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Ian Jane
05-04-2012, 07:35 PM
From their website (http://www.bfi.org.uk/news/179):
The BFI is to make the complete series of the BBC's classic Ghost Stories finally available on DVD this year.

These much-loved tales terrified BBC TV audiences at Christmas throughout the 1970s. Most of the instalments were directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark and based on M.R. James's celebrated supernatural stories.

With only three of the twelve BBC Ghost Stories previously released on DVD (by the BFI in 2002), the films in this brilliant series have been high on many film and TV fans' 'most wanted' DVD lists.

The films are a key influence on recent British ghost and horror films, including The Woman in Black, and have inspired many screenwriters and filmmakers including Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock).

The first two volumes will be released in August 2012 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of M.R. James's birth. Two more volumes will follow in September, while the fifth and final volume, as well as a complete Ghost Stories for Christmas box set, will follow in October.

Volume One includes two versions of the chilling Whistle And I'll Come To You: Jonathan Miller's 1968 adaptation, starring Michael Hordern, and the 2010 re-imagining, starring John Hurt.

Volume Two includes The Stalls of Barchester (1971), starring Robin Hardy, and A Warning to the Curious (1972), starring Peter Vaughan, as well as Christopher Lee's Ghost Stories for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester (2000).

Other DVD and Dual Format Edition (DVD and Blu-ray discs together) releases from the BFI between July and September include:

The Children's Film Foundation, Volume 1: London Tales (DVD) – the first in a new series of releases of the fondly-remembered films from the archives of the Children's Film Foundation, includes John Krish's The Salvage Gang.

The British Transport Films Collection, Volume 10: London on the Move (DVD) – this welcome return for the popular BTF Collection turns its attention on the trams, buses and tube trains of London.

Wonderful London (DVD) – a unique collection of fascinating historical films shot in 1920s London.

The Soviet Influence: Battleship Potemkin/Drifters (Dual Format Edition) – two masterpieces – Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 classic, and John Grierson's ground-breaking 1929 documentary – are paired in order to examine the influence that Soviet cinema had on the British filmmakers of the 1930s.

Cria Cuervos (Dual Format Edition) – Carlos Saura's 1976 masterpiece of Spanish cinema, released for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray.
Pathé Colour Stencil: The Fairy Films (DVD) – a collection of rare French fairytale and fantasy shorts from the birth of cinema, with newly-commissioned scores from composers including Chris Watson, Philip Jeck and Fennesz.

A Woman Under The Influence (Dual Format Edition) – John Cassavetes's hard-hitting masterpiece, with breathtaking performances from Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk, finally gets its Blu-ray world premiere.

The Lacey Rituals: the films of Bruce Lacey (and friends) (DVD) – an extraordinary collection of films from British counter-culture hero and artist Bruce Lacey, including Richard Lester's The Running, Jumping & Standing Still Film.

So yeah, there's some more Cassavettes tucked away in that news blurb too. So far this has been a super fucking dope year for Blu-ray.

bgart13
05-04-2012, 08:18 PM
First two are up for preorder, August 20th:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61SfM306ViL._SL500_AA300_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41jbivFFiiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Jack J
05-05-2012, 12:23 PM
Kewl!!

george n
05-05-2012, 01:13 PM
Where are you getting the info about dvd/blu ray combo? I have only seen info and pre orders for dvd editions of the xmas gost stories

Ian Jane
05-05-2012, 01:20 PM
I screwed up. Read DVD/Blu-ray combo for the releases mentioned later and misinterpreted it.

bgart13
05-05-2012, 02:01 PM
BFI did say bds were a possibility once they knew what materials were available to them. I assume these DVD preorders pretty ends that possibility however.

Mark C.
05-05-2012, 06:58 PM
BFI did say bds were a possibility once they knew what materials were available to them. I assume these DVD preorders pretty ends that possibility however.
Not neccesarliy I have seen other ones show up on dvd first for pre-order then the artwork changed to dual-format for a same release date, BFI likes to release early artwork mock-ups as well. I was kind of hoping they released them in a box-set instead of individualy.

george n
05-05-2012, 08:02 PM
They are releasing a complete boxset at the end of october, after all the individual volumes have been released. I only purchased my australian boxset two days before this was announced, talk about unlucky.Either way, its about time these were all made available, they are really cherished by UK genre fans

Jack J
05-05-2012, 10:40 PM
Why were you unlucky in buying the Aussie boxset? Wasn't it the complete series?

bgart13
05-06-2012, 03:21 AM
I think he means that generally speaking the BFI sets will be superior. And likey cheaper.

Paul L
05-06-2012, 05:50 AM
It'll be nice to see the non-James Ghost Stories for Christmas again; IIRC 'Stigma' and 'The Ice House' have only circulated in low-quality VHS boots, and as far as I can recall, whilst the James stories and 'The Signalman' have been repeated several times since the 1970s, neither 'The Ice House' nor 'Stigma' has been repeated on British television since their original broadcasts

george n
05-06-2012, 07:39 AM
Why were you unlucky in buying the Aussie boxset? Wasn't it the complete series?

Yeah like ben said,it will likely be superior,and the aussie box is missing 'the signalman' 'stigma' 'the ice house' and one of the chris lee narrated episodes. Its more a collection of mr.james bbc ghost story adaptions rather than a complete set.

Also being english I would like to support the bfi as much as I possibly can,they are on a serious roll at the minute, br's of andy milligans 'nightbirds' ian merricks 'black panther', 'the devils' and now this, great stuff

Wernski
05-10-2012, 09:45 AM
I only purchased my australian boxset two days before this was announced, talk about unlucky

Same! I'm still waiting for my Australian set to arrive. Oh well.

Ian Jane
07-06-2012, 10:47 AM
An update from the BFI on the Ghost Stories releases came in this morning...

BBC TV’s acclaimed Ghost Stories finally come to DVD in five individual volumes and a box set from the BFI.

First releases Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968 & 2010 versions) and The Stalls of Barchester & A Warning to the Curious on 20 August 2012.

The BFI will make all twelve of the classic BBC films from A Ghost Story for Christmas series available on DVD this year, with the first two volumes – each containing a double bill of chilling tales – released on 20 August.

The first release features Jonathan Miller’s Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968), with Sir Michael Hordern, paired with the 2010 adaptation of the same chilling tale, starring John Hurt and directed by Andy de Emmony. Released alongside it is a pairing of The Stalls of Barchester (1971), starring Robert Hardy and receiving its DVD premiere, and A Warning to the Curious (1972), with Peter Vaughan, both directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark. Each set comes with numerous special features and illustrated booklets, full details on page two.

As a Christmas treat during the 1970s, the BBC screened adaptations of the classic ghost stories of MR James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language. Most of the instalments, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter, were directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, who has been interviewed for new introductions on these BFI releases.

With only three of the twelve tales previously released on DVD (by the BFI in 2002, and long since deleted), the films in this brilliant series have been high on many film and TV fans' 'most wanted' DVD lists. With a subtlety and style all of their own, they have been a major influence on recent British horror films, such as The Woman in Black, and have inspired screenwriters and filmmakers such as Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen, Sherlock).

The release of the first two Ghost Stories volumes is timed to mark the 150th anniversary of MR James’ birth on 1 August 1862.
Two more volumes, the first containing Lost Hearts, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas and The Ash Tree, and the second containing The Signalman (Andrew Davies’ adaptation of the Charles Dickens story) Stigma (written by Clive Exton) and The Ice House (written by John Bowen), will follow in September, while the fifth and final volume, containing the more recent instalments View from a Hill and Number 13, as well as a complete Ghost Stories for Christmas box set, will be released in October.

Whistle and I’ll Come to You (Jonathan Miller, 1968):

When a sceptical professor, played with eccentric intensity in a brilliant performance by Michael Hordern, finds an old whistle on a Norfolk beach he unleashes a horrifying monster from the depths of his psyche.

Jonathan Miller’s (Beyond the Fringe, The Drinking Party, Alice in Wonderland) adaptation of MR James’ terrifying tale, made for BBC’s Omnibus series, uses the bleak Norfolk landscape, superbly photographed by Dick Bush, to instil a sense of isolation and unease.

Whistle and I’ll Come to You (Andy de Emmony, 2010)

In this recent rendering of MR James’s celebrated ghost story, the legendary John Hurt plays James Parkin, a lonely retiree who has left his wife in a nursing home. Troubled by this loss, he visits their old holiday haunt, but his discovery of a mysterious ring on the beach sparks a series of ghostly encounters and disturbing nightmares which refuse to disappear in the cold light of day.
Atmospheric and emotive, this modern adaptation brings a fascinating new interpretation to an endlessly creepy yarn.

Special features:
-Jonathan Miller and Christopher Frayling discuss Whistle and I’ll Come to You (BBC, 2012, 3 mins)
-MR James’ original story, ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’, read by Neil Brand (2001, 42 mins)
-Introduction to Whistle and I’ll Come to You by horror writer Ramsey Campbell (2001, 16 mins)
-Ramsey Campbell reads his own MR James inspired story ‘The Guide’ (2001, 27 mins)

RRP £19.99 / Cat No: BFIV959 / Cert PG
UK / 1968 + 2010 / black and white & colour / English / 42 mins + 52 mins / DVD9 / Original aspect ratios 1.33:1 and 2:35.1 (16x9 anamorphic) | Dolby Digital mono audio 320kbps

The Stalls of Barchester (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1971):

Whilst cataloguing the collections of Barchester Cathedral library, Dr Black (Clive Swift) stumbles across an intriguing box of papers belonging to a former Archdeacon Haynes (Robert Hardy), which has remained under lock and key since the nineteenth century. In it he discovers a hidden history of blood guilt and macabre supernatural revenge.

With its superb cast and beautiful choral accompaniment by Norwich Cathedral choir, Lawrence Gordon Clark’s (Harry’s Game) evocative adaptation of MR James’ short story sparked the BBC’s popular Ghost Story for Christmas series of the 1970s.
A Warning to the Curious (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1972)

The second of Gordon Clark’s MR James adaptations features Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs, Our Friends in the North) as a doomed amateur archaeologist who pays a terrible price for his curiosity about an ancient Saxon legend.

John McGlashan’s extraordinary photography imbues the wide open Norfolk coastline with an uneasy sense of dread in this chilling re-working of James’ classic tale.

Special features:
-Introduction to The Stalls of Barchester by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 10 mins)
-Introduction to A Warning to the Curious by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 12 mins)
-Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee – ‘The Stalls of Barchester by MR James’ (Eleanor Yule, 2000, 30 mins): Christopher Lee recreates MR James’ famous soirees, at which the antiquary would read his tales of the supernatural to eager undergraduates.
-Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee – ‘A Warning to the Curious by MR James’ (Eleanor Yule, 2000, 30 mins): Christopher Lee plays MR James in this dramatic reconstruction of one of the author’s famous Christmas readings.

RRP £19.99 / Cat No: BFIV959 / Cert PG
UK / 1971 + 1972 / colour / English / 45 mins + 50 mins / DVD9 / Original aspect ratios 1.33:1 / Dolby Digital mono audio 320kbps

Ian Jane
07-06-2012, 10:50 AM
And some cover art...

3449

3450

Paul L
07-06-2012, 10:57 AM
Eagerly awaiting these! Thanks for the updated info, Ian!

Jens Thomsen
07-08-2012, 09:35 AM
Oh man, I am SO going to buy all these. I actually ended buying all the OOP releases a year and a half to two years ago on eBay and Amazon. Cost me quite a lot. But who cares. That was then.

I have only seen rips of the rest of the shows. Some of them I liked quite a lot, so I am really looking forward to re-watch them in better quality.

Now someone just need to re-issue the ITV 'Woman in Black'.

Randy G
07-09-2012, 01:12 AM
Paul, did the BBC ever do any Machen adaptations? Doubtful I know but...

Roderick
07-10-2012, 11:57 AM
James' Casting the Runes is getting a R1 release next week (http://www.amazon.com/Casting-Runes-Ian-Cuthbertson/dp/B007TSV4EW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341935684&sr=8-1&keywords=casting+the+runes). It looks to be a port of the R2 release from several years back.

Paul L
07-10-2012, 01:26 PM
Paul, did the BBC ever do any Machen adaptations? Doubtful I know but...
I don't recall any, but there have been some pretty good readings of Machen's stories on BBC radio.

Randy G
07-11-2012, 04:40 AM
Cool, I'll see if I can track them down. Would love to hear a good reading of The White People.

Ian Jane
08-06-2012, 10:09 AM
The next two releases in the line are:

3627

3628

Ian Jane
08-06-2012, 10:18 AM
Ghost Stories from the BBC: Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree (DVD)

Films by Lawrence Gordon Clark

As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of MR James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010.

These adaptations, which have a subtlety and style all of their own, have been a major influence on many contemporary British horror filmmakers and have come to be some of the most sought after British TV titles by their legions of eager fans.

This BFI's collection of Ghost Stories from the BBC features the DVD premiere of three MR James stories directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark: 1973's Lost Hearts, 1974's The Treasure of Abbot Thomas and 1975's The Ash Tree

Special Features:
-New introduction to Lost Hearts by Lawrence Gordon Clark (11 minutes)
-New introduction to Treasure Of Thomas Abbott by Lawrence Gordon Clark (11 minutes)
-New introduction to The Ash Tree by Lawrence Gordon Clark (8 minutes)
-Illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned essays by horror writer Ramsey Campbell and the BFI's Alex Davidson and Dick Fiddy.

Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Signalman / Stigma / The Ice House

Films by Lawrence Gordon Clark and Derek Lister

This BFI's collection of Ghost Stories from the BBC includes 1976's The Signalman, 1977's Stigma and 1978's The Ice House. Although most films in the series were based on the works of MR James, The Signalman, was scripted by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice) from a Charles Dickens Story, while the last two films in this volume were based on original scripts.

Special Features:
-New introduction to The Signalman by Lawrence Gordon Clark (11 minutes)
-New introduction to Stigma by Lawrence Gordon Clark (8 minutes)
-New introduction to The Ash Tree by Lawrence Gordon Clark (8 minutes)
-Illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned essays by broadcaster Matthew Sweet and Dr. Helen Wheatly.

The fifth and final installment of Ghost Stories, containing the more recent installments A View From A Hill and Number 13, and a complete Ghost Stories For Christmas box set will be released October 22.

Mark C.
08-06-2012, 07:46 PM
Glad to see they are going with a complete boxset for this eventually, Oct 22. Hopefully its not too pricey.

Jens Thomsen
08-07-2012, 06:48 AM
Nice! Got rips of some of the previously un-released and I can't wait to see them in good quality. I remember liking The Treasure of Abbott Thomas and The Ash Tree. The latter has a particular creepy moment.

Ian Jane
09-19-2012, 09:39 AM
The latest on the last two releases:

--------------------

Classic adaptions from the BBC: A View From a Hill / Number 13

The fifth and final volume of films from the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas series will be released by the BFI on 29 October. The release of A View From a Hill and Number 13 brings this much anticipated collection to a total of a dozen films across five volumes, which will also be released together in a 5-disc DVD box set, Ghost Stories for Christmas, on the same date.

These two relatively recent adaptions of classic MR James stories perfectly complement the vintage films on the previous volumes. They were broadcast as part of a BBC revival of the much loved seasonal A Ghost Story for Christmas series during the last five years.

A View From a Hill (Luke Watson, 2005):

When young museum curator Fanshawe is sent to catalogue a debt-laden squire’s archaeological collection, he uses a pair of homemade binoculars borrowed from his genial host to survey local ‘Gallows Hill’. The glasses seem to give him a strange new ability and, ignoring all warnings about their necromantic creator, Fanshawe carries out his historical researches. But the bloody past of the area is best left undisturbed.

Adapted from a short tale by MR James, the master of the English ghost story, A View From a Hill remains faithful in spirit to its literary creator, with an excellent lead performance from Mark Letheren as the uptight, doomed Fanshawe.

Number 13 (Pier Wilkie, 2006):

Dissatisfied with his hotel room, Professor Anderson (played by Greg Wise) demands to be moved to number 12 where he can work undisturbed. But, infuriated by the ghoulish noises made nightly by his neighbour, he is soon driven to investigate the diabolical secrets of the old hotel and its mysteriously vanishing room 13.

MR James’ spooky tale was shot in the grounds and library of Winchester Cathedral, lending a rich period atmosphere to this terrifying adaptation.
Special features

-Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee – ‘Number 13’ by MR James (2000): Ronald Frame’s adaptation is brought to life by horror maestro Christopher Lee
-Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays by Jonathan Rigby and Simon McCallum

Product details:
RRP: £19.99 / cat. no. BFIBVD963 / Cert 12
UK / 2005 + 2006 / colour / English language / 39 mins + 40 mins / DVD9 / Original aspect ratio 1.78:1 (16x9 anamorphic) / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

4301

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Ghost Stories for Christmas: The Definitive Collection (5-disc set)

Broadcast in the dying hours of Christmas Eve, A Ghost Story for Christmas was a much-loved fixture in the BBC’s seasonal schedule during the 1970s. Terrified viewers awaited each sinister instalment with excitement and its enduring appeal gave rise to a revival in the 2000s, when three more episodes were produced.
Released on 29 October, this definitive collection finally brings all of the A Ghost Story for Christmas episodes together, along with a number of essential extra features, in a lavish 5-disc BFI box set which will, of course, make the perfect Christmas present.

Amongst the 12 films in the collection are nine adaptations of tales by MR James – the acknowledged master of the modern English ghost story – including Jonathan Miller’s Whistle and I’ll Come to You and Lawrence Gordon Clark’s A Warning to the Curious. Other films include Clark’s superb adaptation of Charles Dickens’ The Signalman and two original stories: Stigma and The Ice House.

These adaptations are accompanied by a selection of special features, including three previously unreleased episodes of the BBC’s Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee series, and newly filmed introductions with director Lawrence Gordon Clarke (Harry’s Game).

BOX SET CONTENTS:

Disc One:

-Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968 & 2010 versions)
-Jonathan Miller and Christopher Frayling discuss the 1968 version (2012, 3 mins)
-Introduction to the 1968 version by horror writer Ramsey Campbell (2001, 16 mins)
-MR James’ original story read by Neil Brand (2001, 42 mins)
-Ramsey Campbell reads his own MR James inspired story ‘The Guide’ (2001, 27 mins)

Disc Two:

-The Stalls of Barchester (1971) and A Warning to the Curious (1972)
-Filmed introductions with director Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012)
-Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee – ‘The Stalls of Barchester by MR James’ and ‘A Warning to the Curious by MR James’ (Eleanor Yule, 2000, 2 x 30 mins)

Disc Three:

-Lost Hearts (1973), The Treasure of Abbot Thomas (1974) and The Ash Tree (1975)
-Filmed introductions with director Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012)

Disc Four:

-The Signalman (1976), Stigma (1977) and The Ice House (1978)
-Filmed introductions to The Signalman and Stigma with director Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012)

Disc Five:

-A View From a Hill (2005) and Number 13 (2006)
-Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee – ‘Number 13 by MR James’ (Eleanor Yule, 2000, 30 minutes)

Product details:

RRP: £49.99 / cat. no. BFIVD964 / 15
UK / 1968–2010 / black & white and colour / English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles / 477 minutes + extras / 5 x DVD9 / various original aspect ratios / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

4300

Koukol
09-19-2012, 05:10 PM
I love the cover!

I got word from AmaUK that the release date has been pushed back.

Richard--W
09-28-2012, 09:03 PM
Love these episodes.

M.R. James must have had a truly inexplicable experience in life -- perhaps an encounter with a spook -- to come up with the stories he did. The ending of "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" for example. In the teleplay when Michael Hordern says "No, no, no" in a state of denial, a rejection of what's occurring in the moment it's occurring, is very true to life.

Richard--W
09-28-2012, 09:13 PM
James' Casting the Runes is getting a R1 release next week (http://www.amazon.com/Casting-Runes-Ian-Cuthbertson/dp/B007TSV4EW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341935684&sr=8-1&keywords=casting+the+runes). It looks to be a port of the R2 release from several years back.

Has anyone seen this?
I've been meaning to check it out for the longest time.

Richard--W
09-28-2012, 09:27 PM
By the way if you like M.R. James the two most accurate texts from his manuscripts are:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143039393/sr=1-7/qid=1348881645/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&qid=1348881645&seller=&sr=1-7

and

http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Dolls-House-Stories-Complete/dp/014303992X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y#reader_014303992X

Apparently his short stories were routinely edited and cut by publishers for reasons of space. Editor S.T. Joshi went back to the closest primary source and annotated each story in these Penguin editions, as he did for H.P. Lovecraft. Wonderful stuff.

Koukol
09-28-2012, 09:35 PM
Has anyone seen this?
I've been meaning to check it out for the longest time.


The film or the DVD?

I've got the R2 but the film is nowhere as brilliant as OH WHISTLE imo.

Wernski
09-29-2012, 01:34 PM
Has anyone seen this?
I've been meaning to check it out for the longest time.

It's fun, but I actually prefer the other MR James film that's on the same disc. :)

Paul L
09-29-2012, 04:35 PM
Love these episodes.

M.R. James must have had a truly inexplicable experience in life -- perhaps an encounter with a spook -- to come up with the stories he did. The ending of "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" for example. In the teleplay when Michael Hordern says "No, no, no" in a state of denial, a rejection of what's occurring in the moment it's occurring, is very true to life.
Interesting take on James, Richard. I've long been a fan of his work, and have read many of his short stories several times over. (In fact, for many years, I would read the complete ghost stories once a year, between October and Christmas - which always seemed the right time of year to read James' work.) But as you say, there's a ring of truth to his stories of encounters with the supernatural. Perhaps there was something in James' past.

And as you say, the BBC adaptations have a ring of truth to them - the nightmare Hordern experiences in 'Oh, Whistle...' and, especially, Peter Vaughan's experiences in 'A Warning to the Curious'. The latter has always struck home to me, as I've lived near the English coast all my life and that story really captures the sense of isolation that can be experienced in a rural, coastal environment - where sometimes it feels like something is following you, and the loneliness can make you imagine things that are not there, like a solitary figure following you from a distance (or perhaps are; I guess you never fully know for sure). (James likes his liminal spaces too, doesn't he?) As a boy, my father used to live in a very small village by the coast, and he has told me about experiences that are similar to those depicted in 'A Warning to the Curious'. To my regret, I never really believed him until I had my own run-in with the supernatural.

However, my favourite in this series is possibly not one of the James adaptations but rather 'The Signalman' - that episode is truly chilling, for me at least.

I don't think the ITV adaptation of 'Casting the Runes' is quite as good as the BBC James adaptaptions, but it's certainly worth buying (imo, of course).

What's also worth tracking down, and this comes with a very high recommendation from me, are the three surviving episodes from the BBC's 1972 series DEAD OF NIGHT, 'A Woman Sobbing', 'Exorcism' and 'Return Flight'. All three are very good, 'Exorcism' functioning as allegory but depicting a very believable narrative about a group's encounter with the supernatural. 'A Woman Sobbing' sends shivers through my spine when I do so much as think of it - there's something indescribably haunting about it.

EDIT. All three are on Youtube, so here for your viewing delectation...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSLfNEodElE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tSnvdto6Wo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1K8exT0Lb4

There was another chilling 1970s/1980s one-off play that sticks in my mind. I can't remember the title of it, but it focuses on a writer who visits a remote village and finds himself haunted by the ghost of the daughter of the family who give him shelter. I wish I could remember the title of it, as it's very good indeed. (EDIT: It's 'The Intercessor', from the 1980s series SHADES OF DARKNESS.) Another good 'un was the 1979 BBC adaptation of 'Schalken the Painter'. Quite hard to come by, but worth tracking down.

Paul L
09-29-2012, 04:45 PM
Whilst we're at it, US forum members may like to check out these clips from the WEST COUNTRY TALES series, broadcast in 1982. The tales were supposedly based on true stories submitted by viewers. This is one of many; there are quite a few up on Youtube.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvpbXTWwJBM

Richard--W
09-29-2012, 07:56 PM
Interesting take on James, Richard. I've long been a fan of his work, and have read many of his short stories several times over. (In fact, for many years, I would read the complete ghost stories once a year, between October and Christmas - which always seemed the right time of year to read James' work.) But as you say, there's a ring of truth to his stories of encounters with the supernatural. Perhaps there was something in James' past.

And as you say, the BBC adaptations have a ring of truth to them - the nightmare Hordern experiences in 'Oh, Whistle...' and, especially, Peter Vaughan's experiences in 'A Warning to the Curious'. The latter has always struck home to me, as I've lived near the English coast all my life and that story really captures the sense of isolation that can be experienced in a rural, coastal environment - where sometimes it feels like something is following you, and the loneliness can make you imagine things that are not there, like a solitary figure following you from a distance (or perhaps are; I guess you never fully know for sure). (James likes his liminal spaces too, doesn't he?) As a boy, my father used to live in a very small village by the coast, and he has told me about experiences that are similar to those depicted in 'A Warning to the Curious'. To my regret, I never really believed him until I had my own run-in with the supernatural.


I've heard good things about DEAD OF NIGHT. Before I watch the murky utubes, I gather neither DEAD OF NIGHT nor WEST COUNTRY TALES are on DVD, right? They sound right up my alley.

I don't believe writers like Algernon Blackwood, Oliver Onions, M.R. James or Shirley Jackson could dig so deep and so truthfully into the supernatural if they did not have some measure of experience with it.

Barry M
09-29-2012, 10:01 PM
I don't know... I just don't buy biographical criticism of supernatural writers. It's not so much that I don't believe in ghosts (don't, personally), but that I do believe in writers. And ghost stories aren't about ghosts, they're about people: I'd allow that writers should probably have had some experience with people.

Richard--W
09-29-2012, 11:29 PM
That was my doctorate asserting itself. I try to suppress it, but it sneaks out sometimes. I'll go in and remove.

Anyone can write a ghost story. Anyone can tell a ghost story. It doesn't take much talent. Most ghost stories are professional product lacking in inspiration. Just because a writer has experience with people doesn't mean he can write a ghost story that rings true to an experience with the supernatural. Posts like yours' are the reason people are reluctant to talk about their supernatural encounter. They are put into a position of having to prove something they don't know how to explain, defend or understand. It has to happen to you before you get it.

Barry M
09-30-2012, 10:57 AM
Posts like yours' are the reason people are reluctant to talk about their supernatural encounter. They are put into a position of having to prove something they don't know how to explain, defend or understand. It has to happen to you before you get it.

Actually, I totally suck at discouraging people from talking about their supernatural encounters, and I'm pretty okay with that. People should tell their spooky stuff. But do horror writers require authentic experience or belief? Nope. While they might benefit from it, it's not a requirement, and I guess I just don't believe that I as a reader can use my raised hairs and chills as evidence of the writer's experience or beliefs. Writers are a bunch of bald-faced liars. They make stuff up, bless 'em, and I'm fully supportive of writers appropriating the voices of the authentically terrified. I even dig being artfully manipulated by the unbelieving: that just makes it even better.

Ian Jane
09-30-2012, 12:22 PM
Never heard of West Country Tales before Paul, sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Richard--W
09-30-2012, 02:57 PM
Actually, I totally suck at discouraging people from talking about their supernatural encounters, and I'm pretty okay with that. People should tell their spooky stuff. But do horror writers require authentic experience or belief? Nope. While they might benefit from it, it's not a requirement, and I guess I just don't believe that I as a reader can use my raised hairs and chills as evidence of the writer's experience or beliefs. Writers are a bunch of bald-faced liars. They make stuff up, bless 'em, and I'm fully supportive of writers appropriating the voices of the authentically terrified. I even dig being artfully manipulated by the unbelieving: that just makes it even better.

This is what I get for sharing.

Nobody said horror writers are required to write from experience or belief. I'd argue that you're missing the point, but there's no point into getting sucked into a pointless debate. You're full of shit, Barry M. But if this is really your opinion, do enjoy it.

Paul L
09-30-2012, 03:23 PM
Never heard of West Country Tales before Paul, sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up on that.
No worries, Ian. To answer Richard's question, neither WEST COUNTRY TALES nor DEAD OF NIGHT are available on DVD - and I doubt they ever will be, as neither series is one of the BBC's 'big guns'. One episode of DEAD OF NIGHT ('Exorcism') was repeated about five years ago, but none of the others have been shown since their initial broadcast - and only the three episodes cited above remain in existence. I think one or two episodes of WCT have been repeated since the early 1980s, but not the full series - and again, there are episodes that are impossible to come by, although they could very well be in existence in the BBC's vaults someplace. There was a particularly good (imo) episode called 'The Poacher', which isn't among those that have been posted online.

IIRC there was another early 1980s supernatural series (on ITV) that claimed to be dramatised accounts of 'true' stories sent in by viewers. I'll see if I can remember its title.

Apronikoff
09-30-2012, 03:42 PM
I think one or two episodes of WCT have been repeated since the early 1980s, but not the full series - and again, there are episodes that are impossible to come by, although they could very well be in existence in the BBC's vaults someplace. There was a particularly good (imo) episode called 'The Poacher', which isn't among those that have been posted online.

Several WCT episodes (including The Poacher) are posted on The Box. Looks like they're VHS rips, but sounds like that might be the best that would be available...

Paul L
09-30-2012, 05:12 PM
Interesting. Thanks for that, Apronikoff. I haven't used The Box for a while, but I think my login is still valid.

Barry M
09-30-2012, 05:32 PM
I just wish the collected set had an earlier, more October-friendly release date. I'll probably rewatch the original discs of WHISTLE and WARNING, and maybe a couple of rips (probably STALLS and ABBOT THOMAS): shouldn't complain, at least it'll be in time for Christmas.

Koukol
09-30-2012, 06:10 PM
I just wish the collected set had an earlier, more October-friendly release date. I'll probably rewatch the original discs of WHISTLE and WARNING, and maybe a couple of rips (probably STALLS and ABBOT THOMAS): shouldn't complain, at least it'll be in time for Christmas.


Well for the English ghost stories are a Christmas tradition.

Roderick
10-27-2012, 10:53 AM
I got a ship notice on the box from Amazon UK this morning.

bgart13
10-27-2012, 11:52 AM
Me too. :D

Note: in the BFI's release news yesterday or the day before, they announced another Ghost Stories set to be released in January -- but it's going to omit? some of the titles in this set. Seems strange, I'm curious what the point is.

Paul L
10-30-2012, 08:53 AM
I can beat you chaps: my set arrived today, and I'm going to start watching it tonight :)

Jealous yet? :biggrin:

Ben, is that set that's due to be released in January omitting some of the recent adaptations and including only the original 1970s GHOST STORIES... strand? If that's the case, I can see the logic behind that.

Btw, for those who preordered the set, its price on Amazon has gone up to £37 now!

Clive Smith
10-30-2012, 10:35 AM
Paul and I win - my set arrived today too. I'm going to watch the hell out of it.

Ben, there are two cases inside the cardboard slipcase; 1 standard Amaray for the non-James titles and a wider, 4-spindle Amaray for the James titles. I assume the latter case will be released individually as the future set - it's ready to go as a standalone.

Spooky.

Barry M
10-30-2012, 10:52 AM
Racists.

Clive Smith
10-30-2012, 11:10 AM
Lashing out.

Barry M
10-30-2012, 11:14 AM
It's not easy being green.

Clive Smith
10-30-2012, 11:20 AM
I've got THE UNINVITED arriving tomorrow. Barry, did you stump for the UK DVD or did the recent viewing slake your thirst?

I can't remember if I liked this movie... hopefully, it's Halloween-suitable.

Barry M
10-30-2012, 11:31 AM
Yep, got the shipping notice Monday. Plus, I didn't have to pay VAT. So there.

I liked it -- for all that it's serious about its scares, it's not so far off THE GHOST BREAKERS that you can't see the dumb romantic comedy skeleton of the thing (and for better and worse, Ray Milland's no Bob Hope). It's weak tea compared to the MR James stuff, but Americans never did know how to make tea.

Clive Smith
10-30-2012, 11:41 AM
Ha. Yeah, my plan is MR James after the main feature and a few shots of port. Milland's great and at least there'll be no gurning.

No VAT? Must be a Canadian thing.

Paul L
10-30-2012, 02:37 PM
Ben, there are two cases inside the cardboard slipcase; 1 standard Amaray for the non-James titles and a wider, 4-spindle Amaray for the James titles. I assume the latter case will be released individually as the future set - it's ready to go as a standalone.
I wondered about that too, Clive.

For the uninitiated, a pic :biggrin: :

http://i434.photobucket.com/albums/qq66/vitocipriani/DSCF4030.jpg

Clive Smith
10-31-2012, 02:38 AM
Wonderful composition, depth of field and phone sock.

Paul L
10-31-2012, 05:20 AM
Yep, should have moved that out of the way :biggrin: But it shows off the two Amaray cases, I think; like you say, they're almost 'ready to go' as standalone releases.

Barry M
10-31-2012, 08:20 AM
DVDs balanced upon a CD, with remote and (ensockelled) cellphone: still life, mixed media.

The red & green ghostlights are merrily seasonal, too.

Want.

Clive Smith
10-31-2012, 08:42 AM
Want.

Wait.

Barry M
10-31-2012, 09:36 AM
And whistle.

Clive Smith
10-31-2012, 10:25 AM
I think I'm going to... hmm... STALLS OF BARCHESTER or TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS...

Just spot checked THE UNINVITED; Bobby the dog chasing a squirrel. Cute, not scary.

Paul L
10-31-2012, 10:25 AM
I started watching this set with the recent adaptations (A VIEW FROM A HILL, NUMBER 13), as I've only seen those once each - as opposed to the umpteen times I've seen the 1970s shows included in this set. VIEW FROM A HILL is much better than I remember it being when I watched it on its original broadcast; it hits the right beats, and the direction tips its hat to Lawrence Gordon Clark. It ends on a suitably unsettling note too.

NUMBER 13 is also better than I remember, although it's not as impressive as VIEW FROM A HILL. What struck me about NUMBER 13 this time was how good the sound design is. When this was shown on UK television, I remember watching it on my bedroom television, which had poor speakers; this time, I watched it in my living room via my surround sound setup, and there's some great use of directional sound to create unease. I really recommend watching this particular episode via your surround setup; it truly adds to the experience.

Next up is the recent adaptation of WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU, which I really wasn't keen on, despite the presence of John Hurt, but which I'll gladly give another day in court.

Clive Smith
10-31-2012, 10:54 AM
Next up is the recent adaptation of WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU, which I really wasn't keen on, despite the presence of John Hurt, but which I'll gladly give another day in court.

Yeah, I'll need to revisit this. Initial impression was that it managed to generate the right atmosphere up to the point where the theme changes left me behind.

Richard--W
10-14-2013, 09:18 AM
A lot has changed from a year ago. The BBC has released many of the programs under discussion here including DEAD OF NIGHT and SCHLACKEN THE PAINTER and ROBIN REDBREAST among others.

Wernski
11-05-2013, 02:13 AM
I don't think anyone's mentioned that BFI's Ghost Stories for Christmas: The Definitive Edition has been one-upped by a new edition, also from BFI, called Ghost Stories for Christmas Expanded Six-Disc Collection. The first five discs seem to be exactly the same (though I don't own it; did the DE come with a 46-page booklet, or is that new, too?); but they've included a new sixth disc which features five Classic Ghost Stories episodes, and three Spine Chillers episodes, both of which are in the same style as the Christopher Lee episodes... a single actor in a room doing a dramatic reading with music and other little embellishments.

Kind of makes a lie out of BFI's previous "definitive" claim, but there it is.

Lalala76
11-05-2013, 05:26 AM
I don't think anyone's mentioned that BFI's Ghost Stories for Christmas: The Definitive Edition has been one-upped by a new edition, also from BFI, called Ghost Stories for Christmas Expanded Six-Disc Collection. The first five discs seem to be exactly the same (though I don't own it; did the DE come with a 46-page booklet, or is that new, too?); but they've included a new sixth disc which features five Classic Ghost Stories episodes, and three Spine Chillers episodes, both of which are in the same style as the Christopher Lee episodes... a single actor in a room doing a dramatic reading with music and other little embellishments.

Kind of makes a lie out of BFI's previous "definitive" claim, but there it is.

Yeah, the Definitive edition that was released prior did have a 46 page booklet included, however having only bought this in January I kind of feel a little cheated with the extra material. That being said, you can buy this on a separate release I think.

Paul L
11-05-2013, 11:33 AM
Yeah, the Definitive edition that was released prior did have a 46 page booklet included, however having only bought this in January I kind of feel a little cheated with the extra material. That being said, you can buy this on a separate release I think.
It's this disc, isn't it?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SaRWVSihL._SY300_.jpg

I'm not too bothered about this as, other than being sourced from James' stories, the Powell series doesn't really have anything to do with the GHOST STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS strand (which, strictly speaking, doesn't even cover the Chris Lee readings or, for that matter, 'Whistle and I'll Come to You'). Hence, I don't think calling the previous release 'definitive' was in any way, shape or form a fib; but the newer release arguably offers a little more 'bang' for your buck.