66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Grave Retribution (A Review for the Curious),
This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Stalls of Barchester / A Warning to the Curious [DVD] (DVD)Brief synopsis of A Warning to the Curious.
A impecunious amateur archaeologist arrives at a small Norfolk town intent on finding a missing crown which legend says protect's England from invasion.
Finding it isn't much of a problem, but the very act of finding it unleashes retribution from beyond the grave.
This was the second of eight "Ghost Stories for Christmas" the B.B.C. made between 1971 and 1978, and was one of the best in the series. Some other's mention "The Signalman" as the best, I have both stories but find I play this one more. Just personal taste I suppose. There is a genuine air of creepyness about this episode which is almost palpable, helped no doubt by the on-location filming.
These tales may be low on effects but they are high on atmosphere, and that's the way I prefer it.
For anyone who's interested I've listed all episodes in the 70's series below.
I've mentioned the original author in parenthesis.
24/12/71. The Stalls of Barchester. (M.R.James)
24/12/72. A Warning to the Curious. (M.R.James) 2002 DVD release.
25/12/73. Lost Hearts. (M.R.James)
23/12/74. The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. (M.R.James)
23/12/75. The Ash Tree. (M.R.James)
22/12/76. The Signalman. (Charles Dickens) 2002 DVD release.
28/12/77. Stigma. (Clive Exton)
25/12/78. The Ice House. (John Bowen)
Unusually for the Beeb at this time all these stories were shot on 16mm film.
People of the MTV generation will no doubt find the pacing slow, but I suspect they will not be the ones purchasing these, as the teenage body count isn't very high, and there isn't copious amounts of teenage blood on view.
For anyone who likes creepy NOT gory ghost stories, I can recommend anything by M.R.James, who is to the supernatural story what Lennon and McCartney are to pop music!
After being disappointed at how so little remained of the "Mystery and Imagination" TV series, I'm so glad these stories are finally seeing the light of day, or should that be, darkest of night? Now if only the Beeb or the BFI will release "Schalcken the Painter" (23/12/1979 - an Omnibus presentation),"Out of the Unknown" (Series four was more supernatural then sci-fi) and "Doomwatch", then my viewing pleasure would reach new heights.
Also worth a purchase, Nigel Kneale's "The Stone Tape"-25/12/1972.
(This was going to be the last episode of the "Dead of Night" series.)
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jul 2012 23:55:42 BDT
Very well written and bang on right. A good 'ghost story' [and as we know, M.R James IS the master] ought to be suggestive in imagination, rather than 'in your face'. It really is all about 'pace'. The wonderful ' The Haunting' is a prime example; never the ghost is seen, but heard and felt through performance, sound, lighting/shadows, etc. I can't wait till Christmas eve, at 12 midnight, when I always treat myself to a good ghost story, a glass of port, some fine cheese and a cigar. "There's something in the woods. It's coming." Brrrr.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2012 07:16:04 BDT
Thanks for all the info, esp since I wasn't even aware of this Beeb series (I'm a Canuck).
Ironically, I just happened to read "The Signalman" a couple weeks ago!
Posted on 9 Aug 2012 14:35:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Aug 2012 14:37:40 BDT
Paul Vernon says:
A little arrogant and elitist to assume the "MTV generation" won't like this series of excellent films. People eat what they're given and if they were given more of something like this, it could become apparent that tastes evolve. I wouldn't assume a more "mature" generation doesn't like faster pacing or gore simply as they're a little older - this would be grouping people and then judging them - of course, something people do not do ;)
I cannot wait for this set; I'm pining for excellent ghost films.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2012 06:44:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Aug 2012 06:50:43 BDT
I'm knocking on a fair bit and think Rob Zombie & Sam Raimi are tops [especially Drag Me To Hell], if that helps. However, it does seem apparent that the demand for a proper ghost story is something lacking in 'most' younger folk [look no further than the recent terrible re-make of the BBC drama of The Woman in Black, which was equal to the great book; reviews by 'younger folk' thought it was great .. err, no, it really was terrible].
Arguments about ghosts are daft, so I'm going shopping. See ya :-)
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2012 17:46:30 BDT
Armchair Pundit says:
Thank you for your nice words.
Posted on 2 Jan 2013 14:48:52 GMT
Syd Carlton says:
Thank you so much for the synopsis and the added information. Invaluable!
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013 15:07:26 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Jun 2013 13:18:37 BDT]
Posted on 29 Jan 2013 03:57:47 GMT
Brother Seamus says:
The recent remake of 'The Woman in Black' was good. Contrary to what that joker above said, in my circles, I defended the film against folks who were disappointed in its lack graphics. It was a good ghost story.
I was born in the 1980s.
And yes, I love Sam Raimi, too.
I don't like Rob Zombie.
In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2013 10:45:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jan 2013 10:50:43 GMT
The 're-make' of 'The Woman in Black' was dreadful. I suggest you watch the original BBC2 version  for proof of that. It's as close to the book [which I read in one day, it was so good] as can be. Whereas this later tosh is an insult to the book. It lacked everything; mainly hidden fear and proper mencing from the woman in Black from a distance. They even got the dog wrong; he cared for the dog, rather than a 'Oh, well, he's gone' reaction. The ending of the re-make is a pantomime in comparrison to the book.
P.S There's no need for personal insults, as I don't joke about things subjects I've studied and enjoyed for well over 40 years. Sorry to hear you miss the irony of Rob Zombie, but each to their own.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2013 14:53:32 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 6 Jun 2013 13:18:06 BDT]
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