“The Headless Ghost,” directed by Peter Graham Scott

Movie, 1959 Lightweight caper, hugely foreshadowing the plot Hanna-Barbera rehashed so many times for Scooby Doo. Three kids hide out in a haunted castle, trying to help the titular ghost reconnect with its head, but having to deal with obstacles along the way. If this was a sharp cracking, effects-driven family frenzy, it’d struggle. Given the film’s vintage, the love interest and castle’s apparent hard … Continue reading “The Headless Ghost,” directed by Peter Graham Scott

“The House in Marsh Road”, directed by Montgomery Tully

Movie, 1960 B-movie and British chiller-thriller, and a story of a poltergeist, infidelity, drunkenness, revenge and tragedy. While tame by any standards, this is an enjoyable film with some good atmosphere generated by moody shots, gloomy interiors and pleasingly over-the-top music. Hardly a classic, but effective and entertaining into the bargain, with an engagingly quirky premise and an opening which portrays a culture of living … Continue reading “The House in Marsh Road”, directed by Montgomery Tully

"White is for Witching", by Helen Oyeyemi

Novel, 2009 A novel which pulls on a load of shapes and guises, from coming of age, to a twins’ psychodrama, to haunted house thriller. This is a book in which too much goes on without much seeming to actually happen. The result is a confusing hodge-podge, which may be an intentional device reflecting the struggles of Miranda, the main protagonist. There’s some really outstanding … Continue reading "White is for Witching", by Helen Oyeyemi

"Inferno," directed by Dario Argento

Movie, 1980 Dreamy horror, full of deserted buildings, surreal sets, a progressive rock soundtrack and blood. All these elements are wonderfully realised, giving the film an excellent tension, although the story seems a little confused and the acting, every now and again, stultifying. The violence is nasty, although this goes with the territory. An effective piece, all in all; at least it would have been … Continue reading "Inferno," directed by Dario Argento

"13 Ghosts," directed William Castle

Movie, 1960 Take out the outrageous Illusion-O gimmick, which neatly and effectively removes most of the tension in the film and leads in to some fairly tedious special effects, and 13 Ghosts is a pretty effective haunted house movie. While younger characters and cast members grate, Margaret Hamilton (the witch in The Wizard of Oz) is a sinister, enjoyable presence playing a twisted housekeeper along similar … Continue reading "13 Ghosts," directed William Castle