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BBC Ghost Stories: The Stalls of Barchester + A Warning to the Curious
Two 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 M R 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.
The Stalls of Barchester (1971)
While cataloguing the collection of Barchester Cathedral library, Dr Black stumbles across an intriguing box of papers belonging to former Archdeacon Haynes. 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 James short story inspired the BBC's popular 1970s series A Ghost Story for Christmas
A Warning to the Curious (1972)
The second of Clark's M R James adaptations for the BBC 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.
UK | 1971 + 1972 | colour | English language | 45 minutes + 50 minutes | DVD9 | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD
It was my father who long ago gave me a copy of MR James' ghost stories one Christmas. I often thought they'd make great short films and these adaptations are a very good effort. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bookworm
Both 'The Stalls Of Barchester Cathedral' and 'A Warning To The Curious' are very good versionsn of two of M.R. James strongest ghost stories. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Stephen Harris
These two superb, chilling tales began what would become the annual BBC `Ghost Story for Christmas', a fixture in 1970's seasonal viewing. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Number13
The mini-play versions are not bad, although they suffer a little from 70s horror syndrome, but the Christopher Lee versions are outstanding.Published 8 months ago by Mr. L. Porter
One of the best ghost story videos I've ever purchased. No blood and guts, just ghost story telling at its best. Read morePublished 9 months ago by The Quibbler
What is the matter with some people? Clearly the people who found the stories boring ard the dull sort who prefer either the chirpy "Ghost and Mrs Muir" type or the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by LeytonGeoff