Monday, 18 February 2019

The Conception of Terror: Tales Inspired by M.R. James - Vol. 1

The Conception of Terror: Tales Inspired by M. R. James - Volume 1 cover art

That's quite a title, isn't it? I must admit it threw me a bit, but I suppose it gets the job done. The point is that here we have Audible, a division of Amazon, muscling in on what was pretty much BBC Radio 4 territory with adaptations of stories by Monty James. I've downloaded and listened to the four audio dramas on my Kindle Fire (I'm not getting paid for all this product placement), and here's my take on this interesting development.

First up, you have four stories here, and the selection is itself interesting. First up, 'Casting the Runes' - well, no surprise there, it's a cracking idea and has been made into a film and a TV drama. Second is 'Lost Hearts', another well-known and much-anthologised work, and of course one of the classic BBC TV adaptations from the Seventies. Third is 'The Treasure of Abbot-Thomas' (yes, the hyphen is correct), for me one of the lesser tales, but again quite popular with readers. Fourth is 'A View from a Hill', which was adapted for television a few years ago but is not so widely admired as the other three, if polling by Ghosts & Scholars readers is to be believed.

Where are the Bones?

Where Are The Bones?

Here are the bones! This excellent book of M.R. Jamesian/folk horror tales is available to purchase online. Anyone who enjoys traditional ghost stories will find much to enjoy here. The contents are:

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Gatiss and Moffatt and Stoker

Well, a new BBC version of Dracula is happening, and it's a co-production with Netflix, thus moving the Count's antics into the groovy realms of webcasting. Stephen Moffatt and Mark Gatiss are at the helm, so at least we know they guys in charge have read the book and seen most (maybe all) previous adaptations. Dracula will be played by Claes Bang, who certainly looks right.

Image result for claes bang

It's suggested in the article linked above that Gatiss himself might be playing Renfield, which sounds delightful. Most of the cast are new to me, which is a good thing, too. Stoker's characters are mostly young folk, after all - consider the amount of running about they have to do. But who will play Van Helsing? I'm inclined to agree with the Radio Times here, and wonder if a big-name actor is going to be announced later.

We can but wait and wonder. Will there be a whole lot of very dodgy blood transfusions? Will Dracula be able to function (albeit on reduced power) by daylight? Will the Brides be very naughty indeed? These and other questions will etcetera. But I think we can state with confidence that this adaptation will be more canonical than most.

Thursday, 14 February 2019