On a rather muddled day in early autumn, I decided to visit M.R. James. In recent years, I’ve become interested in the places that James frequented, usually because they have had clear and profound effects upon his ghost stories. Visiting them with a sense of curiosity seems to invert the man’s clichés back upon him; walking in search of the known as opposed to the … Continue reading Wanders: M.R. James’ Grave
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. 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).
Manifesting The Supernatural: The Aural Aesthetics Of Ghosts In BBC Ghost Stories. Introduction. “When Monty first began to write them, with the intention of inducing a pleasing terror in his listeners, he did so as an avid and discerning reader and connoisseur of the genre, keenly aware of his precedents and of the characteristics, objectives, and limitations of the ghost story as he understood the … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 1 (Introduction).
Here’s a trailer for my next short film called The Coastal Path. It’s a ghost story and filmed on both digital and super 8 film. I’ll be going into detail about the film when it is eventually available to watch online (i.e. when it’s finished) but for now, I wanted a trailer just to sum up the work so far. It has taken a lot … Continue reading Trailer – The Coastal Path.
For some time now I have been involved in a collaborative arts project with local illustrator and artist Katie Craven. Before the first stage of the project could be unleashed onto the unsuspecting public, the project collapsed in on itself thanks to a Belgian art gallery among other things. To show just how close it got to being finished, there’s even a stop press advert … Continue reading Forest (Short Film) and A Screaming Breeze (Book).
This article contains minor spoilers. It has taken a while for the traditional BBC ghost story to make a fully formed return in the 21st century. This is surprising considering the popularity of the return of other genre television traditions from Doctor Who to Battlestar Galactica, but the singular ghost story at Christmas has taken some time to get right. Before this recent M.R. James … Continue reading The Tractate Middoth – Mark Gatiss (BBC Ghost Story at Christmas).
Two writers who could be said to epitomise the ideas of Folk Horror, M.R. James and Nigel Kneale, while addressing these ideals through different media, are writers whose work often crept into the same realm. This has lead to both of their work having a natural relationship with each other, with one almost being a reincarnation of the other. Of course, to imply such things … Continue reading An Ancient Evil: M.R. James and Nigel Kneale.
M.R James’ ghost stories seem almost tailor-made for television and radio. They’ve taken on so many forms and guises over the years that, like their original forms read by the fireside at Christmas in Cambridge University, they have become a regular, traditional event. Though their presence has been somewhat thin on the ground of late (though soon to change with the fourth modern adaptation coming … Continue reading Classic Ghost Stories by M.R James with Robert Powell (BFI).
This review contains minor spoilers. The final instalment of the BBC Ghost Stories sees a return to form from the haphazard final days of the original 1970s specials. Though, as previously discussed in the review of Volume 1’s 2012 adaptation of Whistle And I’ll Come To You, recent attempts to carry on the tradition is automatically up against a monumental past whose shadow is hard … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories – Volume 5 (A View From A Hill, Number 13) BFI.