4 items from 2016
Gem Wheeler Dec 21, 2016
We celebrate the work of M.R. James, whose eerie ghost stories were made into a festive tradition by the BBC...
A shadow lurking just beyond the edge of the vision. Dusty manuscripts bearing fragments of ancient testimony, conflicting and confounding. The sickening touch of a decayed hand, grasping at us from the darkness. The imagery of the ghost story may differ between cultures, but the sense of creeping dread left by the most effective tales remains universal.
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One name stands out in the grim roster of English purveyors of the form: Montague Rhodes James, an eminent medievalist with a sideline in »
Luke Owen looks back at Red smegging Dwarf…
With Red Dwarf back on TV screens once again [read our review of the first episode here], I’ve been revisiting one of my all-time favourite British sitcoms featuring the adventures of the last human alive David Lister, his evolved feline partner The Cat, mechanoid Kryten, holographic smeghead Rimmer (and, later, love interest Kochanski) and super smart A.I. Holly (with an Iq of 6,000, the equivalent of 6,000 P.E. teachers).
Red Dwarf ran from 1988 through to 1999 when it was cancelled after eight series. A proposed movie was in development from 2000 through to around 2004, but it wouldn’t be until Dave brought the show back for a three-part special in 2009 that we’d see the crew once again. Though Back to Earth wasn’t the show fans had hoped it would be, Red Dwarf X, which aired three years later, was much better received. Now the smegheads are back once again for Red Dwarf XI, »
- Luke Owen
Reboots of Keeping Up Appearances and others are essentially tribute-band TV, full of familiar riffs and double entendres
Norman Stanley Fletcher, who was banged up in the 1970s BBC prison sitcom Porridge, would only still be behind bars now if he had been a serial killer rather than a petty criminal who crashed a stolen booze delivery truck while driving it away.
Porridge, though, is back on the BBC’s TV schedules this week, alongside additional sentences for the characters of other classic British sitcoms. Mrs Slocombe, the shop assistant with candyfloss hair and a tendency to have anecdotes about her cat misunderstood, returns with her colleagues at Grace Bros department store in Are You Being Served? Viewers will also receive an update on Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet), social-climbing heroine of Keeping Up Appearances – even though she might consider it a bit common to be part of a theme season. »
- Mark Lawson
Pack your bags, folks, Amityville village is calling once more. In what will be the 13th installment in the genre-defining franchise, Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions are primed to situate the infamous supernatural tale in the modern age with Amityville: The Awakening.
Written and directed by Franck Khalfoun (Maniac, P2), the feature hues close to tradition by setting up the story of an average family moving into a new home – but this isn’t just any home. Having played host to a series of violent murders in the mid-70s, Bella Thorne’s teenage girl soon begins to realize that there’s something amiss under her family’s new roof, and it all appears to center around her bed-ridden brother (Cameron Monaghan).
Cue supernatural activity and nightmarish apparitions, with the official logline describing The Awakening as so: “Belle and her family move into a new house, but when strange phenomena »
- Michael Briers
4 items from 2016
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