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Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Signalman / Stigma / The Ice House
Films by Lawrence Gordon Clark and Derek Lister
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.
THE SIGNALMAN (1976)
When a traveller (Bernad LLoyd) stumbles upon a signalbox situated on a lonely stretch of country rail track, he is unable to believe the incredible story of its troubled occupant. Andrew Davies' (Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards) atmospheric adaptation from a short story by Charles Dickens features a remarkable performance by Denholm Elliott (A Room With a View, Bad Timing, Raiders of the Lost Ark) as the eponymous railway employee haunted by dreadful premonitions.
The pagan stone circles of Avebury are the backdrop for writer Clive Exton's modern-day horror. The attempted removal of an ancient menhir from a family's back garden unleashes a bloody curse on unsuspecting housewife Katharine, whose rising panic is captured brilliantly by Kate Binchy. The final offering in the BBC series to be directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, Stigma is available here for the first time on DVD
THE ICE HOUSE (1978)
After his wife leaves him, Paul (John Stride) seeks solace at a sophisticated health spa run by a pair of sinister siblings (played by Geoffrey Burridge and Elizbeth Romilly). Strangely attracted by the scent of a vine that grows on the old ice house in the spa's grounds, Paul is drawn ever deeper into a horrifying mystery. Written by John Bowen (The Treasure of Abbot Thomas) The Ice House is available here on DVD for the first time.
UK / colour / English language / Dobly Digital mono audio (320kbps)
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