Classic Ghost Stories


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Nov 7, 2002
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Been watching some old VHS tapes over the past few evenings. Started on Saturday night when a friend was talking about the line in "Poltergeist" about smelling the mimosa, coming from some movie he had a distant memory of as a child.

He was gobsmacked and delighted when I dug out that very movie to watch there and then, namely "The Uninvited", a cracking 1944 haunted house yarn starring Ray Milland. My mate was bowled over by how well it had held up, and still delivered the chills.

Dug out another from the same era to show him, also with Ray Milland - "Alias Nick Beal" with Milland as the Devil chasing the soul of a political candidate.

Well, these two vintage fantasies really did whet my appetite, and over the past few days I've watched the following classic ghost/fantasy movies:

I Married A Witch / The Innocents / Flesh and Fantasy / The Ghost Goes West.

Checked Amazon for these but none were listed as available on DVD. Does anybody know if any of them are available on shiny disc anywhere in the world?

These are the kind of great vintage spooky movies BBC2 and Channel 4 used to show late Saturday nights after the pubs had emptied, but which seem to have bitten the dust along with most other late night screenings of B&W movies on UK TV. One could compile an equally extensive list of Fim Noir classics that used to be a late night telly staple, but never get a TV airing these days (Oh for "The Big Clock" on DVD!). Anyway, who wants to watch a great movie when we can watch "documentaries" of paralytic Brits chucking up in Ibiza? :rolleyes:

I have a few of these B&W gems on DVD such as "The Ghostbreakers", "The Ghost and Mrs Muir", "Dead of Night" and "Portrait of Jennie", but I'll be hanging on to many VHS tapes of this type until (if) they see the light of day on DVD.

Be interested to know if anyone has any knowledge of stuff of this type on disc.
Originally posted by the_pauley
He was gobsmacked and delighted when I dug out that very movie to watch there and then, namely "The Uninvited", a cracking 1944 haunted house yarn starring Ray Milland. My mate was bowled over by how well it had held up, and still delivered the chills.

I practically sought out this film on TV since Victor Young wrote one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever for it namely Stella By Starlight (anyone know where I can get hold of a lush version of it rather than a jazz version?) as its main theme and was very pleased by the film I can only ever remember seeing the film once.
As the_pauley say I do not know why they seem to put on these old films these days there should be at least an afternoon slot on BBC2 every day for them.
I remember when they use to put on those old 30s Frankenstein/Dracula films round midnight on ITV just before close down but you never get them these days even with 24 hour TV. The only thing they fill them with is tat.
Sinatra did a vocal cover of the original arrangement of "Stella by Starlight" round about the time the movie came out. It was recorded during his fairly mannered Columbia period, before he developed his trademark "cool" style of the '50s onwards, so it's probably in the style you're after.

However, seems to be only available as part of the fairly pricey "Complete Columbia Studio Recordings" box set.

It's such a timeless tune it's been covered by endless ballad singers, jazz musicians, etc, so a search should prove fruitful.
Thanks for the suggestions but I do not want a vocal I’m after an instrumental but not jazz.
The nearest I have come to hearing one I like is Henry Mancini but even that is not gentle enough for me.
I remember it being played in The Nutty Professor the one with Jerry Lewis and the woman the tune was intended in that film Stella Stevens.
I also recall a good version in 1992 film Whispers in the Dark. Also remember a version in Friday the 13th part 3.
Maybe it is one for a thread on its own in the Music Forum.
3 ghost stories I bought on dvd are

The Signalman
A Warning to the Curious
Whistle and ill come to you

All on reg 2 on BFI. GREAT spooky stories

Yes, got those three too. All originate from the BBC. Can't believe they're licencing stuff out like this instead of releasing it themselves.

Trouble with the Bfi releases is that they're expensive for such short films. A nice reasonably priced multi disc set of all of these Xmas Ghost Stories would be cool.
Originally posted by shaunthedude
3 ghost stories I bought on dvd are

The Signalman
A Warning to the Curious
Whistle and ill come to you

All on reg 2 on BFI. GREAT spooky stories


I’m sure the last 2 are MR James stories if not the first.
Was the first one staring Denhom Elliot?
yip, thats the one. Its great to see these films which can still be creepy etc without loads of blood and gore.
I remember the MR James stories on the BBC 2 over some Christmases and though only told as two gentlemen very disturbing.

Anybody remember Tales of Mystery and Imagination. It was a series that the stories were by MR James, Poe etc ,very scary.
Yes two of them are MR James and "The Signalman" with Denholm Elliot is based on a Charles Dickens story.

MR James is a favourite with the Beeb and they've presented his stories many times over the years. the BFI release of "Whistle and I'll Come To You" was made for Omnibus and directed by Jonathan Miller, while the other two titles come from the "Ghost Story for Christmas" series that ran throughout the '70s.

Re. "Tales of Mystery & Imagination" yes a genuine chiller. Some of the best ghost stories ever shown on TV. Very scary. A few years ago a complete set of tapes in pristine condition were found in the vaults of Central Television, but as it's a black and white series, a repeat on TV is unlikely. DVDs please?

There were a few 90 minute specials in colour in the early '70s in an attempt to revive the series, but were nowhere near as frightening as the traditional ghost stories of the early series.

These included "Frankenstein" with Ian Holm, "Dracula" with Denholm Elliot and "Sweeny Todd" with Freddy Jones.
I also remember the BEEB showing a short film called "the monkeys paw". Now that was creepy. I think it may have been part of the Ghost stories for Xmas

The 70s ITV series 'Thriller' used to really spook me (especially the music and that convex mirror :rolleyes: ).

I know I practically watched all of them but the only one I can seem to remember is the one about the Rolls Royce.

I used to have a link that listed all episodes including screenshots.

Also there was a series in the 80s called 'Beasts'.
Not sure what channel and there was only a few made, but it was pretty creepy from what I can remember.

The one about a family stranded in a house plagued by rats springs to mind.

Maybe Garrett or the_pauley can tell us more.
There was series wrote by Nigel Kneal called Beast (the writer of Quatermass) also a Doomwatch which had an episode about rats called Tomorrow the Rat.

Beast us to be on Friday night on ITV about 8.30 for an hour. There where 6 episodes and in one of the was Simon Oaks (from Doomwatch). One of them was about them trying to talk to dolphins.
where can i get "The Ghostbreakers", "The Ghost and Mrs Muir", on DVD?
"Ghost and Mrs Muir" R1 about £8.60 (available on R2, but the R1 has an audio commentary) and "The Ghostbreakers" (R1 only) about £7.80. Both from DVD Soon and in stock as of time of writing. Free shipping too.

Also just picked up another of these classic Hollywood fantasies, "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant at around the £4.60 mark inc. delivery from (where else?) DVD Soon.
Here is a very good title...."Woman in Black" based on the book by Susan Hill.

Really creepy...atmospheric ghost story! 100 mins long...also a famous West End play.

It was originally shown on ITV at Christmas time well over 10 years ago....all about a young solicitor who is sent to sort out the estate of an old lady who lived in a spooky house on the sand marshes. genuinely, scary.

I hunted it down about 2 years may be deleted is a Canadian release. Carlton International by BFS Video.

I remember watching this several Xmas's ago.
Really spooked me!

Well worth a look.
A belter! Creepy throughout, but I nearly flew over the back of the settee when "that bit" happened. Phew!

Scripted by Nigel "Quatermass" Kneale, incidentally.

Was never repeated by ITV due to complaints received, about the closing scene in particular, and that in general it was "scary". :rolleyes:

Hello? Ghost story? Helps if they are scary...
I'm pretty sure that it was repeated a year or two later.
I remember watching it with my GF at the time and knowing what was coming up.
Been shown on other channels, but ITV refused to repeat it.

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