'Tis the Season = M.R. James

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Collected Stories lives on my bedside cabinet but Xmas = M.R. James time for real. Read "Casting the Runes" again the other night cos it's pleasant enough to not kick the nightmares in i.e. at least it ends well. That thing he wrote for the Boy Scouts is maybe the wickedest piece of child-scaring I've ever read.

I know there's some James love on this board, let's try and work out why he's the best Christmas writer ever.

http://uktv.co.uk/ can fuck right off imo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:27 (twelve years ago) link

Right, you've inspired me to get out my collections--will report back!

Attention please, a child has been lost in the tunnel of goats. (James Morrison), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:30 (twelve years ago) link

The Complete Stories is almost certainly my most revisited book but it mysteriously seems to go missing all the time. Like right now damnit.

George Mucus (ledge), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:36 (twelve years ago) link

Not been updated for ages, and not the most accessible of sites, but if you love MRJ, you need to know about this:

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pardos/GS.html

Soukesian, Friday, 13 November 2009 23:37 (twelve years ago) link

He always makes me want to chase up people like Arthur Machen and I think this is partly some proto Wicker Man "british isles is evil and old" imaginary anti-nostalgia but I have never read a writer who can properly compete.

http://uktv.co.uk/ can fuck right off imo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:38 (twelve years ago) link

The White People by Machen is definitely worth a read.

George Mucus (ledge), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:39 (twelve years ago) link

Online here: http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/whtpeopl.htm

Much more dense and trippy than James. Some elucidation here: http://www.violetbooks.com/REVIEWS/rbadac-numinous.html

George Mucus (ledge), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:40 (twelve years ago) link

I read some Machen on the net one time but I need proper fo' real books.

BBC sussed this shit cos they always do James adaptations over the christmas-tide. I suppose it ties into hiding in our mead-halls over the winter solstice atavism too.

http://uktv.co.uk/ can fuck right off imo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:41 (twelve years ago) link

Hard to pick a favourite James story but the Scouts one is definitely one of the darkest and most horrible.

George Mucus (ledge), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:42 (twelve years ago) link

Hard to look at an unmown summer field without feeling it, too.

http://uktv.co.uk/ can fuck right off imo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:46 (twelve years ago) link

'Rats' is a really intense shocker. 'Canon Alberic's Scrapbook' and 'Count Magnus' also jump to mind.

Doesn't seem to be online, but there is an occasionally reprinted chapbook called "The James Gang", listing MRJ influenced authors of ghost stories. From memory: H.R. Wakefield, E.F. Benson. L.T.C Rolt, A.N.L. Munby, Andrew Caldecott and so on . .

Soukesian, Friday, 13 November 2009 23:53 (twelve years ago) link

Benson is a guy who always cropped up in childhood ghost compilations and I should maybe try and track down his collected ghost stories next.

http://uktv.co.uk/ can fuck right off imo (Noodle Vague), Friday, 13 November 2009 23:56 (twelve years ago) link

Wordsworth do a cheap (3-quid) omnibus of the ghost stories of Benson and his brother.

Attention please, a child has been lost in the tunnel of goats. (James Morrison), Saturday, 14 November 2009 07:22 (twelve years ago) link

E F Benson lived in Lamb House in Rye after the death of Henry James in 1915... my Wordsworth collection of Henry James' supernatural stories sits right next to my Wordsworth collection of M R James' supernatural stories...SPOOKY

Ward Fowler, Saturday, 14 November 2009 08:49 (twelve years ago) link

Getting back to M.R. James, he was an academic expert on the biblical apocrypha, and the medieval literature around it, knew a lot about medieval ideas on demonology and witchcraft and seems to have been at least open to the idea that some of it was true. This certainly gives his stuff its antiquarian depth, and must have something to do with its psychological edge.

Soukesian, Saturday, 14 November 2009 19:14 (twelve years ago) link

There's a good essay by someone called Jacqueline Simpson in Folklore about the origins (particularly Scandinavian) of his ghosts, the rules that they obey.

Here we go -

"The Rules of Folklore" in the Ghost Stories of M. R. James

Jacqueline Simpson
Folklore, Vol. 108, (1997), pp. 9-18

Interestingly, the device he used in Casting the Runes (of the unwitting acceptance of a message resulting in death unless it can be passed on to another unsuspecting victim - later used in, amongst others, the various Ringu/Ring films) Simpson claims is completely original.

Casting the Runes also has that memorable image of the insects crawling out of the slide projection screen at a children's party - possibly a precursor to that brilliant and startling moment in the Ring films.

'virgin' should be 'wizard' (GamalielRatsey), Saturday, 14 November 2009 20:27 (twelve years ago) link

That's fascinating - he puts that over so convincingly that I just assumed it was a real tradition. Be interested to know if the writer of Ringu was referencing either the James story or the Night of the Demon movie.

Soukesian, Saturday, 14 November 2009 20:41 (twelve years ago) link

The whole slide projection sequence in "Casting the Runes" is vivid and memorable. If anything the "happy" ending undermines the horror a little bit.

I'm sure that there are folkloric precursors to the cursed message, even if James invented the specifics himself. The Black Spot in Treasure Island is kind of an influence I think. Not to take anything away from James himself tho.

Azzingo da Bass - Dom's Night (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 14 November 2009 21:04 (twelve years ago) link

I think the Black Spot (god how that gave me nightmares as a child - that and Blind Pew) was just a signal, like a white feather, that some sort of (man made) retribution or communal judgement was at hand, but yes, certainly I'm sure cursed objects, papers etc are a strong element of lots of folk beliefs - I suspect that she was referring to either the unwitting nature of the person receiving the message, or the element where if it gets passed on, the curse moves entirely over to the other person, possibly both - as you say, the specifics.

I've read (nowhere particularly authoritative I don't think) that Ringu was influenced by Casting the Runes, but at the time I read that, I felt that was perhaps a little tenuous, I'm not really sure now, but not knowing anything about the genesis of the film, am only really going on instinct.

'virgin' should be 'wizard' (GamalielRatsey), Saturday, 14 November 2009 21:50 (twelve years ago) link

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_v108/ai_20438230/?tag=content;col1

Here's a link to that Jacqueline Simpson article by the way.

Azzingo da Bass - Dom's Night (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 14 November 2009 22:27 (twelve years ago) link

Thanks!

xpost: I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Night of the Demon (the film of Casting the Runes) is well-known and respected in Japan. I don't know if MRJ's stories are, but it would be nice to make the connection.

I have a vague recollection that Ringu was based on some kind of actual school playground urban legend, but I could be wrong.

Soukesian, Saturday, 14 November 2009 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

A big problem I have with lots of non-James stuff is the characters often explicitly hypothesise about the nature of the hauntings, go on about the spiritual dimension, speculate about mechanisms for passing from one side to the other, etc etc. It always comes across as thoroughly bogus and destroys any suspension of disbelief. I can't recall James ever doing this, his horrors just are, and you accept them thoroughly.

George Mucus (ledge), Monday, 16 November 2009 10:49 (twelve years ago) link

Same point made in the article above, I discover.

George Mucus (ledge), Monday, 16 November 2009 11:02 (twelve years ago) link

A collection of James' own pieces on the history and construction of ghost stories:
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/j/james/mr/collect/appendix.html

George Mucus (ledge), Tuesday, 17 November 2009 14:50 (twelve years ago) link

i only learnt today his first name is montague

thomp, Tuesday, 17 November 2009 14:56 (twelve years ago) link

James' ghosts and demons are almost never communicable with, which is another point in their favour. They're almost always implacable forces of evil once they've been disturbed, with no chance for the victim to reason with them. At best, you can dodge them or put them onto somebody else's trail.

eman moomar (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 17 November 2009 15:52 (twelve years ago) link

Also they're generally real physical things - revenants and demons - rather than wispy spooks and spectres. Not that there aren't scary stories with spooks and spectres, but James' ghoulies seem to generate a more palpable fear.

George Mucus (ledge), Tuesday, 17 November 2009 15:59 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah as in they will mess you up for real so shutting your eyes going "not scared not scared" won't cut it. As real things I guess they are also that much more tied to their landscape too, hence landscape = fear.

eman moomar (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 17 November 2009 16:02 (twelve years ago) link

This stuff was all very real to him, that's what makes it so intense. His ghosts are as real as his haunted houses - he would have been able to tell you all about their architecture - and as solid as the old-testament universe that he saw behind the Edwardian world he lived in.

Soukesian, Tuesday, 17 November 2009 22:21 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

44 sleeps till christmas a website just told me! fuck off. coincidentally i am reading m r james for the first time and huh.

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Monday, 12 November 2012 01:52 (nine years ago) link

well that made me very efficiently spooked when i was walking around the house in the dark last night but i don't really know how else i felt about it

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Monday, 12 November 2012 23:19 (nine years ago) link

+enjoyed the running jokes about golf
+favourite 'the mezzotint' = the cambridge types in it displaying utter aesthetic detachment at the supernatural stuff, just kinda 'huh, that ghoul totally stole a kid ... no biggie', like the inverse of Standard Lovecraft Emotion
+don't know how much of this stuff was as ... familiar? not predictable exactly ... at the head of the last century
+like the one with the ward of the guy who's an expert on sacrificial rituals and whose previous wards have vanished
+and he explains that afterwards!! in case you didn't figure it out!!
+whereas 'whistle and i'll come to you, my lad', there's a foregrounded MYSTERIOUS INSCRIPTION which he never explains!!
+contrast to the ones in canon alberic's treasure, which are explained and overexplained. is 'the gold-bug' the (modern) origin of this type of story?
+'room 13' or 'number 13' a fine display of the 'the space in the room is wrong' thing, which is probably my favourite horror topos or trope of all time

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Monday, 12 November 2012 23:23 (nine years ago) link

Mezzotint = owner is freaked out but god help him he has to watch = maybe archivist's reaction to the unstoppable brutality of the past

inscription in Oh Whistle doesn't feel untranslatable but again the finder's "pooh pooh"ing draws him in
room 13 is straight Poe but Poe is ugly at this kind of horror of physics too, James sells you the naivety of his protagonists imo

movember spawned a nobster (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 02:34 (nine years ago) link

I presume you've all googled the inscription.

Dog the Puffin Hunter (ledge), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:41 (nine years ago) link

Interesting display of (non-scholarly) detachment in "Rats".

Dog the Puffin Hunter (ledge), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:45 (nine years ago) link

sorry yeah i think i cd read the inscription anyway when i was undrunk

anyho the place is the thing, imagine how horrible non-rural UK ghost writing mostly cd be

only Brod can judge me (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:19 (nine years ago) link

the mezzotint guy didn't seem that freaked out by it. he was willing to give that it was enough of a suspension of normal circumstances that his scout could use his chair, that was the limit.

i enjoyed the presence in a couple of cases of references to psychical-research types at the periphery of the story, curious what it would do to the logic of these fictions if they'd moved any more central

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 19:02 (nine years ago) link

basically after three stories i was thinking 'must get the collected stories as soon as possible' and after i finished the book i thought 'maybe i will get the collected stories one day when i see a copy'

Yorkshire lass born and bred, that's me, said Katriona's hologram. (thomp), Tuesday, 13 November 2012 19:04 (nine years ago) link

five years pass...

Is there a "best place to start" or just dive in with any book/edition?

djh, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 20:50 (four years ago) link

There are collected stories freely downloadable. Usually collections are largely chronological, it works well because a lot of his classics are in the first batch of stories but I think he gets richer and more interesting in some ways later on

you shoulda killfiled me last year (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 January 2018 21:57 (four years ago) link

cosine this

mark s, Tuesday, 2 January 2018 21:58 (four years ago) link

the penguin 'count magnus and other ghost stories' is his first two collections with no omissions and some extra stuff and s.t. joshi's notes are only a little bit annoying

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:17 (four years ago) link

+don't know how much of this stuff was as ... familiar? not predictable exactly ... at the head of the last century
+like the one with the ward of the guy who's an expert on sacrificial rituals and whose previous wards have vanished
+and he explains that afterwards!! in case you didn't figure it out!!

apparently i have a long history of hating on 'lost hearts'

weird note: i have a strong memory of reading that particular copy of 'ghost stories of an antiquary' in the house i grew up in ... which on the evidence of this thread never happened, as my parents had left long before the date i say i'm reading it for the first time ~

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:20 (four years ago) link

There are collected stories freely downloadable

MRJ might be the only author where I have a sudden luddite desire to claim that there's no substitute for reading him on paper. There is or was a cheapo wordsworth classics edition of the complete ghost stories, which has all but three.

Here comes the phantom menace (ledge), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 09:14 (four years ago) link

There's a run of stories towards the end that up till now have never left any impression on my memory - An Episode of Cathedral History, The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance, Two Doctors, The Haunted Dolls' House, The Uncommon Prayer-Book. Just reread them all and I would need some convincing that this isn't the weakest set of the bunch.

Here comes the phantom menace (ledge), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 09:19 (four years ago) link

An Episode of Cathedral History: this is good and important (= i have a *theory* abt it which i am waiting to deploy on freaky trigger).

All the others have one perfectly formed memorably nasty element but are otherwise slight (two doctors, which is largely period pastiche), formally a repeat (dolls house, as he admits), erm not un-racist (prayerbook), or technically flawed (disappearance, which i remain fond of for the punch-and-judy stuff).

mark s, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 10:08 (four years ago) link

caveat: i am the biggest MRJ-stan on the board and basically he did NOTHING BAD and EVERYTHING IS GOOD shut up

also ledge is clearly setting djh up for some kind of sacristan-style business with his "read it in an actual book"

mark s, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 10:14 (four years ago) link

one reason i like the copy i've downloaded is it collects everything and has James's introductions to the original published volumes.

you shoulda killfiled me last year (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 10:23 (four years ago) link

There is or was a cheapo wordsworth classics edition of the complete ghost stories, which has all but three.

that's collected not complete, which sounds less oxymoronish. it has this cover, which is a perfect evocation of the jamesian atmosphere, if not quite enough to inspire the terror of the sacristan:

http://www.fineartprintsondemand.com/artists/grimshaw/moonlight_walk-400.jpg

Here comes the phantom menace (ledge), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 13:35 (four years ago) link

i have a *theory* abt it which i am waiting to deploy on freaky trigger

only five others to go first eh

Here comes the phantom menace (ledge), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 13:36 (four years ago) link

I was pleased and unruffled by the way the film took liberties with the story, or at least I think it was taking liberties, been a while since I read the original. Maybe a bit unnecessary in the ending but the cinematography was gorgeous and spot on

it isn't even a Fraktion (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 November 2021 20:44 (six months ago) link

definitely liberties but i think they worked well enough like you say.

Fizzles, Monday, 15 November 2021 20:48 (six months ago) link

i prefer the story ending of him which is probably too grotesque to manage or desire to do on film.

Fizzles, Monday, 15 November 2021 20:49 (six months ago) link

You don't need to be told that he was dead. His tracks showed that he had run along the side of the battery, had turned sharp round the corner of it, and, small doubt of it, must have dashed straight irito the open arms of someone who was waiting there. His mouth was full of sand and stones, and his teeth and jaws were broken to bits. I only glanced once at his face.



and this sort of stuff is literary and excellent but again hard to do:

The notion of Paxton running after--after anything like this, and supposing it to be the friends he was looking for, was very dreadful to us. You can guess what we fancied: how the thing he was following might stop suddenly and turn round on him, and what sort of face it would show, half-seen at first in the mist--which all the while was getting thicker and thicker. And as I ran on wondering how the poor wretch could have been lured into mistaking that other thing for us, I remembered his saying, 'He has some power over your eyes.'

Fizzles, Monday, 15 November 2021 20:51 (six months ago) link

Can't visually improve on the master

it isn't even a Fraktion (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 November 2021 21:20 (six months ago) link

I did believe it hadn't been shown since the 70s tho cos the tape was not in good nick

it isn't even a Fraktion (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 November 2021 21:52 (six months ago) link

Anyhoo yeah Lost Hearts tonight which I'll no doubt watch later in the week and I don't love the liberties or the treatment so much

it isn't even a Fraktion (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 November 2021 21:54 (six months ago) link

I did believe it hadn't been shown since the 70s tho cos the tape was not in good nick


as you say the light and depiction of landscape wax A+

Fizzles, Monday, 15 November 2021 21:57 (six months ago) link

Not so keen on them changing Paxton to an older man, it removes the possibility of the WWI readings, with Paxton's elders and mentors unable to save him as James was unable to help those he mentored who went off to die in the war - or more sinisterly Paxton following those he believes to be his elders and mentors to his death. Sounds a bit crass condensed like that maybe but the podcast goes into more detail on James' wartime role and how it plays into those readings.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 16 November 2021 10:10 (six months ago) link

incidentally my own reading of the story -- based on the chiming descriptions of ager and paxton (young very solitary men of obsessive tendency) -- is that the final terrible face he sees is his own

this isn't remotely canon lol -- and it occurs to me now (reading ledge's post but w/o checking the podcast) that it could certainly be elaborated, via earthworks-trenches and the wartime clash and sacrifice by the old of so many younger men on both sides, and the "martello tower" and the broken face with sand in it…

as for that mysterious train: "'The First World War had begun - imposed on the statesmen of Europe by railway timetables. It was an unexpected climax to the railway age" (A.J.P.Taylor)

ffs i have actual work to do this morning

mark s, Tuesday, 16 November 2021 10:54 (six months ago) link

I did believe it hadn't been shown since the 70s tho cos the tape was not in good nick

not helped by having a whacking great BBC ident in the upper left-hand corner of the picture

Critique of the Goth Programme (Neil S), Tuesday, 16 November 2021 11:13 (six months ago) link

"Over on BBC Two, M.R. James’ The Mezzotint, adapted by Mark Gatiss, stars Rory Kinnear, Robert Bathurst, Frances Barber, John Hopkins, Emma Cunniliffe, and Nikesh Patel. This haunting tale, set in an old English college in 1922, it is guaranteed to bring some eerie fear to the audience."

(new years eve ish)

koogs, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 13:52 (six months ago) link

it is guaranteed to bring some eerie fear to the audience

great copywriting here

mark s, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 14:25 (six months ago) link

bbc christmas press release, bound to be a bit florid

also, xmas eve is the more traditional time for this. stop doing james wrong.

koogs, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 14:55 (six months ago) link

Gatiffs

huile about oeuf (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 15:30 (six months ago) link

moffe growing upon the scrapbook of a canon

mark s, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:09 (six months ago) link

Further to the discussion of Jamesian authors some way above, I really enjoyed both collections of Women's Weird. Sometimes stretching fairly standard horror to fit 'weird fiction', perhaps, but they're great anthologies, and there are a few antiquarian spooks in there to get a James-like fix.

emil.y, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:36 (six months ago) link

Those look great. Might actually lose a fair bit of cash on that publisher in general, looks like they have loads of interesting stuff.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 16:41 (six months ago) link

those do look good, thanks for the link

Brad C., Wednesday, 24 November 2021 18:25 (six months ago) link

Yeah will give that a go.

Mezzotint an interesting choice for televising, all the action happens in a picture which makes no difference in the reader's imagination but hard to imagine it having a high spook factor on the screen.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 19:27 (six months ago) link

very high risk factor making an artwork the centre of yr visual fiction!

itt: paintings that are plot-points in movies and TV that are terrible paintings (or excellent ones if there are any)

mark s, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 20:10 (six months ago) link

Aha, I was sure that I'd seen a version of 'the Mezzotint' before, and I had! BBC Classic Ghost Stories, 1986: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3389680/reference

emil.y, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:01 (six months ago) link

I recall liking it a lot, too. I don't have an anti-Gatiss kneejerk reaction like some people do, but I do kind of wish he wasn't the only one reviving these stories.

emil.y, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:04 (six months ago) link

Thanks for the link emil.y, hadn't heard of that publisher before. Wonder if there's much crossover with the British Library's anthologies of proper old ghost etc stories

https://shop.bl.uk/collections/british-library-fiction/products/a-phantom-lover-and-other-dark-tales-by-vernon-lee

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:19 (six months ago) link

tbf it's not full-blown kneejerk with Gatiss but he usually winds up disappointing me

huile about oeuf (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:41 (six months ago) link

I'm not sure any of the adaptations past or present have been that great tbh. The original Oh Whistle was about seven hours too long, the keystone cops chase at the end of A Warning to the Curious was pretty disappointing.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:52 (six months ago) link

Nooo, lies, ledge, lies. Both of those are wonderful. (My favourite Xmas ghost story adaptation is The Signalman but that's not James so doesn't count on this thread, I guess.)

emil.y, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 21:58 (six months ago) link

I want full on CGI monsters & gore not flapping sheets and a bloody nose.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:13 (six months ago) link

none more goth!

https://norfolktalesmyths.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/lost-hearts-lost6.jpg

mark s, Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:21 (six months ago) link

That made me think of Our Mutual Friend - "come up and be dead!" - which made me think of "I'll hold you living and I'll hold you dead" from the same - which made me think of the climax to A School Story.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Wednesday, 24 November 2021 22:36 (six months ago) link

bbc4 are showing these weekly on Mondays. last Monday was The Treasure of Abbott Thomas which i missed

next Monday is The Ash Tree

koogs, Thursday, 25 November 2021 07:14 (six months ago) link

I did believe it hadn't been shown since the 70s tho cos the tape was not in good nick

― it isn't even a Fraktion (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 November 2021 21:52 (one week ago) bookmarkflaglink

Nope, reshown in 2004 and 2005.

Jesus, last on 16 years ago. Where did my life go?

https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/search/0/20?order=-last&filt=bbc_four&q=A+Warning+To+The+Curious

"Spaghetti" Thompson (Pheeel), Thursday, 25 November 2021 19:26 (six months ago) link

dickens' Signalman tonight, followed (oddly) by an MR James documentary

koogs, Monday, 6 December 2021 18:30 (five months ago) link

The Signalman is really good, a psychological story that works better with the vfx and sensibilities of 70s TV than James' jump scares of the imagination.

Stigma next week, an original story, not well received at the time.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 20:49 (five months ago) link

The Signalman was excellent - properly creepy with some great scraping drones on the soundtrack.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 21:46 (five months ago) link

The thing that sticks with me most about the Holden Oh Whistle is the portrayal of the solitary walker. It captures that lonely, bumbling madness beautifully.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 22:03 (five months ago) link

It's the landscape as well, Miller uses the stark East Anglian coastline incredibly well to depict the character's total isolation, all those endless flat pebbly peaches stretching on to infinity. No better place to go slowly mad through loneliness.

Re: The Signalman, Denholm Elliot's best performance maybe? A strikingly haunting portrayal of the aftermath of trauma (the story inspired by Dickens' own traumatic experience surviving a train crash of course).

"Spaghetti" Thompson (Pheeel), Tuesday, 7 December 2021 23:51 (five months ago) link

Stigma next week, an original story, not well received at the time.

They weren't wrong.

big online yam retailer (ledge), Tuesday, 14 December 2021 09:07 (five months ago) link

I thought Stigma was ok, though it has been a while since I saw it.

I enjoyed the other original story in the series, The Ice House, more - though that isn’t well regarded either.

Scampo di tutti i Scampi (ShariVari), Tuesday, 14 December 2021 11:02 (five months ago) link

The Ice House is on next week. Stigma was just devoid of atmosphere, suspense, horror, historical depth or characterisation, and the acting was dreadful (including a 13 year old girl played by an actress who must have been 18 at least).

big online yam retailer (ledge), Tuesday, 14 December 2021 11:35 (five months ago) link

The Ice House is v good iirc, with more of an Aickmanesque atmosphere than Jamesian, looking forward to that. Agreed on Stigma, bit of a will-this-do box ticker

ignore the blue line (or something), Wednesday, 15 December 2021 22:48 (five months ago) link

new Mezzotint tonight on 2, and classic Whistle later on 4 (after turn of the screw)

koogs, Friday, 24 December 2021 10:31 (five months ago) link

The Ice House - Aickmanesque or not (and awful hammy acting or not) these kinds of stories full of signs and suggestions and not a shred of narrative logic do nothing for me. The Mezzotint - better than I was expecting! I am fully in support of the additional story element and ending.

two sleeps till brooklyn (ledge), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 11:34 (four months ago) link

Yeah didn't much care for The Ice House at all, thought it was much too arch and silly.

Here's a good and quite rare short that turned up on youtube starring TP McKenna, "A Child's Voice". Not a Ghost Story For Christmas but would fit that strand very well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zwQ6_KyHao

"Spaghetti" Thompson (Pheeel), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 12:18 (four months ago) link

mezzotint was simply done and i thought p strong* right up to the end, when it went very gerald's game (in a bad way)

*solo performance from rory basically

mark s, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 12:25 (four months ago) link

5 minutes into Whistle and it's got that great b&w look that i don't think you'd get today even if you tried. a friend's daughter caught him watching a b&w film and asked him why it was all silver and that's how this feels.

wonky angles galore too, and i don't think there's been a shot so far that hasn't had something in the foreground, or this one that's in a mirror.

koogs, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 14:59 (four months ago) link

The Ice House - Aickmanesque or not (and awful hammy acting or not) these kinds of stories full of signs and suggestions and not a shred of narrative logic do nothing for me. The Mezzotint - better than I was expecting! I am fully in support of the additional story element and ending.

― two sleeps till brooklyn (ledge), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 11:34 (three days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah on rewatch it wasn't as good as I remembered, not v good at all tbh

ignore the blue line (or something), Friday, 31 December 2021 00:37 (four months ago) link

Mezzotint was pretty well done, all quibbles are minor, Barber feels like violence but that's nobody's fault but hers really, closing bit could've stopped with his first/second sight of the new picture, the degrees for women bit felt like boilerplate Gatiss straining for the wrong note of relevance and flubbing it. it were good tho.

Khafre's clown (Noodle Vague), Friday, 31 December 2021 16:13 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

Christopher Lee reads the Ash Tree on bbc4 tonight at 10

koogs, Sunday, 22 May 2022 11:28 (five days ago) link


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