• Beasts: Baby

    Beasts: Baby

    ★★★½

    Nigel Kneale's 1976 British television series Beasts featured six self-contained episodes that explored the theme of bestial horror, one of which is the cult classic Baby. Starring Jane Wymark and Simon MacCorkindale as Jo and Peter Gilkes, a young couple who move to the countryside, the story follows Jo growing suspicious that she and her unborn child are in danger from an unknown force. The supernatural occurrences that Jo believes she experiences, such as a creepy scene in the woods,…

  • The Ice House

    The Ice House

    ★★★

    Written by John Bowen, The Ice House is an original story that marked the last of the eight short films that were originally broadcast as part of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas series of the 1970s. Starring John Stride, Geoffrey Burridge and Elizabeth Romilly, the film follows the story of Paul (Stride), a recently divorced man who seeks sanctuary at a health spa in a country retreat run by a strange brother and sister. While the narrative may…

  • Stigma

    Stigma

    ★★★

    With a screenplay by Clive Exton, Stigma stars Kate Binchy, Peter Bowles and Maxine Gordon. The cast put in a great effort in attempting to bring the script to life and do all they can with the material they were given. However, it is evident that the movie could have been much more impressive with a better script. It follows a young family who moves into a remote country house located in the middle of an ancient megalithic stone circle.…

  • The Signalman

    The Signalman

    ★★★★

    The concealed corners of a tunnel near a signal box prove an advantageous setting for this cinematic creation. It's a 1976 BBC television adaptation of the Charles Dickens short story and stars Denholm Elliott and Bernard Lloyd, and minor criticisms aside, it's a brilliant narrative re-enactment. Andrew Davies' screenplay transforms Dickens' sometimes overly verbose writing into a slim, tight and worrying story. It observes Lloyd, a travelling man, spotting Denholm Elliott, a railroad worker, operating a solitary signal box surrounded…

  • The Ash Tree

    The Ash Tree

    ★★½

    Famed for its macabre atmosphere and eerie performance by Edward Petherbridge, The Ash Tree is a supernatural drama produced by the BBC. Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark and adapted from a short story by M. R. James, this 32-minute production is undoubtedly a beautifully crafted adaptation. Sadly, though, it is also one that isn't particularly effective. In fairness, it does make some decent use of its locations and sound effects to deepen its atmosphere, and despite some sub-par creature effects,…

  • The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

    The Treasure of Abbot Thomas

    ★★★

    A classic ghost story, The Treasure of Abbot Thomas manages to enthral thanks to its suspenseful plot and thrilling atmosphere. The 1974 supernatural drama produced by the BBC as part of its A Ghost Story for Christmas series follows Reverend Justin Somerton, an expert in Medieval history, and his student Lord Peter Dattering (Paul Lavers) as they visit an Abbey library and uncover clues that lead to a hidden treasure hidden by an Abbot that was disgraced centuries ago. Dattering,…

  • Lost Hearts

    Lost Hearts

    ★★★½

    Lost Hearts is an effectively told horror short that relies on psychological rather than jump-scares to create a tense atmosphere. Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, the 1973 supernatural drama produced by the BBC is part of its A Ghost Story for Christmas series. The plot follows a young orphan, Stephen Elliott (Simon Kipps-Kent), who is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house in Lincolnshire. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in…

  • A Warning to the Curious

    A Warning to the Curious

    ★★★★

    A Warning to the Curious sees Peter Vaughan playing Mr Paxton, an amateur archaeologist who ventures to a remote seaside town in Norfolk on a quest for a fabled crown reputed to protect Great Britain from invasion. This 1972 supernatural drama, produced by the BBC and serving as the second instalment of its A Ghost Story for Christmas strand, was adapted and directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark and drew an impressive audience upon its first broadcast on Christmas Eve of…

  • The Stalls of Barchester

    The Stalls of Barchester

    ★★★½

    The Stalls of Barchester was the inaugural instalment of the BBC's A Ghost Story for Christmas series, which premiered on BBC One on 24 December 1971. The narrative of a scholar cataloguing the library of Barchester Cathedral, who discovers a diary detailing the events surrounding the mysterious death of an Archdeacon some 50 years earlier, follows him as he delves deeper into the mystery, uncovering secrets of a supernatural force. Adapted from a story featured in M. R. James' 1911…

  • Cage of Gold

    Cage of Gold

    ★★★

    Cage of Gold, a 1950 British drama directed by Basil Dearden, is a crime flick that is elevated by the performances of its cast. Despite its somewhat shoddy production values, the film is buoyed by the strong performances of its ensemble, making it a worthwhile watch. David Farrar, perhaps best known for his stiff performance in the melodrama Black Narcissus, gives a surprisingly good turn as an unscrupulous cad version of Cary Grant. He is especially noteworthy for transforming from…

  • The Battle of the Sexes

    The Battle of the Sexes

    ★★★½

    The Battle of the Sexes is a lighthearted comedy that humorously explores the complexities of gender roles. Starring Peter Sellers, Robert Morley and Constance Cummings, the 1959 British black-and-white comedy, directed by Charles Crichton, follows a timid accountant in a Scottish Tweed weaving company. The accountant, Mr Martin, portrayed by Sellers, is faced with Angela Barrows, an American efficiency expert whose ideas may disrupt his traditional way of life. Martin is a gentle and unassuming individual who is determined to…

  • Sapphire

    Sapphire

    ★★★★

    Sapphire, a crime drama released in 1959, is a classic for those who are interested in stories that explore the complex and complicated topics of racism and immigration in the mid-1950s. Directed by Basil Dearden and written by Janet Green, the movie stars Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig as two Scotland Yard detectives on the hunt for the murderer of a young woman from the West Indian immigrant community. The movie tackles the issue of racism head-on as the detectives…