I cannot remember when I first read Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967); like its inspiration, The Mabinogion, or the Stone of Gronw that sits at the centre of its mystery, it seems to have always been here. It’s an unusual feeling because the novel is not particularly old by standards of literature – it turns fifty on the 21st of August – and yet it … Continue reading Owls and Flowers: Alan Garner’s The Owl Service At 50
Alongside Trevor Ray, Jeremy Burnham co-created the fantastical Folk Horror drama, Children Of The Stones (1977). Now considered a key text in 1970s Folk Horror and possibly one of the scariest programs ever conceived for children, I caught up with Jeremy to ask him about the ideas behind the show, the process of filming it and its subsequent novelisation. Where did the initial ideas for … Continue reading Interview With Jeremy Burnham (Children Of The Stones, 1977).
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. Part 7. The Signalman And Aural Paranoia Over Dickensian Technology. “For those who look back on it, the Victorian age seems to be invested with a peculiar quality of difference – heightened by its relative proximity in time – that is reflected in its ghosts. It was an age shaped, perhaps more than any … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics Of Ghosts In BBC Ghost Stories – Part 8 (The Signalman).
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).
The following article contains plot twists. Hysteria and Nigel Kneale’s Baby. A very particular and often quoted segment from Freud’s summations of hysterical patients will be used here to begin the contextualisation our analysis. Whilst writing about the generalities surrounding such cases of hysteria and eventually compulsion neurosis, Freud came up with a short but rather useful sound-bite to describe every patient he had seen. … Continue reading Technological Hysteria in Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape (1972).
When watching Nigel Kneale’s infinitely weird TV series, Beasts (1976), there’s a great sense of underlying currents behind what appear to be strange amalgamations of the everyday with something of the Other. Though the links between the episodes are often animalistic, ranging the ghost of a dolphin in Buddyboy to the hoards of rats in During Barty’s Party, the majority of the episodes all, at … Continue reading Hysteria and Curses in Nigel Kneale’s Baby (Beasts, 1976).
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. Part 4. Natural Diegesis And Aural Interaction With Landscape. One of M.R. James’ most recognisable writing traits is his emphasis on rural settings. From his own personal experience, of both exploring the churches of France on holiday bike-rides and living and holidaying in Suffolk and Norfolk, the rural landscape became almost as much of a story trope as the … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 5 (Landscape).
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).