One of my favourite moments from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is not a typical choice considering the film’s many infamous scenes. Rather than showers, murders and other more memorable images, I particularly love a relatively bland scene later on in the film. It has narrative development in its eerie punch line but has little else on screen in terms of Hitchcock generally: it is perfunctory … Continue reading Horror’s Pleasure of Distance
I have been lucky enough to have this year’s Halloween film, No Diggin’ Here – a film about M.R. James, Aldeburgh and A Warning To The Curious – premiered on the BFI’s website. It was a Halloween treat that, until I saw it happen in full, I didn’t quite believe, but I count myself incredibly lucky for such an opportunity. A few weeks back, the … Continue reading Short Film – No Diggin’ Here.
This presentation was originally given at the Folk Horror Revival day at The British Museum (16/02/2016). My thanks to the fellow admins of the Folk Horror Revival, especially Jim Peters and Andy Paciorek. There’s an overt connection between analogue technology and the narratives surrounding paranormal activity in British horror, especially when made during the 1970s. No doubt there are connections between the interest in such … Continue reading The Ghost In The Grain: Analogue Hauntings of the 1970s
Salthouse Marshes began life in a strange way. Having chatted about adapting Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows with Robert Macfarlane (who had wanted to re-set it in England), there was always to be a “haunted waterway” film on the cards. But, after constant reading of the narrative of The Willows, the thought of organising the filming on two boats and on celluloid simply proved too intimidating. … Continue reading Short Film – Salthouse Marshes
A few years back, whilst on holiday in Norfolk, I began exploring some of locations used for the BBC’s famous M.R. James adaptations, specifically for Lawrence Gordon Clark’s adaptation of A Warning To The Curious (1972). Though I had been far from thorough in this escapade (I completely missed the film’s most iconic structure in the church at Happisburgh), on finding myself in Suffolk, I … Continue reading Walking “A Warning To The Curious” (M.R. James).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Conclusions. “If its central characteristics remained immune to change, the ghost story did keep pace with the times through progressive modernization of settings and language.” – Cox (xix, 1991). From analysis of the BBC Ghost Stories, it is clear that the narrative function of the supernatural has a natural … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics Of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 9 (Conclusions).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. “The Ghost In The Machine”: The Haunting Nature Of Unnatural Diegetic Sound. “M.R. James’ objects are imbued with our deepest fears, deepest terrors and resonances. The whistle can bring up a storm or bring a monster from the deep. The crown, that if you touch, its guardian will tear you to pieces.” – … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics Of Ghosts In BBC Ghost Stories – Part 7 (Haunted Objects).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Human Interaction With The Landscape And Its Soundscape. “The wind was bitter from the north, but was at his back when he set out for the Globe. He quickly rattled and clashed through the shingle and gained the sand, upon which, but for the groynes which had to be got over every few yards, the … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 6 (Excavation).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Nondiegetic Musical Themes And Textures. “Indeed, the celestial voices of film music do resemble a phantom in several significant ways. They are ephemeral, they are not ‘substantial’ or do not constitute part of what audiences cognise as important in the film, and have an effect that is not apparent.” – Donnelly (p.8, 2005). Though looking at nondiegetic scores for … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 4 (Music).
Part 1. Part 2. A “Disembodied Voice” of some form is a clear norm for representing a creature that, by its very definition, is now bodiless. This means that, as an aural technique, it is used frequently throughout many other ghost stories as well. In Lawrence Gordon Clark’s films, the aural trait occurs several times with different and varying effects, though never with the layered … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 3 (William Ager).