Haunting of Bly Manor and Midnight Mass creator blames Netflix for ‘the stupidest scene I’ve ever filmed’

Netflix mainstay Mike Flanagan has criticised the streaming giant after he was forced to include a scene he “hated” in Midnight Mass.

Flanagan has created a number of horror hits for the streaming giant, including The Haunting of Hill House (2018), The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020), and The Midnight Club (2022).

The American filmmaker has raised an issue he had with one show in particular: Midnight Mass.

The 2021 series, which starred Hamish Linklater, Zach Gilford, Kate Siegal, and Rahul Kohli, followed a charismatic priest whose arrival in a small town brings miraculous events and frightening omens.

Midnight Mass received mostly positive reviews, currently holding a 87 per cent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

In a thread posted to Bluesky (a text-focused social media platform similar to Twitter), Flanagan said the series features “the stupidest scene I’ve ever filmed” because of Netflix’s insistence on including it.

Flanagan, as quoted by We Got This Covered, said that the steamer “put enormous pressure on us to ‘add scares’ to the pilot of Midnight Mass”.

This included one scene, which Netflix said would “help explain what happened to the cats”.


In the first episode of the series, numerous murdered cats wash up on the shore.

Flanagan wrote: “They pitched a scene where we see the ‘angel’ stalking and killing a stray cat.

“I HATED it. They dug in, though: ‘If we don’t see this, no one will understand what happened to the cats, and this will add a huge scare to the pilot.’”

He continued: “I protested and protested and protested but ultimately we lost the battle. So there is this scene in the first episode where we follow a cat, who just walks around, and then there’s a POV shot through the bushes, and then it gets grabbed out of frame.

“It’s like a feline Friday the 13th scene. It remains the stupidest scene I’ve ever filmed.”

Victoria Pedretti returns to Mike Flanagan’s ‘Haunting’ anthology as Dani Clayton

(Eike Schroter/Netflix)

The Independent has contacted a representative of Netflix for comment.

In December last year, it was announced that Flanagan’s production company, Intrepid, had jumped from Netflix to Amazon Studios.

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The following day, Netflix announced that it was cancelling Flanagan’s series The Midnight Club less than two months after its debut. He co-created the show, based on the book by Christopher Pike, with Leah Wong.

He also used the opportunity to clear up a selection of “unresolved mysteries” from the first season, and shared his “plans” for the follow-up seasons that were no longer happening.

The first season is available to stream on Netflix now.

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