Let me first make it clear the 3 stars are for the dvd not the actual content - for that I would award 5 stars without hesitation. Written by Mark Gattis (League Of Gentlemen, Doctor Who) Crooked house tells 3 tales about Geap Manor a house seeped in mystery and death. Originally this was a 3 part series but what those idiots who put out the dvd have done have edited it into an ominubus edition and removed some short scenes. To be fair these scenes are included in the deleated scenes special feature but why not release the series as it was shown in 3 parts ?
As I said before the programme content is excellent each story is well told and there are some genuine scares. The stories especially the first one with Philip Jackson (Poirot's Inspector Japp) are very much in the vein of M R James classic ghost stories. There are some nice special features including a "making of" and "what scares you" along with an enjoyable commentary with various cast and crew.
So a slightly dissapointing release of a very enjoyable series. I hope they make another series of Crooked House as there are other tales of Geap Manor waiting to be told.
Previously shown on BBC in 2008 this is now available to buy on this dvd. As the previous reviewer said, this has been slightly edited and made into one showing, but the bits are still there in the deleted scenes section. Written by the great Mark Gatiss there was originally only one half hour story written, but the BBC said that they wanted something that was longer ideally three parts, so in the end this was produced. A tale of a house and the hauntings that occur there, with a haunted door knocker that when placed on a new house means that sometimes you walk into the old house instead this is well thought out and acted, and there is more than a touch of M.R. James here. A great supernatural dvd that is a cut above most and will have you watching it again and again this will be a great addition to your supernatural/horror collection.
I dispute other reviews saying that (Crooked House [DVD] ) has been spoilt by being made into a single film rather than its original 3 parts. If you look at the running time it is only a minute shorter (89 rather than the original 90 minutes) yet there is only one lot of credits. Anything edited out is in the "deleted scenes" if you want them, but I couldn't find out what the fuss is about. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
on 26 June 2010
!!! WARNING. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. !!!
History teacher Ben(Lee Ingleby) finds an old door knocker in his garden and interested in its origins, takes it to the curator of a local museum. The curator(Mark Gatiss) recognises it immediately as being the old door knocker from Geap Manor. After some cajoling from Ben, the curator relates the horrible history of the manor to his captivated audience. In the first story he tells, ruthless entrepreneur Joshua Bloxham(Philip Jackson) having recently moved into Geap Manor is making alterations to the interior. Hearing noises at night, he invests in a cat. When the noises continue, he soon finds out there are other things, apart from rodents that go bump in the night. In the second story, we reach 1927 and an announcement made at a party by foppish Felix(Ian Hallard) of his forthcoming marriage. However his bride-to-be starts seeing a mysterious shrouded figure in a wedding dress around the house. Only Felix's Grandmother Constance(Jean Marsh) knows the horrible truth, a truth that a gift of 'something old' to the bride soon brings out into the open. The third story, returning to the present day sees Ben return home with the door knocker, the curator allowing him to keep it. The knocker finds pride of place on Ben's front door. One night, Ben is awoken by a loud knocking at the door. He accidentially gets locked out of his house, but using the spare key he re-enters the house. He finds himself transported back to the beginnings of Geap Manor, where the original owner sowed the seeds of evil in the house by dabbling in the occult. Is the past reaching out to the present to threaten Ben.
I have finally managed to watch this, after missing it upon its original transmission.(Some of us do have to work at Christmas!). It's marvellous seasonal fayre, a triumphant return to the glory days of the Beeb's 'Ghost Story For Christmas'. Okay, it does owe as much to the Amicus anthology films as it does to those spine chilling M.R James adaptations, but thats fine by me, as it's a perfect marriage of styles. Gatiss has chosen his cast extremely well, as they all deliver pitch-perfect performances, and the period details are all exlemprary.
There is a streak of humour running through the framing story, with some witty exchanges between Ben and the Curator, but thankfully the supernatural tales themselves are played dead straight, delivering a fair quota of shudders as they progress. I do agree with a previous reviewer, who argued that sometimes less is more, and a mere suggestion than be just as frightening as a slightly ropey special effect. This is especially pertinent with regards to the climax of the first story. However thats a very minor quibble, as 'Crooked House' is a very fine anthology, dragging the traditional ghost story kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, and breathing new life into the genre in the process.
A nice array of extras on the disc too, if that floats your boat. As a complete package, I would highly recommend this release to all potential buyers. 5 out of 5
on 4 June 2011
I watched this when it was first on television and thought it good, but not brilliant. However, on watching it a second time I realised how well-written it is. It isn't a full-on horror story but it does build up nicely and moves at a good pace. It consists of three short stories. The first one, in my opinion, is the least scary. It is also the least relevant to the full story. They could have made the first story better, or dropped it altogether. However, this doesn't detract from the fact that it is still worth buying for the last two and the ending.
on 20 January 2013
Ghostly anthology of stories (3 compiled into one omnibus) based on one old house over the centuries, with Mark gatiss as the creepy story teller. Each story builds in tension and become scarier with each one, culminating in some pure horrific moments. If you enjoyed ghost stories for christmas and woman in black then you may enjoy this. The only problem is that one of the publicity shots on the back cover gives the game away with one story and makes the impact less succesful. Very good BBC ghost story.
Written by and starring ghost story connoisseur Mark Gatiss, this superb and genuinely chilling ghost story anthology was shown by the BBC over Christmas 2008. Originally in 3 parts but here in the 90 minute single episode version, there are three ghostly tales, each one more scary than the last. The film takes a storytelling format, with Mark Gatiss as the museum curator explaining the history of Geap Manor to teacher Lee Ingilby, which then lead into the dramatised action. First comes an eighteenth century tale, then one set in the 1930s, all set in the manor and featuring rather sticky ends. More chilling however is the third installment set in the present day, as we discover things we took for granted in the first two parts are not what they seem. Hugely enjoyable, scary and a few shocks here and there - brilliant entertainment.
on 2 April 2015
A very creepy anthology with three very well acted and well made stories,two of them set years ago and the other with the main character set in the present day.
This is about a teacher called Ben(a superb Lee Ingleby) who finds a antique door knocker and takes it to his local museum where the curator(wonderful Mark Gatiss) tells him its from a old mansion called Geap Manor.We then hear about two stories from years ago set in the house.The first one involves satanism along with a dodgy business man who hears noises in the house.The second is the more interesting one about a curse put on the house by a woman who committed suicide after being betrayed by her groom and his lover and this affects a new couple who want to get married and strange things happen in the house.The final story is set in the present day and involves Ben himself as the ghosts and past moments in the house now affect him and his family.
All three stories are very good but as i said before the second story is the best and most exiting and so much more to it than the other two and would a great feature length horror movie.The other two are very good but pale next to the other one and the third in particular is a bit silly compared to the first two.I do love the scenes before the stories between Ben and the curator though and are the best bits in the whole series.
The acting overall is excellent with as i said before Lee Ingleby on top form playing main role Ben and is great early on but comes into his own in the final part and plays a man who is a skeptic to start with but we follow him as he see things that simply can't be explained away.Mark Gatiss is as always a wonderful talent and as he also wrote this he knows every bit of it and his curator is a creepy and clever person who's every line is said in a slimy sort of way like he is hiding something and don't know if he is friend or foe,if anyone has seen him in classic BBC series Sherlock you will know how great he is and know his every line is said in a way like anyone he speaks to is a lower class to what he is and comes close to topping Benedict Cumberbatch(and that ain't easy),he sort of plays a similar role here if with less authority and love his scenes with Ingleby.The supporting cast are all great with Daniela Denby-Ashe,Jean Marsh,David Ryall,Anna Madeley,Andy Nyman and illusionist Derren Brown all on very good form.
This has a really creepy feel to it all the way through even when Ben and the curator are just talking in the little room and even though there isn't really many moments when i jumped or was scared it has a real sense of dread and the sort of horror stories i love,is similar in tone to The Woman In Black,Turn Of The Screw and The Awakening.
Not many things were bad about this apart from maybe more proper scares and better effects and would of liked a more satisfying finale with less silly moments,also would of got five stars if the other two stories either side of the excellent second story could of matched it.
But this is still a excellent ghost anthology set in a creepy as hell haunted house with a true sense of dread throughout and headlined by superb performances by Ingleby and Gatiss,wish the BBC done more ghost stories like this little gem.
on 19 November 2013
Originally broadcast on 22-24 December 2008 in three 30 minute episodes, Crooked House has been slightly (but seamlessly) re-edited into a continuous 90 minute story for this BBC DVD release. It was written and co-produced by actor and writer Mark Gatiss who found fame in the 1999 BBC series The League of Gentlemenand who later he presented the widely regarded 2010 BBC series A History of Horror.
The three episodes of Crooked House concern the secrets of fictional Geap Manor, a recently demolished Tudor mansion in Windsor. The link for all three stories is history teacher Ben Morris (Lee Ingleby) who has found an old but rather creepy door knocker in his garden and interested in its origins. The curator of the local museum (Mark Gatiss in superb unsettling form) recognises it immediately as being the old door knocker from Geap Manor. After some cajoling from Ben, he relates three horrible stories.
The first, "The Wainscoting", is set in 1786 and is about the story of Joseph Bloxham, a selfish but sucessful capitalist who buys and improves the Manor, after realising an investment which ruined his fellow speculators. Strange noises are heard behind the newly installed wainscoting. The wood came from the pillars of the gallows known as the 'Tyburn Tree' an infamous eighteen century triangular gallows.
The second story, "Something Old", takes place in 1927, where, at the Manor, a lavish costume ball is being held. During the ball the young well-to-do Felix de Momery announces his engagement to pretty Ruth, much to the concern of his grandmother and annoyance of his friends. However, the young couple's future (and survival) is linked with another tragic wedding day and a ghostly bride who haunts the corridors.
In the third episode, "The Knocker", Ben himself discovers that, even though recently demolished, Geap Manor continues to cast a long shadow. Recently split from his girlfriend, he finds that his modern house has been built on the site of the Manor, it can be altered by events from the Manor's Tudor past. The tension in this episode builds nicely and by the end is palpable. The switching between present and past is really well handled.
This production delights in old fashioned creepy build up without the blood and guts visceral effects of many modern horror films and it is all the better for that. It makes you think, always a sign of good horror. Highly recommended.
on 20 April 2012
A very good production of three ghost stories linked by their connection to the long demolished Geap Manor, the site of which is now occupied by a cul de sac of modern houses. A chance find in the garden of one of the houses - of an old door knocker - brings the owner of one of the modern dwellings, a young history teacher, to pay a visit to the curator of the local museum. Obviously the young teacher had not read "A Warning to the Curious" by M R James (author of the finest ghost stories in the English language) otherwise he might not have been so foolish in seeking out the history behind the door knocker...
The three stories were well acted and very well produced, especially that set in the eighteenth century, which is very M.R.James in the way it is developed. The second is set during the "Roaring Twenties", and the third modern day. My only criticism would be on the denouement of the second story (set in the 1920s) which was far too explicit and implausible. The same ending could have been achieved with far more subtlety and would have been infinitely more disconcerting.