The Stone Tape [DVD] 
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Atmospheric seventies ghost story from the BBC. When scientists working for Ryan Electrics move into their new headquarters, a gothic mansion, they find one room unfinished. Strange noises are heard, and the builders are too frightened to complete their work. When the other scientists dismiss such fears as irrational whimsy, only psychically-minded Jill (Jane Asher) senses the dark secret that lurks beneath the building.
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Top Customer Reviews
At the age of 14 this classic ghost story had just the right mix of the supernatural and science fiction to make a lasting impression. The horror does not come in the form of blood and gore but from the basic plot element which identifies that the stone of a building records events when they occur under the correct set of emotinal circumstances, which to me seemed to offer a perfect solution to the question 'are there such things as ghosts ?'
The intensity of the plot has lost nothing in 30 years and although a little dated in some areas such as it's lack of exterior scenes, this seems to add to it's status as a classic, in the same way as Quatermass.
I watched it recently with my 68 year old father and my 13 year old nephew in the knowledge that they would both enjoy and suffer only a limited number of sleepless nights !!
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.
I can remember seeing this the first time around, (probably the 1973 broadcast) and the story made an impact on me as it seemed almost a plausible phenomenon at a time when little green men and UFOs were much in the news. If this is a re-release of the original, starring Jane Asher, I would say that the story is still a good one, but sad to say the production now looks a little dated - the acting of some is wooden, the special effects could be better and the colour is a bit dodgy, etc. But if you are a fan of ghost stories, it is worth a watch. Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Stone Tape [DVD]
The main reason to state this is who wrote it (Nigel Kneale), who knows how to write a TV play that grabs and shakes you - 1984 and the Quatermass series show his pedigree. The way it unfolds shows this, playing more like an actual book in how it unfolds before reaching the dark core of what is happening, which is something you don't see too often. This also drags you in, wanting to see how it unfolds. Rather than regular shock tactics, the atmosphere of dread increases slowly, before unleashing at key moments as the ghost appears. In many ways, it is on the same level as the original version of The Haunting, which is a compliment if ever there was one.
The other aspect that works in The Stone Tape's favour is the acting, which is a cut above what you would expect, and also helps distract you from what you DO expect from an early 70's BBC show (plastic sets and the occasional ropey SFX). Jane Asher has to do a lot of acting for her character to work, and carries it off superbly. Michael Bryant and Ian Cuthbertson also carry themselves with aplomb, and even thge lesser characters are given a degree of gravitas with the performances (the late Michael Bates as Eddie the most notable).
Yet the reason The Stone Tape has remained in the consciousness of those who have seen it is the climax, which still packs a punch 30+ years after the show was broadcast. I'm not in the mood for spoilers, but suffice to say you'll remember it long after as well.
However, there is a shame after watching this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You do not have to read much in the field of ghosts and parapsychology no matter where you stand before coming across "The Stone Tape" hypothesis and welcomed the chance to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chas Spring
Fantastic old TV movie with the beautiful Jane Asher. DVD was in 'Brand New' shape and arrived rather quickly.Published 2 months ago by Ash Krueger
Excellent story - with a nicely lopped conclusion, its dated but but in a good way, the science is near believable because of the link between c crystals and resonates . Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr MA Lawrence
When I first saw this on TV which was in black and white it was quite frightening but now modern effects have improved it seems much less scary. Read morePublished 5 months ago by bartronics
In almost every respect this should be right up my street, but I found it disappointing. I'm a big Hammer film fan, including the TV series and was looking forward to this, which I... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Scotchmartin