If this is representative of what the BFI can dust off and put out on DVD, let's hope they carry on raiding the archive. Billed as the BBC' s Christmas ghost story in 1972, it's an admittedly dated but brilliantly suspenseful thriller from the pen of Nigel "Quatermass" Kneale that works because of what it implies as much as what it actually shows. The story concerns a team of scientists, led by Michael Bryant, who relocate to a spacious Gothic mansion to research a breakthrough recording medium. The team's only woman, played by Jane Asher, triggers an apparition in the only room that has not been renovated, and the remainder of the thriller is occupied with their frenzied attempts to monitor and explain the phenomenon.
Full of enthusiastic acting that derives from the school of "Shout, shout and shout again" (stage star Bryant, great though he is, is perhaps most guilty of projecting to the gods), The Stone Tape has lost none of its power to chill, 30 years on.
Kneale expertly feeds the imagination, lights the blue touch-paper and retires. There's no wrap-up resolution and the grand climax (this was the era of Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who, remember) boasts a succession of effects that don't come with "special" on the box. But the atmosphere is the thing. The extremely noisy sound track, aided by some creepy radiophonic murmurings, makes you so hypersensitive that you'll have to keep fiddling with the volume.
Kneale's intriguing reminiscences on the commentary - he doesn't believe in the supernatural, you know - and a printable script complete a great package.
But just bear in mind - it'll stay with you.