This story will contain light spoilers. No direct plot details, but we’re going to talk about some characters.
Mike Flanagan has done it again. After surprising audiences with his updated adaptation of a classic in 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House, and throwing things in another direction with the almost gothic romance of 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, Flanagan returned for a third Netflix series with Midnight Mass. It’s worth noting that Mass doesn’t have Haunting in its title; while it’s from the same creator and many of his usual collaborators, it was no accident that this new series was meant to stand apart from the previous two.
Mass is the story of Crockett Island, a small community that’s big on faith (and, sometimes, even bigger on judgment). When a mysterious priest shows up early on in the show’s run, well, that’s when the horror aspect of everything starts settling in. The show is heavy on dialogue, yes, so anyone watching is going to need to ditch their phone for a few hours—but the payoff is worth it. Every character on Midnight Mass is fully formed, and the cast is phenomenal across the board, including a standout performance from Hamish Linklater.
After watching Midnight Mass, though, it’s fair to wonder if its connected in some larger world to the events of Flanagan’s previous Netflix projects, The Haunting of Hill House or The Haunting of Bly Manor. Luckily, we have a pretty definitive answer to that question.
Is Midnight Mass connected to The Haunting of Hill House or The Haunting of Bly Manor?
As far as plot goes, no. Also as far as characters go, no. Midnight Mass is an entirely original story that Flanagan cooked up, whereas The Haunting of Hill House was based on a Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, and The Haunting of Bly Manor was based on Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw. All three projects, as far as storytelling and characters, are entirely separate.
Midnight Mass does share some external connections with Hill House and Bly Manor, though.
Much like the American Horror Story seasons, Flanagan likes to use many of the same collaborators from one project to another, though. James Flanagan—Mike’s brother—is one example, getting a writing credit on four episodes of Midnight Mass after also writing on an episode of Hill House and appearing in small roles in his movies Absentia, Oculus, Gerald’s Game, and Doctor Sleep, and also in Hill House. The music from Midnight Mass is scored by The Newton Brothers, who have done the music for every Flanagan project since Oculus in 2013.
Additionally, you’ll likely recognize several Midnight Mass actors from previous Flanagan joints:
Siegel, who plays Erin Greene in Midnight Mass, is one of Flanagan’s most frequent collaborators (and also his wife in real life). She played Adult Theo in The Haunting of Hill House and had a smaller role in The Haunting of Bly Manor, appearing in only two episodes as Viola. She also appeared in his movies Gerald’s Game, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Hush, and Oculus.
Thomas—best known for his child acting role in E.T.—has become one of Flanagan’s secret weapons/lucky charms in recent years. He plays Riley’s Stephen King-loving father, Ed Flynn, in Midnight Mass, and played key roles in both The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. In Hill House, he played the younger version of Hugh Crain, and in Bly Manor he played the troubled alcoholic Henry Wingrave. He also has appeared in several of Flanagan’s films, including Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game, and a really great cameo in Doctor Sleep.
Kohli plays Sheriff Hassan in Midnight Mass, and if he looks kinda familiar, well, you’re on the right track. He collaborated with Flanagan in last year’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, playing the house Chef, Owen, before going through a physical journey on his way to playing the Sheriff in Mass. Kohli explained in a recent Men’s Health interview how immensely he loved working with the writer/director. “I don’t really want to work with anyone other than him,” he said. “Which is upsetting my team! Because they want to send me for stuff, and I’m like ‘No! Because Mike said maybe we might do this later, so I want to be free.’
As the devout and ice cold Bev Keane, Sloyan gives one of the most memorable performances in all of Midnight Mass. And it turns out, she’s worked with Flanagan before. She played Leigh Crain (wife of Steven (Michiel Huisman)) in Haunting of Hill House and also appeared in Hush.
Gish plays Crockett Island’s lone doctor, Sarah Gunning, in Midnight Mass, but has also worked with Flanagan before. She played Ms. Dudley in The Haunting of Hill House and had a role in his movie Before I Wake.
Longstreet is another familiar face for Flanagan’s fans. He played town drunk Joe Collie in Midnight Mass, but was also seen as Mr. Dudley in The Haunting of Hill House. He also played Barry The Chunk in Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep.
Essoe plays Sarah Gunning’s religious mother, Mildred, in Midnight Mass. Mildred is an elderly woman in poor health at the start of the show and gets, well, let’s just say healthier and healthier as the show goes along. She’s worked with Flanagan on a pair of other projects prior to Mass: she played Charlotte Wingrave in The Haunting of Bly Manor (the deceased mother of the children at the center of the story) and Wendy Torrance in Doctor Sleep.
Trucco, who played Crockett Island’s Mayor, Wade, in Midnight Mass, also worked with Flanagan in the movie Hush.
Rigney is a new collaborator with Flanagan, playing alter boy Warren Flynn in Midnight Mass, but he’l also be appearing in his next Netflix project, a series called The Midnight Club. So keep an eye out for that.
Biedel, who plays devout Catholic and island do-it-all everyman Sturge, is also a new collaborator with Flanagan but also a future one; he’ll also appear in a role in The Midnight Club.
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