Sorry, but we’ll have to agree to differ on that one. Perhaps if it hadn’t been so overhyped, I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed, but I sat down looking forward to being frightened out of my wits (oddly, I really do enjoy that, despite being of a nervous disposition), and put all the lights out specially. But I found it typical, Sunday-night, middle-of-the-road fare; not a bit scary (it would take a lot more than that), and even Michael Palin (who was hardly in it after the first episode) and the excellent young girl couldn’t save it from the half-baked, unscary plot.
I persevered to the bitter end, mainly because there’s nothing better on a Sunday night, but ended up wondering why I’d bothered. A ghost story needs to scare (not to contain gore, which is a different thing) but I should have realised they wouldn’t put anything really disturbing on Sunday evening primetime. I did enjoy the scenery, and that open air ballroom looked amazing, but still not enough to compensate for the rest.
The writer could learn a few things from the book I’m reading at the moment: it’s a collection of ghost stories, most more than 100 years old, and none more recent than the 1930s, I don’t think, but there are some genuine spine chillers in there. It’s variable, of course - no anthology is without a couple of duds, and you have to get used to the old-fashioned language, and what sometimes seems, to us, a ridiculous amount of scene-setting, before you get to the actual haunting - or whatever it was that’s the main point of the story. I have often thought, whilst reading it, that it’s a shame we don’t get many new stories of such calibre today, or even many new adaptations of classic ghost stories, which always used to be popular around Christmas time. Henry James’ Turn of the Screw is one of my favourites - partly because it’s never spelt out in black and white whether there was an actual haunting, or whether the central character was losing her mind - both are equally scary, but in a different way. James wisely didn’t tell us, but left it so that either interpretation is possible.
It isn’t one of those in my book, but just one that came to mind when I was thinking of really good ghost stories.
Why does the stupid spellcheck not recognize “stories” as an actual word? Am I losing my mind now? It surely shouldn’t be “storeys”, as that’s a building, isn’t it? And I know it’s not “storys”, so why am I getting red underlines every time?