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Q: Was the scary movie "The Turning" based on anything? I thought it had that sort of feel.

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

It appears Hollywood is getting tired of the name "The Turn of the Screw," the novella by Henry James, which has been adapted as a film or TV show a whopping 36 times. One of the most recent adaptations is the 2020 film "The Turning."

The many remakes could be an expression of a popular desire to "solve" the book, in the words of New Yorker literary critic Brad Leithauser. The story leaves it up to the reader to decide (122-year-old spoiler ahead) whether the governess is living in a haunted house or whether she's insane.

Published in 1898, it is now viewed as a classic of the horror genre, alongside other often-filmed titles such as "Dracula" and "Frankenstein."

"The Turning" was a relatively faithful take on the source material (by horror standards, anyway), aside from the fact that it was set in the present and not at the end of the 19th century.

Despite the age of the book, there does seem to be a sudden frenzy for it among filmmakers (even if they're not so excited about the title). Two more adaptations have been released just since "The Turning" came out in January.

The U.K.-based Garsington Opera recorded its operatic take on the story and released it online this past winter. It's available free through GarsingtonOpera.org, if you're interested.

But more notably (in that it had a bigger budget), Netflix released a miniseries adaptation of the story just a few weeks ago, but again under a different title: "The Haunting of Bly Manor."

This one is extra confusing. Netflix released it under the new title so it could market it as a sequel to "The Haunting of Hill House," even though the stories aren't connected at all, and "The Haunting of Hill House" was based on a totally different book (by Shirley Jackson).

At least it didn't make the whole title up from scratch: Bly Manor is, in fact, the name of the house in "The Turn of the Screw."

 

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