan explained to Collider that Perdita's death was inspired by other works as well.
"The short story The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, other than having I think the best title of any short ghost story I’ve ever heard, in it I thought were the seeds of so many things that have become embedded in contemporary horror. You read the story as it is and you can see kind of the inspirations for The Ring and for The Grudge," Flanagan said.
"You see this example of supernatural revenge and you imagined, it’s so beautifully described in the book that they find the poor woman splayed out in front of the trunk with this frozen expression of horror on her face and the bruises of the fingers around her neck from the ghost that strangled her, and not only is that more aggressive and vicious than anything else Henry James ever wrote about a ghost, most of his ghosts are like incredibly polite and they just kind of like, 'Oh, hello.' That was fantastic," he concluded.
Perdita's death is truly one of the most shocking moments in Bly Manor and we'll probably be terrified of chests for the rest of our lives now.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is currently streaming on Netflix.