Lost Hearts (1973)

TV Short  |   |  Short, Horror, Mystery
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A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.


(dramatisation), (story) (as Montague Rhodes James)
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Complete credited cast:
Simon Gipps-Kent ...
Joseph O'Conor ...
Mr. Abney (as Joseph O'Connor)
James Mellor ...
Susan Richards ...
Mrs. Bunch
Christopher Davis ...
Michelle Foster ...
Roger Milner ...


A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gothic horror | based on book | See All (2) »


Short | Horror | Mystery






Release Date:

25 December 1973 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Story for Christmas: Lost Hearts  »

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User Reviews

Effective and creepy horror film that delivers off a strong atmosphere and mystery
11 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Young Stephen comes out to the countryside to stay with his cousin, the eccentric old Mr Abney. Alone with Abney and his two staff, Stephen hears of the other children who have stayed at this house before him thanks to the kindness of Abney. When he thinks he sees them he responses to their signals for silence by not mentioning it to any of the adults, however when a boy and a girl come for him and night and reveal themselves to have no hearts. However is it just the dream that the adults assure him it all is?

Shown again recently on BBC4 as part of their season of ghost story films leading up to Christmas, this was easily one of the better of them. The foundation of the film is the wonderfully non-threatening Abney, a kindly uncle for the world even if he is a bit eccentric. However, the viewer will keep asking, if he is so cheerful and kind, why is Stephen seeing these two ghostly figures in trees and windows? The questions are what held my attention but the strength of the film is in using them to create an uncertain air that is quite creepy. On top of this are thrown two white faced children who predate Ringu and the like by many decades. They move so effectively and simply that it is just roundly unnerving. Wisely director Clark doesn't shroud these two characters in horror but instead makes them innocent, smiling and cheerful – making them seem all the more creepy.

They are not great child actors but they work this well. Gipps-Kent is a solid lead and avoids being cute or overly confident but the film is dominated by the eccentric wonderfulness of O'Conor as Abney. His turn keeps things quite upbeat and makes the mystery and the ghosts seem just that bit more creepy. Overall then this is a great little ghost story. Modern viewers may feel a little bit like it has done better elsewhere (it has, in recent Japanese horrors) but it is worth remembering that this film came many decades before and is just as creepy now as it must have been then.

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