Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival - October 29th-31st, 2010

The Halifax Ghost Story Festival takes place over three days at the end of October. Some of the participants include Mark Valentine (Tartarus Press), Mark Morris, Stephen Volk, Conrad Williams, Nicholas Royle, and Chris Priestley, etc.

One of the highlights for me is Sunday when the following M. R. James adaptations will be screened:

Afternoon sessions

In The Crossley Gallery

The Ghost Stories of MR James: from Print to Film

2pm-6.15pm (screenings and interview)
Victorian writer and scholar MR James devoted his life to writing ghost stories, creating atmospheric and macarbre tales which set the benchmark for the genre (and which sometimes displayed James’s very dark sense of humour). The Stalls of Barchester was the first of James’s short stories to be adapted as part of the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas strand between 1971 and 1978. This Sunday’s four hour homage looks at the work of key director Lawrence Gordon Clark, who filmed that very first adaptation and whose work is revered to this day.
Tickets: £7 all-day film pass

In The Crossley Gallery

Triple Bill: Classic Films from the MR James Ghost Story for Christmas Series

Three of Lawrence Gordon Clark’s landmark MR James films: a powerful, evocative blend of pre-digital film skills, superb acting and masterly direction.
All-day film pass: only £7
Triple Bill:

The Ash Tree

Dir. Lawrence Gordon Clark GB 1975. 32 mins (adv PG)
Edward Petherbridge, Preston Lockwood, Barbara Ewing, Lalla Ward, Lucy Griffiths, David Pugh
Edward Petherbridge delivers a brilliantly restrained turn as Sir Richard Fell, the new squire of Castringham Hall. In this rarely-screened MR James adaptation, the sins of the father (or in this case, the great-uncle) are visited on a new generation. Soon after his arrival at Castringham Hall, Sir Richard is plagued by visions of the past, and strange noises emanate from the old ash tree outside his bedroom window. It is said that MR James’ own terror of spiders could have been the inspiration for this sinister tale.

Lost Hearts

Dir. Lawrence Gordon Clark GB 1973. 35 mins (adv PG)
Simon Gipps-Kent, Joseph O’Connor, James Mellor, Christopher Davis, Michelle Foster
An orphan is sent to live with his elderly, well-to-do cousin, only to discover that this ancient relative is a predatory madman with a secret life that involves the search for immortality. Clark’s faithful re-telling of James’s short story is a gruesome little gem, and powerfully delivered.

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

Dir. Lawrence Gordon Clark GB 1974. 37 mins (adv PG)
Michael Bryant, John Herrington, Paul Lavers, Frank Mills, Peggy Aitchison, Sheila Dunn, Anne Blake, Viriginia Balfour
A professor follows clues left in a university library during his search for the lost treasure of alchemist Abbot Thomas. However, the professor’s greed, combined with his skepticism about the supernatural, prove to be his downfall when he fails to heed any warnings about the treasure’s mysterious guardian. This cautionary tale boasts glossy production values and some brilliantly executed shocks. Moreover the closing moments provide some of the most effective chills of the whole Ghost Story for Christmas series
All-day film pass: only £7

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