Ashley Thorpe’s Borley Rectory (2017) is an eccentric, hand-crafted “animated documentary” about the notorious “most haunted house in England”, using a small cast shot against green screen who are embedded in richly layered images reconstructed from old photographs. Calling up memories of silent film and spirit photography, Borley Rectory is a uniquely immersive spectral experience.
My collecting obsession leads me to Arrow’s Ring Collection — Hideo Nakata’s hugely influential Ringu (1998), two divergent sequels, George Iida’s Spiral (1998) and Nakata’s own Ring 2 (1999), plus the prequel Ring 0: Birthday (2000). While the three follow-up movies can’t match the effectiveness of the original, Arrow present them all in excellent transfers, with a lot of supportive extras.
While some of the films and plays in the series of disks I wrote about last week, devoted to ghost and horror stories made for British television, reveal the budgetary and technical limitations of their time and medium (low budget sets, somewhat coarse and murky video recording), the BFI has lavished its attention on one […] Read More
The English love ghost stories. There are the classics, of course – Hamlet and Macbeth, for instance – but after the advent of Gothic literature in the late 1700s, spirits, whether harmful or helpful, became less distant, increasingly incorporated into contemporary life. From penny dreadfuls to Dickens, ghosts impinged on the lives of characters not […] Read More
The career of British horror writer James Herbert, who died earlier this year, somewhat parallels that of Stephen King. Both published their first novels in 1974 – Herbert’s The Rats, King’s Carrie. Although Herbert was never as prolific as King, he continued to write and publish until shortly before his death, having sold more than […] Read More
Guillermo del Toro, who made his start – after a couple of shorts and some TV work – with the strikingly original Cronos (1993), has subsequently split his time between small, personal Spanish-language horror fantasies and increasingly big budget Hollywood productions. Along the way, he has become a major force in contemporary genre cinema – […] Read More
In the past few years, something interesting has been happening in the horror genre. After several decades of increasingly graphic movies focused on the torture and destruction of the human body, something more subtle has been re-emerging. Like it or not, one of the key instigators of the trend was The Blair Witch Project (1999); […] Read More
Laddaland (2011) is a recent Thai entry in the Asian ghost genre. Interestingly, it also seems to draw on a western strain of horror, what you might call “real-estate anxiety” as exemplified by Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, even to some degree the Paranormal Activity series. Here the fear is rooted more in economic and status […] Read More