When I first heard about Ghost Stories from Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, it was a stage play that i was desperate to go and see, but it didn’t really get to Scotland so I wasn’t able to go. I’ve never been to a play outside of Scotland, don’t judge me. Anyway, the release of the film version filled me with joy, as going to the pictures to see a play is pretty much the same thing isn’t it? It must be, as every time we go to the cinema, there are posters for plays that are being beamed live to the cinema from a real life theater for people like me that never go to a real life production. Tonight we saw a poster for Macbeth, yes the Scottish play, and it has Christopher Eccleston in it. I don’t think we are going to that either to be fair. Eccleston is charging £95 for an autograph these days, who knows how much a ticket for the show will be.
Any road up, that’s by the by, as Ghost Stories must have been a blast on stage, as the film is fun, scary and interesting. Professor Philip Goodman, Andy Nyman, spends his adult life on TV debunking fake psychics, but he is drawn into a trilogy of unexplained hauntings that threaten to drive him to insanity. The cases are literally handed to him in the opening scenes, and this forms the wraparound story for what is essentially 3 short ghost stories, similar to classic 70’s horror flicks such as Asylum, The House That Dripped Blood and Tales from The Crypt.
There was a time when anthology horror movies were in vogue, and there are a handful of them out there that are really worth a view. Hammer Horror rival Amicus were pretty much the driving force behind those shockers, adapting tales from EC horror comics Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror, but a little research, if you’re interested, will unearth some cracking anthology movies, all worth a look. Asylum has 5 short stories, all penned by Robert Bloch, the man who wrote Psycho, and it is so worth a watch.
Ghost Stories has a small, but brilliant cast, and performances from Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse and Alex Lawther help elevate the tales into disturbing and bizarre territory.
There are lots of well trodden paths here, but that is exactly what the writers want, and the atmosphere builds well as the tales get steadily more terrifying. You get jump scares, ghosts, demons, in fact there’s a bit of everything in here and the good news is, it’s all well written and intelligent. There are some great scary moments and an ending that will keep you guessing right to the last scene.
Ghost Stories may be a little more low key than the usual horror fare that you put your hard earned cash on the table to go and see. It’s a more atmospheric film that builds a feeling of dread and terror, rather than the usual stalk, slash and stab affairs that we tend to see. So if you are a fan of the genre, this is a must see scary movie, and if, like me, you remember those old 70’s anthology productions then you will love Ghost Stories.
Don’t believe everything you see.