Thursday, 8 October 2015

Skeletons (2010)

Here's another one of those films with a supernatural theme that quite passed me by when it appeared. Skeletons stars Andrew Buckely and Ed Gaughan as two suits, Bennett and Davis, whose job consists of using a combination of natural psychic ability and esoteric gadgets to exorcise the (figurative) skeletons in other peoples' cupboards. Their boss is The Colonel (Jason Isaacs), who is considering the team for promotion. No more domestics, they could be dealing with politicians and royalty - as in the case of 'Thatcher-Mitterand'.

Unfortunately (this being drama and all) things are not going swimmingly with the team. Bennett is troubled by the way they just crash into people's lives, reveal their darkest secrets, and leave with a sheaf of forms. Davis - the one with the major talent - is a solitary weirdo obsessed with reliving one perfect moment from his childhood. When the team are detailed to try and find the lost husband of the lovely Jane Baron (Paprika Steen) things go badly awry. For a start, the Baron home is built on a corpse road, buggering up the paranormal energies. Bennett starts to fall for Jane while her daughter Rebecca (Tuppence Middleton) takes a dangerous interest in Davis' secret world.

Skeletons' writer-director Nick Whitfield does a fine job of evoking a parallel universe not too different from our own. This is world where much is made of Lord Lucan and Freddie Mercury supposedly having the same kind of moustache. Oh, and there's a happy ending.

If you're reading this a short time after posting, Skeletons can be seen on the BBC iPlayer.

'The Way Through the Woods'

THEY shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.


For National Poetry Day

Monday, 5 October 2015

Mark Gatiss Speaks!

Well, he spoke to the excellent Shadows at the Door, where you can find a substantial interview. I like interviews that cover a lot of ground, and that's certainly the case here. The obvious question, following the success of his adaptation of 'The Tractate Middoth', is whether the BBC is going to do more ghost stories for Christmas?
The only trouble is that I’d love to do it every year but they haven’t asked! (laughs) But I would love for there to be a broader field for others like Sheridan Le Fanu, who was James’ great hero, and all the people who came after him. James was the best, but it was would be nice to mix it up a bit. If only there were more of them, a Ghost Story for Christmas… Well, we could do with an anthology series really.
We could indeed. I was pleased to see that MG would like to do 'Count Magnus'. He also talks about another great writer, H.G. Wells, and I was delighted to learn that Graham Duff - another genre fan with his roots in comedy - has adapted four Wells stories for Sky.

Another point of agreement between yours truly and MG is that the sheer volume of modern horror films is a bit overwhelming. But there's no point in complaining - they're cheaper to make than most kinds of movie, and they tend to make money.

Worst Horror Films Of All Time?

Hard to believe that anyone sat through all of these, but there's a list on the internet so it must be true... And, to be honest, I like the look of some of these efforts. We all know in our heart of hearts that most horror films are forgettable, derivative tosh. So truly bad ones at least stand out in some way.

Read at your own risk. Among the choice titles on offer here are: