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Crooked House [DVD]
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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.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 November 2015
I bought this to make up the shortfall in amazon's free-postage-if-you-spend-twenty-pounds offer and it was several weeks before I found time to watch it. By then I was remembering that it was a contemporary ghost story so I was disappointed when the action switched to hundreds of years ago. It then switched to the 1920's, another era I have little interest in. (I'm not a fan of historical drama and must be the only woman on the planet who has never watched Downton Abbey!) I'd have given up by this stage but I was tired so stayed with it and I'm glad that I did as the third segment was truly terrifying. There's a moment when the young schoolteacher locks himself out for a moment, lets himself back in and... suffice to say that I nearly jumped out of my seat. The third part of the story pulls all of the previous segments together and is quite clever. In short, I'd recommend watching this when you are tired and don't mind a slow start as the ending will definitely wake you up.
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on 10 July 2016
Not especially deep and telling, and not always as scary as it might be, but this is an old fashioned and highly satisfying chiller and perfect for Christmas viewing. There is nothing unpredictable here - and that is not a criticism, just an observation - and the most chilling tale is the modern day one, with Lee Ingleby excellent as the eager innocent-abroad victim, and Mark Gatiss himself as the person who is the storyteller And Someone Else.
One excellent thing about this DVD is that the extras are as much worth buying and watching as the series/film itself; full of wit and warmth and the reality of bringing a story to screen. Fun to watch, with some honestly creepy moments, well cast and a delight all round. A good buy.
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on 6 November 2015
Superb TV special by the oh so talented Mark Gatiss (ex-League of Gentlemen). The portmanteau theme so marvellously exhibited in the classic film Dead of Night is captured here with three threads to the same story each having distinct identities. Very frightening in places. Dialogue superb, as one would expect from Mr Gatiss. The extras - making of etc. - are excellent and very interesting. Still awaiting the release of MG's amazing adaptation of M R James' The Tractate Middoth, shown on the BBC a couple of years ago. Why has it not been released? So many will want to add it to their collection.
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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.

So, 9/10!
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on 17 April 2018
I love this spooky film and Philip Jackson is perfect yet again. Keep these types for winter viewing on cold dark nights with the heat up, candles glowing their earie shadows up the walls and a good mug of coco in hand (with a splash of something added ) Never fails for a cozey spooky night in.
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on 9 August 2015
A strange, bizarre and diabolique 3 tales-story about mystery, ghosts and demons, with a gothic and macabre setting and flavor (that of heavy wooden furniture and thick tapestry and drapes on the walls), an overall uncanny atmosphere (almost at the level of some old BBC classics like Schalken the Painter) and a phenomenal twist at the end. Very well scripted, directed and performed
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 December 2010
I dispute other reviews saying that (Crooked House [DVD] [2008]) 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.
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on 3 July 2016
I'd seen two parts of this on the BBC and knew it was creepy. The third part really pulls the first two together. Full of spooky cliches - big old house, sceptical friends (despite over riding evidence), trips to the ever accommodating library and bumps in the night. But it's not a good ghost story without these elements.
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on 15 May 2013
I bought this DVD prompted by the fact that it received other good reviews and the fact that I enjoy BBC productions, especially ghost or detective stories! I wasn't disappointed! The cast is good and I enjoyed all the stories, but the best one was, in my view, the story of 'Crooked House' or 'Geap Manor' itself with its evil original occupant. The house also functions as the connecting link between all the other srories, as it is featured in every single one of them. Not the house I'd like to be living in!
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