Following this month's launch of the first two volumes of the BBC's classic Ghost Story series on BFI DVD, two more volumes – each containing three spine-tingling tales – are to be released in September. Five of the films have never been available to watch in any home video format before, while The Signalman was released on BFI DVD in 2002, but has long since been deleted.
Ghost Stories Volume 3
Lost Hearts (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1973)
When recently orphaned Stephen (Simon Gipps-Kent) goes to live with his uncle he is troubled by two terrifying child spectres whose mischievous acts lead to a blood-curdling revelation. Based on a gory tale by masterful ghost story-teller MR James, Robin Chapman's dramatisation is a spine-chilling piece of atmospheric television which features a superb performance by Joseph O'Conor as the erratic uncle.
The Treasure of Abbot Thomas (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1974)
Pride comes before a fall in John Bowen's adaptation of MR James' tale of a treasure hunt with a sticky end. Michael Bryant plays The Reverend Somerton whose self-assured intellectual arrogance masks a naked greed.
The Ash Tree (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1975)
Enlightened eighteenth-century nobleman Sir Richard Fell (Edward Petherbridge) inherits more than he bargained for when he comes into possession of a stately home dominated by a sinister old ash tree. David Rudkin's (Pendar's Fen) nuanced adaptationof MR James' short story about malevolent witchcraft also stars Barbara Ewing (Torture Garden, Brass).
Special features are:
- New introduction to Lost Hearts by Lawrence Gordon Clark (11 mins);
- New introduction to Treasure of Abbot Thomasby Lawrence Gordon Clark (11mins);
- New introduction to The Ash Tree by Lawrence Gordon Clark (8 mins);
- Illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned essays by horror writer Ramsey Campbell and the BFI'sAlex Davidson and Dick Fiddy.
Ghost Stories Volume 4
The Signalman (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1976)
When a traveller (Bernard Lloyd) stumbles upon a signalbox situated on a lonely stretch of country rail track, he is unable to believe the incredible story of its troubled occupant. Andrew Davies' (Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards) atmospheric adaptation from a short story by Charles Dickens features a remarkable performance by Denholm Elliott (Bad Timing, A Room With a View, Raiders of the Lost Ark) as the eponymous railway employee haunted by dreadful premonitions.
Stigma (Lawrence Gordon Clark, 1977)
The pagan stone circles of Avebury are the backdrop for writer Clive Exton's modern-day horror Stigma, the final offering in the BBC series by celebrated ghost story director Lawrence Gordon Clark, available here for the first time on DVD. The attempted removal of an ancient menhir from a family's back garden unleashes a bloody curse on unsuspecting housewife Katharine, whose rising panic is captured brilliantly by Kate Binchy.
The Ice House (Derek Lister, 1978)
After his wife leaves him, Paul (John Stride) seeks solace in a sophisticated health spa run by a pair of creepy siblings (played by Geoffrey Burridge and Elizabeth Romilly). Strangely attracted by the scent of a vine that grows on the old ice house in the spa's grounds, Paul is drawn ever-deeper into a horrifying mystery. Written by John Bowen (The Treasure of Abbot Thomas).
Special features are:
- New introduction to The Signalman by Lawrence Gordon Clark (11mins);
- New introduction to Stigma by Lawrence Gordon Clark (9mins);
- Illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned essays by broadcaster Matthew Sweet and Dr Helen Wheatley.
Ghost Stories Volumes 3 & 4 will be released individually on UK DVD by the BFI on 17th September 2012 at the RRP of £19.99.
The fifth and final volume of Ghost Stories, containing the more recent instalments A View from a Hill and Number 13, and a complete Ghost Stories for Christmas box set will be released on 22nd October.