M. R. James

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,526
I could cope with Itsy and Bitsy on Paperplay, I'll steel myself for tonight.
 

Bad Bungle

Tutti but not Frutti.
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
3,727
Location
The Chilterns
And they're showing two 1970s Ghost Stories for Christmas after it, Lost Hearts and The Ash Tree, both James I think.

I've had to turn off Lost Hearts as soon as the Hurdy Gurdy music started - I last saw this in the 70's in a library of a grand country mansion (Church Retreat, the only room with a telly) at 11:05pm on Hallow'een and the effect clearly hasn't diminished.
Interestingly the next prog on was an episode of UFO deemed too scary for its usual 5:30 pm slot - I've seen that again without shaking.
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,526
I watched The Ash Tree, a nice slice of 1970s hauntology, scripted by David Rudkin (Penda's Fen), I was interested to see, it certainly had his style of structure to it. Kind of Witchfinder General, only with a supernatural revenge. The ending was truly freaky! Lalla Ward's in it. Something about that 16mm rural imagery is so evocative...
 

Bigphoot2

Not sprouts! I hate sprouts.
Joined
Jul 30, 2005
Messages
10,801
Mark Gattiss working on new MR James story for the BBC
Mark Gatiss to reunite with Peter Capaldi for Christmas ghost story
by Press Association
August 21, 2019, 2:47 pm

Mark Gatiss will reunite with former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi when he pens and directs a new Christmas ghost story for BBC Four, it has been announced.
Martin’s Close is an adaptation of the M.R. James story of the same name, which follows the murder trial of John Martin.
Set in 1684, Martin is on trial for his life before the infamous “hanging judge” George Jeffreys but the case is thrown into question because the innocent young girl Martin is accused of killing has been seen after her death.
etc

https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/...with-peter-capaldi-for-christmas-ghost-story/
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
14,504
Location
An Eochair
Now this makes me happy!
 

sherbetbizarre

Special Branch
Joined
Sep 4, 2004
Messages
5,036
Martin's Close premieres tonight on BBC2
Mark Gatiss hopes to bring more festive ghost stories to BBC Four
The Sherlock and Dracula co-creator said he'd love to alternate between originals and adaptations each Christmas

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other media, Gatiss said, “It’s such a privilege to do this, I’d love to carry on and I’m sure we’d all like to do one next year.
https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-12-23/mark-gatiss-more-christmas-ghost-stories/
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,526
Mark Gatiss is the new Lawrence Gordon Clark. I have no problem with that.
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,526
More of a vignette, tonight, but I suppose they only had half an hour. Loved the dialogue, made up for the rather impoverished look of the thing, and very well acted across the board. But spooky? Hmm, not really.
 

sherbetbizarre

Special Branch
Joined
Sep 4, 2004
Messages
5,036
This 1959 half hour BBC adaptation of the The Tractate Middoth has been rebroadcast. Featuring future cult horror actress Sheila Keith.
A Mass of Cobwebs - Based on 'The Tractate Middoth' – a short story by M.R. James.
William Garrett …. Peter Howell
John Eldred …. Edgar Norfolk
Hodgson …. Charles Simon
George Earle …. Derek Martinus
Mrs Simpson …. Sheila Keith
First broadcast on the BBC Light Programme in April 1959.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jxyb
 

ralfy

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
164
Mentioned previously:

"The Ash Tree"

The Ash Tree' was the fifth and final (for three decades) M.R. James adaptation made for the BBC's annual 'A Ghost Story for Christmas' strand. Like its predecessors (and two of its immediate successors) it was directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark who here is joined by the writer David Rudkin fresh from scripting 'Penda's Fen' the previous year.

 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
14,504
Location
An Eochair
Bad @Mytho! Bad bad Mytho! :rollingw:
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,117
Location
Midwich
Yesterday I finally took possession of a Folio Society 1970's edition of Ghost Stories of M R James.

I've been looking for a decent, reasonably priced copy, on and off, for years - mainly because of the inclusion of Charles Keeping's lithographs.

On removing the book from its slipcase and opening the front cover - and I seriously kid you not - a piece of paper fluttered out from between the pages and blew across the kitchen!! (Only an MR James fan will know what that means to an MR James fan.)

Thankfully said piece of paper turned out to be a review of Michael Cox's book MR James - An Informal Portrait, cut from a newspaper. And fortunately the fire in my kitchen was not lit; had this fragment ended up taking a dive into that - as its fictional counterpart did - I WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN WHAT WAS ON IT!!!

(It has been inspected minutely for runic writing. And I'm wondering about slipping it to my neighbours - just to be on the safe side.)
 

Hogarth999

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Messages
289
If one night you put your hand under your pillow and feel a hairy non-human mouth with teeth ....... let us know please. ;)

"So he put his hand into the well-known nook under the pillow: only, it did not get so far. What he touched was, according to his account, a mouth, with teeth, and with hair about it, and, he declares, not the mouth of a human being."

https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/james-runes/james-runes-00-h.html
 

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Joined
Aug 9, 2001
Messages
10,635
Yesterday I finally took possession of a Folio Society 1970's edition of Ghost Stories of M R James.

I've been looking for a decent, reasonably priced copy, on and off, for years - mainly because of the inclusion of Charles Keeping's lithographs.

On removing the book from its slipcase and opening the front cover - and I seriously kid you not - a piece of paper fluttered out from between the pages and blew across the kitchen!! (Only an MR James fan will know what that means to an MR James fan.)

Thankfully said piece of paper turned out to be a review of Michael Cox's book MR James - An Informal Portrait, cut from a newspaper. And fortunately the fire in my kitchen was not lit; had this fragment ended up taking a dive into that - as its fictional counterpart did - I WOULD NEVER HAVE KNOWN WHAT WAS ON IT!!!

(It has been inspected minutely for runic writing. And I'm wondering about slipping it to my neighbours - just to be on the safe side.)

Have you examined it for sympathetic ink? Check to see if your calendar is all there...

maximus otter
 

Spookdaddy

Cuckoo
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
7,117
Location
Midwich
If one night you put your hand under your pillow and feel a hairy non-human mouth with teeth ....... let us know please. ;)

"So he put his hand into the well-known nook under the pillow: only, it did not get so far. What he touched was, according to his account, a mouth, with teeth, and with hair about it, and, he declares, not the mouth of a human being."...

Hold on just one minute! How on earth do you know about my one night stands?

Anyway. Someone must have spiked my port and lemon.
 

ralfy

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
164
You're lucky! I only have the Complete Ghost Stories, a nice hardcover edition which costs only around $10 but it's small: around 4 by 6 inches.
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
38,631
Location
HM The Tower of London
If one night you put your hand under your pillow and feel a hairy non-human mouth with teeth ....... let us know please. ;)

"So he put his hand into the well-known nook under the pillow: only, it did not get so far. What he touched was, according to his account, a mouth, with teeth, and with hair about it, and, he declares, not the mouth of a human being."

https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/james-runes/james-runes-00-h.html

I sometimes listen to the MR James stories in bed, read by Peter Yearsley. He does all the voices without the bumbling posh Michael Hordern-type effects.

The bit in Runes where Karswell shows a slide of disgusting slimy creatures slithering around is particularly effective when you're drifting off to sleep and your cat nuzzles your face...
:freak:
 

Ogdred Weary

Cromlech
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
6,445
I sometimes listen to the MR James stories in bed, read by Peter Yearsley. He does all the voices without the bumbling posh Michael Hordern-type effects.

The bit in Runes where Karswell shows a slide of disgusting slimy creatures slithering around is particularly effective when you're drifting off to sleep and your cat nuzzles your face...
:freak:

I would not be able to sleep if I listened to MR James in bed.
 

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Joined
Aug 9, 2001
Messages
10,635
I would not be able to sleep if I listened to MR James in bed.

We once rented an isolated cottage in far NW Scotland, taking along a hard-boiled Manc WPC of our acquaintance. We got the double room, she got the twin room. (Monty fans can already tell where this is going...)

We lent her a copy of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, and she chose to read Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad.

Didn’t sleep a wink; bestowed a few dirty looks on us the following morning.

maximus otter
 

Cochise

Priest of the cult of the Dog with the Broken Paw
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
7,793
I really didn't find MR James at all scary.

Tom Rolt's stories in 'Sleep No more' some of which are best described as 'in the style of' MR James got to me more. I don't think I'll be exploring any disused iron foundries. I actually know the (thinly disguised) tunnel in the canal boat story. Even moored up by it once - that was before I read the book!

Annoyingly i can't find my copy of the book at the moment and can't remember the names of the stories except 'Cwm Garon' - another good one.
 
Last edited:
Top