Posts Tagged ‘Haunted’

A professor in the business of disproving the existence of ghosts receives an invitation to investigate the alleged haunting at Edbrook House and embarks on chilling journey of discovery.

Based on James Herbert’s 1988 novel Haunted and the character of David Ash who appears in several of Herberts books this is a old fashion ghost story directed by veteran director Lewis Gilbert. Without drawing comparisons/differences to the book Timothy Prager, Bob Kellett and Lewis Gilbert’s adaptation is creepy enough and at the time of its release the twist was still pretty fresh. Nevertheless, it shares many elements with The Woman in Black novel/film and The Others (2001) based on The Turn of the Screw (1898) to name a few.

The few effects are sufficient but it works better when practical and old fashion camera tricks are used. Due to the period setting it is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie Poirot/ Miss Marple outing but this adds to the charm of Gilberts vision. The film is wonderfully shot, exteriors, internal sets of Edbrook House, cottages, train stations and outhouse are nicely recreated/utilised. There is a crisp bygone British ambiance which add to the 1928 backdrop and makes the ghostly goings-on more palatable.

Given the small main cast ensemble it’s an achievement it retains the viewers attention throughout. The film presents David Ash with a clean-cut image that Aidan Quinn executes with ease. The interaction with his sister is heart-warming and his decent into the supernatural or madness is subtlety convincing. Christina Mariell played by Kate Beckinsale handles the range of immaturity, sensuality and manipulation fittingly. Beckinsale is on put on show here, naked portraits, love making and skinny dipping – surprisingly it avoids gratuitousness thanks to the filming, performance and the tales framework. Both brothers are adequately portrayed with Anthony Andrews having an edge over his co-star Alex Lowe who delivers the jump scares . Notable are actors John Gielgud’s Dr. Doyle and Anna Massey who in retrospect both emote some perfect reactions given the context of the ominous story.

Haunted delivers some chilling moments but not enough investigation and too many false scares. That said, it’s an entertaining traditional ghost yarn with a touch of class.

20120115-004600.jpgTwo employees try to unravel the The Yankee Pedlar Inn’s haunted past but they begin to witness disturbing events.

Opening with an assortment of spooky photo’s accompanied by a creepy score from Jeff Grace, director Ti West sets the atmosphere for The Innkeepers from the get go. Anyone familiar with West’s smouldering and finely filmed House of the Devil will know he likes to take time to build up the characters with a final pay off. Innkeepers is no exception. That said, it is pacer than the aforementioned with a few cheap scares up front courteous of a PC YouTube like video.

The acting is first rate, very naturalist with lead Sara Paxton on form as intelligent dropout Claire. Paxton is very watchable delivering a good performance thanks to an equally good script. There’s logic in the screenplay as far as if you were in a hotel and interested in the paranormal you’d do the same – set up an investigation.

There is a small cast of quirky characters including 80’s star Kelly Mcgillis who seems to be having a revival now in horror after featuring in Stake Land. There’s a psychic, an odd old man, obligatory ghost bride and cellar. There’s ominous corridors, creaky doors, piano cues and great sound design which add to its creep factor. There’s plenty of jump scares and red-herrings.

E.V.Ps, web cams in amongst the realistic sets gives credibly and suck you into Claire’s and Luke’s (Pat Healy) investigation plight. It’s an old-school horror with the music and sound playing a big part, much of the suspense comes from what you don’t see. But West’s visuals of what you do see are extremely haunting. It’s a homage of sorts that refreshingly leaves you with some unanswered questions and loose ends.

Debatably you can argue it builds to little more than a series of scares, yet, it’s more consistent and less glossy than recent horror Insidious, furthermore grounded than 1408 and far-more finely executed with its wonderful sets, camera work and narrative than the Paranormal Activities.

Yes – it’s a essentially a haunted house flick, but what a chilling, hair raising and perfectly constructed haunted inn film it is.

WHC 2010 was my first horror convention. And like any other of the con’s it had it’s lovies and it’s darlings. I was there  to pitch my next project, meet the horror fans, the ‘Countess’, Ramsey Campbell and James Herbert.
I don’t do networking, I like mixing with real folk.
I won’t name them but there were a few that behind their glossy pictures are just false and rude, like Hollywood there is a dark under-side and where more fitting to see this superficial horror gloss than at a horror convention.

Here are my highlights and thoughts on thd World Horror Convention 2010.

Thankfully I had a drink with my hero James Herbert, author of Rats, Haunted and one of my personal fav’ novels Creed, to name a few.
James sent me a letter nearly 20 years ago, wishing me luck with my horror writing. It took a long while, but finally catching up with him was great, he’s witty, down to earth and everything I hoped he would be.

Tanith Lee is a well respected fiction author, we sat down to dinner in her company. She’s an elegant down to earth lady, importantly accessable to her fans. For me though, being a Bond fan it was great just to spend sometime with the great late Bernard Lee’s (‘M’) daughter.

I sat down with Ingrid Pitt, she asked me how the fish was, while she signed a my copy of Hammer’s Countess Dracula and Vampire Lovers?!
She’s now a feisty lady hidden behind dark glasses. She’s so frank, I was rolling with laughter as she spoke about a verbal duel with John Wayne, and her ‘love’ encounter with Clint Eastwood off set.

Another highlight was seeing some great art work two of my fav’s were ‘Nameless’ Steve Crisp. The face looks like my wifes!

And ‘Out of Time by Les Edwards which captures the feeling if the 1477 A.D segement, minus the wings, of my book Blood Hunger. Les Ewards signed a limited 2/25 print for me.

As well as speaking to Ramsey Campbell author of The Nameless and Solomon Kane. I had the pleasure of his down to earth company, a really nice guy.

I also had a intoxicated chat, as a free bar was forced upon me, with Chris Fowler, breifly chatted and shook hands with Neil Gaimen, Coraline Creator which was fun…

I’ll leave you with a picture of my wife, friend of the stars about to eat some cockles on Brighton Pier.