Autodidact: self-taught

Nov
29
2013

The Secret of Crickley Hall

by V. L. Craven

The Secret of Crickley Hall

The Secret of Crickley Hall is a three-part series about a family of five that loses the son, a boy of five. He simply disappears from a playground one day whilst with his mother. In an effort to mitigate the pain of the one year anniversary, they relocate from London to picturesque Crickley Hall in the north of England for a few months. The mother (Suranne Jones) has a psychic connection with her son, which ceased upon his disappearance, but resumes upon the family’s arrival at Crickley Hall. Amid the protests of her husband and at the physical and mental risk of her daughters–one of whom is Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones–she presses on, engaging the help of a local medium, looking for answers.

Interweaving with this story are the events of 1943 when orphans were evacuated from London during WWII to the Crickley Hall, which is run by the Cribbens, a pair of siblings of whom Dickens would be proud. They subscribe to the belief that deprivation and corporal punishment are the best inducements to learning. When a teacher, an orphan herself (played by Olivia Cooke from Bates Motel), comes up from London and protests the harsh treatment, she’s soon sent on her way, but vows to save the children. Even if it means risking her own life.

The stories become increasingly enmeshed, as the more time the family remains at Crickley Hall, the more the horrific occurrences of the past begin to haunt them, until a devastating confrontation between the past and the present.

Olivia Cooke

The series was based on the novel by James Herbert. I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of someone who’s read the book and seen the series. But as someone who’s only seen the show it was quite well done. There was one reveal I saw coming, but overall, the acting, direction, writing, etc were up to par for BBCOne. The pacing was particularly handled well, which can be difficult over several episodes of this sort of show. There were several moments during the final episode where I found myself holding my breath–the level of suspence was excellent.

I highly recommend this one for fans of ghost stories or stories well told in general.

Jan
10
2013

Crooked House

by V. L. Craven

Crooked House

 

Ghost stories were highly popular at Christmastime with the Victorians (think A Christmas Carol ) and, in that spirit, on Christmas Eve, I watched Crooked House . It’s billed as a television series on Netflix, but at an hour and a half total it can be watched in one sitting.

A young man takes an ancient door knocker to an antiques dealer, played wonderfully creepy by the screenwriter, Mark Gatiss, who explains it’s likely from Geap Manor, which was destroyed some time ago. There’s all sorts of stories about odd goings-on in the house, three of which the dealer tells to the young man. The man takes it home and increasingly unsettling things happen, prompting him to try and rid himself of the cursed object, only to find it returning, seemingly of its own accord.

Saying more would ruin the plot, but each story is well-done and the atmosphere is handled beautifully. A fun, eerie diversion best watched on a rainy evening, I give it 8/10 and would definitely recommend it.

Nov
04
2012

Tea

by V. L. Craven

Normally you canĀ  Make Mine a Builder’s , but recently a Canadian friend recently sent us some tea from David’s Tea , which was lovely. We had Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble–wonderful for a cold. My husband loves the Pumpkin Chai. Orange Ceylon was undrinkable. Nothing we put in it made it palatable.

The lime gelato green tea, however, was incredible. And there’s the additional literary connection in that it used to be believed that drinking too much green tea would addle the mind. Sheridan le Fanu wrote a ghost story about it.

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