Runtime: 105 mins
Published/distributed by BFI
(Including VAT at 20%)
Ghost Stories Vol 4: The Signalman / Stigma / The Ice House RRP 19.99
Clark, Lawrence Gordon
As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of MR James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010.
These adaptations, which have a subtlety and style all of their own, have been a major influence on many contemporary British horror filmmakers and have come to be some of the most sought after British TV titles by their legions of eager fans.
This BFI's collection of Ghost Stories from the BBC includes 1976's The Signalman, 1977's Stigma and 1978's The Ice House. Although most films in the series were based on the works of MR James, The Signalman, was scripted by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice) from a Charles Dickens story, while the last two films in this volume were based on original scripts.
The Signalman (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1976, 39 mins)
When a traveller (Bernard Lloyd) stumbles upon a signalbox situated on a lonely stretch of country rail track, he is unable to believe the incredible story of its troubled occupant. Andrew Davies' (Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards) atmospheric adaptation of a short story by Charles Dickens features a remarkable performance by Denholm Elliott (A Room with a View, Bad Timing, Raiders of the Lost Ark) as the eponymous railway employee haunted by dreadful premonitions.
Stigma (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1977, 32 mins)
The pagan stone circles of Avebury are the backdrop for writer Clive Exton's modern-day horror. The attempted removal of an ancient menhir from a family's back garden unleashes a bloody curse on unsuspecting housewife Katharine, whose rising panic is captured brilliantly by Kate Binchy. The final offering in the BBC series to be directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, Stigma is available here for the first time on DVD.
The Ice House (Derek Lister, 1978, 34 mins)
After his wife leaves him, Paul (John Stride) seeks solace at a sophisticated health spa run by a pair of sinister siblings (played by Geoffrey Burridge and Elizabeth Romilly). Strangely attracted by the scent of a vine that grows on the old ice house in the spa's grounds, Paul is drawn ever deeper into a horrifying mystery. Written by John Bowen (The Treasure of Abbott Thomas), The Ice House is available on DVD for the first time.
Extras* Introduction to The Signalman by director Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 11 mins)
* Introduction to Stigma by director Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 9 mins)
* Fully illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned essays by broadcaster Matthew Sweet and Dr Helen Wheatley.