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Showing posts from 2010

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

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The Female Ghost

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It's never occurred to me before, but the ghost story as a genre has arguably been welcoming to female writers, certainly when compared to (say) science fiction, where within living memory women writers had to disguise their gender, lest spotty boys be outraged by the presence of girls in the gang. (CL Moore, anyone? How about Leigh Brackett, or James Tiptree Jnr?). Anyway, BBC 7 is doing a series of ghost stories by women. They are 'The Cold Embrace' by Mary Braddon , 'Man Size in Marble' by Edith Nesbit , and ' Afterward' by Edith Wharton . It's a pity there are no more recent efforts, though. I would have chosen 'The Tower' by Marghanita Laski, plus something by Joan Aiken and a Joyce Carol Oates. But there you go - copyright and all that.

It is, too

Smiling Queen Victoria

Whistling in the Dark

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I was disappointed, and so was my mother. While my mother is not an expert in supernatural fiction, when we discussed watching Whistle and I'll Come to You she remarked that it was a terrifying story. And of course you always anticipate good things when John Hurt takes the lead. Unfortunately the BBC's latest 'adaptation' took so many liberties with MR James' story that little of it remained. Admittedly, there is a case for the defence. It's impossible to get a new ghost story commissioned by the BBC, so the only way for a writer and/or producer to explore new ideas is to piggyback them on a classic. I find this unconvincing - it means that what you end up with is not, really, a new story so much as a bastardised version of an old one. Oh well, there's always next year.

Richard III, but not as we know it

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The Haunted Palace

Arguably the one horror writer of distinction to get a raw deal at the movie is HP Lovecraft. Okay, his stuff is densely worded and chock-full of his own concocted mythology, which is harder to explain than the usual 'Oh, so it's a werewolf eating the villagers.' But it's still a pity that so few efforts to put HPL's ideas on screen stand up to more than one watching. Among the best is - perhaps surprisingly - a Roger Corman flick that he made during his Poe period. The Haunted Palace is in fact touted as 'based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe and a story by HP Lovecraft'. This is such a blatant lie that the magnitude is almost admirable. The script by Charles Beaumont is a free but respectful adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward . The Poe bit consists of Vincent Price's voice-over quoting a few lines from 'The Haunted Palace' that aren't even especially apt. What the story loses in the transposition to film it gains in cinematic vi

Weird Winter Tales

This is a guest review from Cardinal Cox. Reading was surrounded in fog and snow as my train chugged from London into its’ station. The Central Library is a modern four-storey affair, reputedly built on the site of an ancient abbey. In the entrance to the second floor reference section musician and author Chris Lambert had created an ambient installation under his Music for Zombies nom-de-tune. For more information go to www.chrislambert.net The event started at noon with Gwilym Games (editor of the Friends of Arthur Machen newsletter Machenalia – www.machensoc.demon.co.uk ) delivering a talk on the importance of libraries in the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Academic and occultist Dr. David Evans then joined Gwilym to discuss the Necronomicon in Lovecraft and the various created versions. I had hoped that Reading’s David Langford might have been present to offer some reminiscences about the George Hay version to which he had contributed a chapter. (I had first heard of the event vi

The Phantom Coach : A ghost story for Christmas

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MRJ Documentary

Revenants

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Daniel Mills' first novel is a remarkable debut. Set on what was the wild frontier of New England in August and October 1689, the story concerns Cold Marsh, a small community of Puritans under the sway of Isaiah Bellringer, a fanatical 'hell-fire and damnation' preacher. Bellringer is growing old, but his sway over the colony remains strong. His chosen successor is Edwin, an intelligent young man betrothed to the lovely Ruth. Scenes in which the couple go courting through the village - being careful to walk four feet apart - are telling. This is a society in which any physical contact between the sexes provides the Devil with an opportunity to instigate lustful deeds. When the novel begins he Devil is also believed to be more active than usual around Cold Marsh - two young women have recently disappeared. One has been found dead from no obvious cause. The other has seemingly vanished forever. It is the villagers' response to the third disappearance that forms the cen

Ghost kicks Vampire ass

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Those lovely and not at all sinister corporate types at Google have devised a new toy called Books Ngram viewer. It lets you graph the number of reference to a particular word or phrase over time in many published works. When I typed in ghost, vampire, zombie and werewolf I found that ghost is way ahead, but vampire put a right old spurt on lately. Teenagers, eh? Poor old zombie and werewolf didn't get a look in. I couldn't include mummy for obvious reasons.

Dr Terror's House of Horrors

WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERY THINGS! Having just watched this film (on rented DVD) for the first time since the Seventies, I was pretty impressed. It really is one of the best portmanteau horror movies. It doesn't match up to DEAD OF NIGHT, but what could? Indeed, it's interesting to note that, while similar in some ways, the two films do have a radically different approach to storytelling. But first, a ludicrously OTT trailer. DTHH takes the basic format of a group of people thrown together who are told a series of spooky tales by a mysterious stranger (Peter Cushing's eponymous Tarot reader). Milton Subotsky penned the five tales, and their titles show that subtlety was not on his mind. We start with 'Werewolf', move on to 'Creeping Vine', meet the 'Voodoo God', clutch at the 'Disembodied Hand', and finally get in a flap about the 'Vampire'. Lest I sound too facetious, these are all well-done. Even the weakest story, the killer

It's always in the trees

Viewing Jacques Tourneur's classic take on an MR James story for the fourth or fifth time, I'm again impressed by how much is done with relatively little material. The leading man - Dana Andrews - comes across as a drunken lecher, while villain Karswell is far more likeable. The plot development is rather bitty. Then there's Mr Meek. Quite brilliant British silliness suddenly giving way to genuine weirdness.

The Hex

'Casting the Runes' must be MR James most influential ghost story. It's been adapted from almost any medium you'd care to mention. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a musical out there: 'These letters are quite runic They're not Latin or Punic' And who could forget the showstopping: 'I was shaking like a willow When I felt that mouth under my pillow' None of which is relevant top 'The Hex', a BBC radio  play you can listen to at the excellent Zombie Astronaut site. It's conventional enough, but a well-paced and enjoyable adaptation. It would, I think, have made a good TV play.

Fan Mail

A message from Daniel Mills : Hi David, I finished reading through the latest Supernatural Tales over the long weekend and wanted to pass along my thoughts, such as they are, along with my pick for best in issue. What first struck me about this issue was the diversity in tone and style among the stories included: from the weird (“What Remains of Silence”) to the horrific (“Bracken Row”); from the apocalyptic (“The Light Wraith”) to the haunting (“The Face that Looks Back at You”). The latter (Michael Kelly’s “The Face That Looks Back at You”) was for me a definite highlight, truly disarming in the best possible sense of the word: so spare and poetic, infused with all the chill and melancholy of the winter months but also with something of their cold beauty. Michael Chislett’s “The Light Wraith” was also excellent -- as a migraine sufferer, I don’t think there is anything in the realm of supernatural horror that can compare with the dreadful portent of the migraine aura. But m

Zombie Astronaut

Here's an excellent resource for radio shows from a true lover of the genre. Lots of spooky stuff, plus sci-fi and horror. When a post listing includes 'Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury' you know you're dealing with prime cuts of sonic pleasure.

Vampires on Radio 4

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A Night With A Vampire is this week's series of readings on A Book At Bedtime. They can be heard on iPlayer here . Among them is Maupassant's classic 'The Horla' (a borderline vampire) and 'Louella Miller', a favourite American tale. It is an odd and sad coincidence that Ingrid Pitt should have died this week.

Listen With Nunkie

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A DVD of Robert Lloyd-Parry reading two of MR James' best-known stories is now available to buy with real money, not jellybeans, buttons or something indescribable you found in a kitchen drawer. Mosey on over to the old website and purchase your copy now, or be forever cast into the outer darkness. Something like that, anyway.

Two Stories In

Shadows and Tall Trees #1 is looking good. Admittedly I was surprised to find a Canadian magazine lead with a Joel Lane story. 'The Crow's Nest' is a piece of miserabilist horror by any standard, but so well-crafted and moving that even someone who didn't instantly recognise the setting and characters it would be impressed. That's followed by something even stranger, Adam Golaski's 'Stone Head'. This really does feature a colossal stone head, among other things, and works by a kind of dream-logic that makes you wonder whether the narrator is insane, or perhaps it's just reality that's always been bonkers and the author has noticed this. I may have more to say about all this. I'm a bit concussed at the moment. But also impressed.

Shadows and Tall Trees

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A new publication from Canada! I've got my copy. Why not get yourself one, instead of trying to read over my shoulder via the interwebs, you young scamp? It's jam-packed with fine writing by leading exponents of proper storytelling that means something and doesn't just insult your intelligence and indeed your very humanity with gratuitous rote-described gore and a lame-ass twist ending.

Write a Ghost Story, win radio fame in Rutland

Courtesy of Cardinal Cox comes this news : while the Stamford Festival of Ghosts is over, the ghost story competition runs until early December. Adult entries are limited to 1,500 words, so I'm guessing Algernon Blackwood's got no chance. Deadline for submissions: Friday 10 December 2010 Judging Panel Sarah Waters, Author Nicholas Rudd-Jones, Editor of Stamford Living Magazine Mark Crick, Creative Consultant for the Stamford Festival of Ghosts Karen Burrows, Stamford Arts Centre

Write a Ghost Story, win something or other

The Daily Telegraph, which is a national UK newspaper for non-British ST fans, is running a proper ghost story writing competition . Susan Hill is judging it. Here are some factoids: * The winner will have his or her story published and illustrated in The Daily Telegraph Saturday Review, and will receive a unique specially bound copy ofThe Small Hand by Susan Hill. * All entries must be 2,000 words or fewer, and the deadline for entries is November 20. A shortlist of six stories will then be selected and published on telegraph.co.uk on December 4, and the winning story will be published in The Daily Telegraph on December 11. * Please post your 2,000-word story to Lorna Bradbury at The Daily Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT. The envelope should clearly be marked “Ghost Story Competition”. Alternatively entries can be emailed to lorna.bradbury@telegraph.co.uk. Please paste your story into the body of the email, and clearly mark your email “Ghost Story Competition

Weird Winter Tales

Cardinal Cox has sent me another pamphlet of his poems - and again, a Lovecraftian theme, which is always welcome. What's more, he's produced a tribute to Wells' story 'The Sea Raiders', the original tentacled menace tale of terror. It's a fascinating and wide-ranging little collection, beginning and ending with poems about Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines. In between I learned about the Formorii (aka Fomorians ) an aquatic people from Irish mythology, and the Wild Man of Orford . The actual pamphlet is published for the below event, snipped from Ansible. Couldn't find anything on the library website listed. But it looks good - the film is excellent and of course you get a free pamphlet of poems that confront you with the unspeakable horrors of the briny abyss. That's a good day out by any standard. 4 Dec •   Weird Winter Tales   (H.P. Lovecraft event), Reading Central Library, noon-6pm. £3 (members £2). With   Call of Cthulhu   showing. Note c

Tragic Life Stories

Fans of supernatural fiction won't need to be told that Steve Duffy is one of the best British short story writers working in the genre today. I've just taken delivery of his new collection , Tragic Life Stories ( Ash-Tree Press ) and it will be reviewed in ST19. It's getting plaudits far and wide, and I suspect you'll have to be quick if you want to bag yourself a copy. Steve early fiction was published by Ro Pardoe in Ghosts & Scholars. That's what you call a ringing endorsement in the trade.

What?

Helpful ghosts and friendly fairies in paranormal 'hotspots' across the UK   The Supernatural Angel Report also uncovers a series of 'hotspots' - where guardian angels and fairies seem to congregate in the UK after scouring police and council records. The report into 'angelic paranormal activity in the UK' found that in the past 25 years there have been a staggering 755 official reports to cops and councils in the UK. Hotspots of 'good' paranormal activity include the historic village of Croston in Lancashire, where there have been 44 official reports of fairies living in the nearby woods. How do you report a fairy to the police? Don't answer that, as any reply would inevitably take us into the realm of the Seventies club comic with a big red face and a shiny suit. But there's more. The extensive research, conducted by the UK's leading authority on the unexplained, Lionel Fanthorpe, included studying multiple archives, police reports,

Qualified good news

John Hurt is to star in the new BBC ghost story for Christmas. I'm quite pleased. Except, of course, that 'Whistle and I'll Come to You' has been adapted before. And Jonathan Miller's black and white 'Omnibus' drama, starring Michael Hordern, is pretty damn good. So we have two great British actors vying to 'do' Professor Parkins. I wonder if Neil Cross, who's scripting the new one, has read the original story? Because MR James clearly says that Parkins is a young man. Oh well. But why not make a TV drama from a good literary ghost story that has yet to be adapted? Some thoughts off the top of my head: 'Thurnley Abbey' by Perceval Landon - a bit crazy, this one, but fun, and needs a young cast. Also, great scope for dead nun FX, which is always a plus. 'Man Size in Marble' by Edith Nesbit - cruel, 'modern' story with a good payoff. Perhaps a bit too simple and predictable, but the setting is atmosphere. 'The Ro

Ghostwatching

I try to keep an open mind about 'real life' ghosts, though I always find the fictional kind more satisfying. If you like haunted houses, though, I recommend Ghostwatching's YouTube channel. This one might have been sponsored by various tourist bodies.

Weird Circle

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I love old radio drama from the pre-TV age, especially horror and sci-fi stuff. Weird Circle is one of many American series collected and available for download or online listening at Old Time Radio. Weird Circle seems to have specialised in the Victorian classics - as well as a lot of Poe (including the comparatively obscure 'Oblong Box') you get a fair old wodge of Wilkie Collins, a bit of Dickens, Maupassant, Bierce, and even Bulwer Lytton's 'The House and the Brain'. There are also some earlier Gothic works, notably the Spectre of Tappington from the Ingoldsby Legends, and a brave stab at a dramatisation 'The Ancient Mariner'. Check them all out here . Other good shows to try are Escape, and The Black Mass.

On their way

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Subscribers to ST, fear not. This is the week they get posted out, and will no doubt be whisked to you with consummate efficiency. Hope you enjoy the stories. Let me know what you think. Update - the post-out is complete. Probably. If I've missed anybody, let me know. 

Excellent stuff at The Obscure Hollow

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TOH is dedicated to 'Haunted Film Decor and More'. It's a very good blog , offering images from classic 'spooky' movies, many of them overtly supernatural. Just discovered it, by pure chance. Check out Pip and his tormentors below.

The Film Programme

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Next week, Radio 4's regular film prog look at Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon). That's all I know at the moment, but I'll be available on iPlayer. Judging from Francine Stock's comment, it might rehash the controversy over whether the demon should have been shown so clearly.

ST18 has entered the building

Right, the easy part is over. The part that involves reading stories, mulling over their good and bad points, accepting/rejecting the cherished offspring of authors, breaking the news that there's an 18 month (at least) gap between acceptance and publication, editing and proofing the stories, supplying reviewers with review copies, faffing about online print-on-demand publishing, actually paying for the thing to be printed. Probably a few other things. All that stuff is as child's play compared to the dread gauntlet I must now run - postage. But rest assured, subscribers, I will get the latest issue to you, whatever it takes. Just don't hold your breath.

Ghosts & Scholars

The old website for Ghosts & Scholars (an invaluable source of info on all things MR James related) has been embalmed for some time. Fortunately there's now a new web address - the site has returned from the dead, like Count Magnus or similar. So why not mosey on over there to see what Ro Pardoe and the James Gang are up to?

More Monty

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Naxos Audiobooks have released a new collection - Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. It's not, in fact, the whole collection, but that's not altogether surprising - I don't think any audio publisher has done the lot, or at least not yet. The readers are David Timson and Stephen Critchlow. You can hear an audio sample from 'Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book' on the site. Download cost is £11. 

The Old Knowledge

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This is the first collection by Rosalie Parker, who is best known as co-founder of Tartarus Press. One of the stories, 'The Picture', appeared in ST16 and garnered considerable praise. This is a very well turned out volume from Swan River Press , and according to Brian J. Showers of that ilk there are only a handful of copies left. I think this is one of those collections that's not spectacular or 'game changing', but does signal the arrival of a genuine talent that will flourish and perhaps surprise us with remarkable things. Enigmatic and haunting stories in a beautiful book. Who wouldn't buy it?

Progress report

I've ordered a sample copy of ST18 from Lulu. The point is to see the thing as an entity - not just proofing sheets of printout, but looking at the booklet as a whole and seeing if it 'works'. It's very hard to judge. I think I got lucky with ST17, which was a last minute 'help, I need a printer' job. I feel I dodged the bullet, somewhat. So this time I'll try to be a bit more careful. With luck I'll see the sample copy this week, sort out any problems, and have ST18 ready for posting out by mid-October. That, at least, is the plan.

Cover ST18

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Here's a preliminary cover design for ST18, art by Stephen J. Clark. Any opinions? 

John Piper

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Just visited a watercolour exhibition at the Laing gallery in Newcastle. Among other interesting paintings, there were some works by John Piper, a new name to me, but an artist who clearly liked his churches and frequented MR James country. This is the painting I saw: 'Three Suffolk Towers'. Apparently these are churches he visited while staying at Aldeburgh.

Good Stuff About Seaburgh/Aldeburgh

Here you'll find a very good exploration of MR James' setting for his story 'A Warning to the Curious'. It's well worth reading in full, but here's the first bit. If, like me, you’re a fan of the good old English ghost story, then you’ve probably read at least one by M R James. My favourite, I must confess, is ‘A Warning to the Curious’, but this is due largely to the iconic BBC adaptation of the short story which was made in 1972. Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, and starring Peter Vaughan and Clive Swift, with a memorable performance by John Kearney, this classic little chiller can still send a shudder up many a spine today. Being frightened out of my wits by this film as a child is what started my interest in the story and, undoubtedly but thankfully, led me to the many ‘anxious’ hours I have subsequently spent in the deliciously dark company of England’s master of the traditional ghost story, Montague Rhodes James. Tracking down the locations in the stor

Lost Crown progress report

Well, thanks to a few days off work and a reluctance to actually do anything else, I'm working my way through The Lost Crown. It remains an absorbing adventure game, not least when you do the actual paranormal/Fortean spook-probing bits. Some good, genuinely unsettling moments emerge naturally during scenes that interweave past and future, the everyday and the 'unseen'. I was very impressed by what seemed to be a minor diversion but turned out to be a time-twisting supernatural encounter. The game also has a more intelligent plot and better-drawn characters than most films these days (said the cynical old git). As I remarked earlier, it's a very good game from a visual point of view. Here's a little fan video that gives you an idea of how nicely conceived it all is. Pure MR James territory, especially the distinctive church. The trouble I had in that church with the evil spirit of a certain Mr Ager...

Del Toro is At the Mountains of Madness

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Yes, the renowned creator of some rather excellent movies, including Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone, is now helming (as they say) an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's Antarctic adventure. Del Toro is directing, with James Cameron as producer. So I think we can expect a lavish production, with cutting, bleeding and oozing-edge special effects. I have mixed feelings about 3D - I couldn't be bothered with Avatar, because Big Dumb Over-long Action Movies are for kids. But if 3D has one obvious advantage it's the way it might make you jump out of your seat when a tentacled horror from the dawn of time seizes some hapless explorer. That said, if you know Lovecraft's story, it raises serious questions about how closely they'll stick to the plot. Because most of the action in the novel takes place 'offstage'. The discovery of the mysterious entities frozen in the ice, the storm that cuts off the forward base, the arrival of the rescue party to find.

MR James is the name of the game

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I've been playing - and swearing at - an adventure game based heavily on the ghost stories of MR James. Entitled The Lost Crown, it's produced by Darkling Room, and you can find out more about it here . It's won awards and everything| Also, it's quite cheap on Amazon. An adventure game, if you don't know, is just a digital version of one of those books full of numbered paragraphs. '125. You are in a sinister launderette in Cleethorpes. A man whistling Ave Maria invites you stick your head in a mangle. Do you accept? Go to para 366. Do you show him the Sacred Begonia of Percy Thrower? Go to para 212.' So far, I'm impressed. The game loads smoothly - always an important point - and the whole thing seems eminently bug-free. It looks good, a bit like a black-and-white film or old-style TV show, with touches of colour that have a hand-tinted feel. The sounds are good too, especially the music and effects. I'm less enamoured of the voice work, but this

Monochrome Rue Morgue

Not supernatural, I know, but a cracking early film adaptation of a Poe classic. Or, as the credits would have it, an 'immortal classic'. And a new one to me, at least. Was Swan Lake really the right music? Ho hum. The whole thing is on the intertubes if you can stand watching online. It makes my eyes go rather red.

Getting there

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ST18 is in the final stages of me tearing my hair out and swearing a lot, mostly at the digital abominations of Bill Gates. I'm waiting for one reviewer to get his piece in, and then it should be lift-off time. Well, it should be time to put the good ship ST18 on the big roller thing and send it towards the launch pad. Anyway, October launch is looking reasonable. Another quick look at the cover illo by Stephen J. Clark, for his story 'Foglass'.

Andrew Sachs reads MR James

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The choice of a reader can make or break a good ghost story. Derek Jacobi was a good choice for the BBC's recent series of MRJ readings. Andrew Sachs is right for the role, too. More here .

Dedication

It's not morally possible to give an objective review of a book that's dedicated to me, I think. So instead I should simply draw attention to Worse Than Myself , by Adam Golaski. It contains two stories previously published in ST; 'The Demon' and 'They Look Like Little Girls'. I have only read one other story so far, 'The Animator's House'. It bears comparison with the best short fiction of Gene Wolfe and Joyce Carol Oates, among others. Suffice to say that if the rest are as good as the three I've perused, this is one of the best collections of experimental not-exactly-horror fiction by a living author. And there I go reviewing it.  Here is Adam reading the first part of 'The Animator's House'. What I fervently admire about this is how a totally bizarre premise works perfectly thanks to a perfectly-imagined child protagonist. And this is only half the story, or rather, the story-within-the-story - the second half is much weirder

The Music of Erich Zann

This student film dates from well before the days of CGI effects. Yet I think it's remarkably good not only for a low-budget production but as a faithful, artistically sound attempt to convey something of the essence of H.P. Lovecraft's story. Admittedly the 'groovy' central sequence has a lot of the Seventies about it - shades of Pan's People, in fact - but it's still better than most modern horror movies when they try to convey something transcendent and strange. I think the central performance is well up to anything I've seen in any Lovecraft adaptation. Anyway, here it is in two bite-sized portions.

The New Greyish Whistle Test

Hmmm. I learn that M.R. James' ghost story 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' is being adapted for television this Christmas. But will it be good, mediocre or pants? Called Whistle and I’ll Come to You, it is being written by Neil Cross and directed by Andy de Emmony. The BBC said the drama “will be a cinematic, moody, poignant and unsettlingly spooky addition to the Christmas schedules”. Both dramas have been commissioned for the channel by the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning Ben Stephenson.

213 today

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, proto-feminist, muse to poets, and crafter of the first 'mad scientist' Gothic horror story. As Frankenstein began as a ghost story (supposedly) it merits mention here. And, of course, it was very much a staple 'modern myth' of Hammer films along with Dracula. It's a while since I read it, but I recall Frankenstein says some magical mumbo-jumbo over his creation to get it to live, which pushes the story close to the Golem of Prague and similar tales. I always liked the version below, not because it was 'The True Story' at all, but because of the splendid OTT plot and excellent cast.

Ghostwatch

Stephen Volk's 1992 drama is hard to obtain on DVD. I've seen absurd prices quotes. Fortunately it's available to watch online if you don't mind risking eye strain. If you're too young or foreign (or both) the context is this. It was billed as a Hallowe'en visit to a genuine haunted house and the presenters - particularly Michael Parkinson - were seen as 'safe' or reassuring TV personalities who'd never been involved in drama or indeed hoaxes. The one exception was Craig Charles of Red Dwarf fame, but as you'll see he did his bumptious Scouser act to further allay viewer suspicion. That said, for a hoax show it played fair. You can see the writer credit for Volk in the opening titles, and the closing credits have a cast list. (Weirdly, there's also a credit for a Mike Chislett.) In addition to the 90 minute show below I've added a brief video showing the various sighting of 'Pipes', the genuinely disturbing spook. A lot of peopl

A Warning to the Curious - Pop Song

I'm sure if the Provost of Eton were with us today, he'd be blasting out power chords from his Fender with the best of them and giving it lead vocals. In Latin. Mediaeval Latin. Coz that's how he rolled.

A Warning to the Curious - Short Silent Film

I like this. I think the music is good, the modern characters don't detract from the basic setup, and it stays faithful to MRJ's plot.

Right, everybody spend money on this book

Sarob Press is back, and this time they're kicking ass like a very rude hero in one of those loud confusing films your mother doesn't like. Well, more precisely they are publishing a new collection of ghost stories by Clive Ward, also known as C.E. Ward, possibly for tax purposes. Anyway, here are some facts... NEW for October 2010 from WORLD FANTASY AWARD winning SAROB PRESS C.E. Ward : Seven Ghosts and One Other In 1998 we published   Vengeful Ghosts   by C.E. Ward as our second publication (and our first by a living author). The collection was very well received, sold out pretty quickly and is long out of print. Indeed, it's now something of a collectors item. We are pleased and very proud to now present Mr Ward's long-awaited second ghost story collection ...   Seven Ghosts and One Other . These eight Jamesian tales include two new long and previously unpublished supernatural stories and the authorised completion of M.R. James' unfinished “The Game of B

The Messengers

This first Hollywood venture for the HK horror experts Danny and Oxide Pang passed me by when it was released in 2007. The Messengers is one of those horror movies that pass the time nicely, but without stirring too much in the way of thought or feeling. Perhaps it's unfair to compare it too closely with The Eye, a favourite celluloid ghost story. But there are parallels, not least the idea that some people are gifted (or cursed) with an ability to see the dead. The basic story is simple. A family who have obviously been through the wringer buy a sunflower farm in the back of beyond. We know Something Bad has happened to the previous occupants - the official version is that they moved away, but a monochrome intro sequence makes clear they didn't really go far. Soon it becomes apparent that the farm is haunted. But by what? There is some significance to the crows that flap about the place, the stains that won't be shifted, the scratches on the floor. You get the general id

Encyclopedia Phantasmagoria

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Here is a useful list of Fontana books of ghost and horror stories. One I wasn't aware of is Supernatural , edited by Robert Muller. This is a collection of stories based on Muller's scripts for the obscure BBC portmanteau Gothic series. I was impressed by the writers marshalled to produce the short stories. Supernatural - not to be confused with the current US TV show - is not available on DVD, which is a pity. It had a starry cast (that's the great Billie Whitelaw on the cover below) and some damn good stories. Thanks to a kind friend I have a DVD of the series that was clearly for internal use and is a bit wonky. But I've managed to run all but one of the shows by trying them on two different DVD players and my laptop. So I'll cobble together a review of this series you can't see, yet. Rosemary Timperley – Dorabella, or In Love With Death Mary Danby – Lady Sybil, or The Phantom Of Black Gables Brian Leonard Hayles – Heirs, or The Workshop Of Filthy Crea