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Showing posts from December, 2011

Little Mouse

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Apart from being inherently brilliant, this video (from the comedy series Look Around You) was obviously shot at Aldeburgh. The scene is in fact that of the grisly demise of Mr Paxton in 'A Warning to the Curious' - note the Martello Tower. A few years ago I walked to the tower along with other members of A Ghostly Company. We ignored louring skies, only to discover on the way back that it really can rain in East Anglia. Never were so many ghost story enthusiasts soaked to the skin so quickly. I dried off in the White Lion (which features as The Globe in 'Oh Whistle...') and had some lovely soup. Rambling a bit now...

A Warning to the Curious

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A modern 'silent' film, and quite successful for my money.

Thriller!

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Supernatural horror story from the classic early Seventies series created by Brian (He Also Did The Avengers) Clemens. Among the star-studded cast we find Patrick Troughton , who starred in Doctor Who (1966-9) and later played Father Brennan in The Omen. Then there's Ed Bishop , with his natural hair, who was famously fair-headed as Ed Straker in UFO. Cec Linder , a Canadian playing the US diplomat here, whose first big UK role was as the heroic Dr Roney in the classic TV serial Quatermass and the Pit (1960). Last but not least, the evil nursey is played by Diana Dors , famous as a blonde bombshell in her youth but here showing real talent for insidious menace. Oo-er. Merry Christmas, one and all. And, if you were wondering why so many American characters feature in this vert British show, it was simply because it was always intended for the US network market.

Christopher Lee IS (or was) M. R. James

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While he bears little resemblance to the author , I hope nobody can fault Mr Lee's reading. This is an abridged version of Monty James' darkest tale, and the only 'classic' he wrote after the Great War. The fate of Mr Paxton seems wildly disproportionate to his supposed offence - indeed, if you follow the story it seems as if he is lured to his doom. But that's part of the appeal of MRJ's stories; their refusal to quite make sense, the triumph of imagery and incident over plot logic. Well, that's what I think.

The Phantom Coach : A ghost story for Christmas

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A good short film based on the Victorian tale by Amelia B. Edwards , who was an Egyptologist of renown as well as a professional author and journalist. Almost forgotten today, she was one of those lady novelists of the 19th century who enjoyed tremendous success. It's remarkable, to say the least, that she pursued a second and equally notaqble career in archaeology.

Carmilla (Surrender into the Roses) - Kate Bush

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A little musical oddity, but still a spooky tale of sorts. This is an early demo by Ms Bush. Some people think she's singing 'Coming Up!', but she isn't. Before she did 'Wuthering Heights' the shy songstress was inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's prototypical tale of posh-girls-in-nighties vampirism.

WoodyAllenJesus

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This song was deemed too controversial for broadcast on British TV tomorrow night (23rd Dec), even though it's very mild stuff. Not that I'd watch Jonathan Ross if you paid me, but I like Tim Minchin.

Ring Out, Solstice Bells - Astronomers Victorious

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Happy Solstice, folks!

The Ten Steps

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A short Irish film that may owe its central idea to 'The Tower' by Marghanita Laski. Whatever its origin, though, this is a sound, weird tale.

The Wailing Well (MR James)

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Adaptation of MRJ's late story written for the Eton Scout troop.

Stigma 1977 BBC Xmas Ghost Story

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This one passed me by at the time, I think. I certainly don't recall it. I do recognise the writer's name - Clive Exton did a lot of sterling work for both BBC and ITV. Among his credits were two episodes of the Terry Nation post-apocalypse series Survivors , plus a slew of Jeeves and Wooster and a ton o' Poirot . He also worked on the script of The Awakening , the rather sluggish 1980 adaptation of Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars . I suspect Exton was one of those professional, reliable and highly creative TV writers who flourished in a very different production climate. The imdb has the following bio : Took his professional surname from Shakespeare's "Richard II". Former English teacher at a comprehensive school in Cannock, Staffs. Sadly, most of Exton's early work (single plays for the BBC) is now lost because the tapes were routinely wiped. It's not just Doctor Who fans who get frustrated by this BBC policy, rational though it may

Scrooge (1935) - Full Movie

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A very young Rik Mayall

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Glorious Nemesis

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A beautifully-produced book thudded onto my doormat earlier today. I'm now halfway through it and finding it fascinating, mysterious and at times a tad alarming. Glorious Nemesis is a novella by Ladislav Klima , a Czech author of whom Vaclav Havel, no less, wrote: Ladislav Klíma has been an important "voice calling in the wilderness." His antimetaphysical view of the world was not unique at his time, as Europe was full of followers of Friedrich Nietzsche, both good and bad. Yet Klíma's mix of philosophical essay, fiction, poetry, and drama was unique. Often he was too fervent in proclaiming that the only security lies in the awareness of one's will and of one's absolute freedom. In this way he eliminated the border between truth and fiction, between waking and dreaming, and even between life and death. If the world, from Klíma's perspective, was to be some phantasm or phantom, we would need a new way of articulating it, of creating it anew. At the