Bored while officiating a cricket match at a psychiatric hospital, Crossley tells Graves (a visitor) the tale of a mysterious stranger (also named Crossley) who invades the lives and house of a local musician and his wife. The stranger claims knowledge of real magic, which he uses to displace his host and dominate his wife. The musician must find a way to combat Crossley and his seemingly implacable powers. Graves doubts Crossley's claim that the story is true, and begins to believe that Crossley is actually one of the patients.
Etherial, dreamy and well made tale of the bizarre.
Halliwell described this as a "well made and acted but ultimately rather pointless fable" which is typical of his style of reviewing, but despite his glib conclusions one must agree that this is an excellent piece of avant-garde film-making that, in spite of its impressive cast, often strikes one as more like a short by a new director. In fact, the film may have been more effective as a short were it not that the sleepy pace lends it a dream-like and ethereal feel that is totally shattered when the shout is heard. The Shout itself is so built up that one can only expect disappointment. Yet when it finally is heard it is truly horrific and you will jump out of your seat. The scene on the sand dunes as Alan Bates yells out death to all around him and sheep are swept down dead by the cry is masterful. Similarly effective is the soundtrack by Genesis' Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, mainly based around reworkings of themes from Banks' album "A Curious Feeling" a gorgeously nostalgic sequence of music that is inventively brought into the film as a low-key presence, faintly playing in the background as if echoing on the breeze, and used by John Hurt on the church organ. The man from nowhere character Alan Bates presents is fascinating and a nice change of style for him, and it seems strange how rarely this film is aired on television and how hard it is to locate on video, despite its excellent cast and original realisation. A little known but fascinating tale of the uncanny presented like an adult fairy tale.
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