The career of British horror writer James Herbert, who died earlier this year, somewhat parallels that of Stephen King. In the present-day storyline, the Caleigh family are facing the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of five-year-old Cam. Over the course of the series’ three one-hour episodes, Eve desperately tries to communicate with and locate Cam, while uncovering the history of Crickley Hall and the meaning of the ghostly manifestations which grow stronger as she refuses to leave the house. In parallel with this story, we see the house in 1943 when it was an orphanage run by Magda Cribben (Sarah Smart) and her brother Augustus (Douglas Henshall), an upright Christian pair much admired for their charitable activities. One of the series’ real strengths is the way it uses the present-day ghostly manifestations only as a device to reveal the real horror of what corrupt adults are capable of doing to children. But what really carries the story and gives it an increasingly intense emotional dimension is the excellent cast of mostly TV actors.
The BBC disk comes with no extras, but the 16:9 image is attractive and the stereo sound is subtle and uncluttered.
I remember watching this, Douglas Henshall above all put on an excellent performance but knowing about him from other people who have worked with him recently in Shetland, he seems too gentle and kind hearted in reality and this deep down,must have hurt him, the way he had to be sadistic to that little Jewish boy,especially as he himself is Jewish and appearing in a ghostly form,striking Maisie Williams with a cane. I have been editing a wide range of film and video projects, both documentary and drama, for two-and-a-half decades.
Original content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. All other content is owned by the respective copyright holders and cannot be used without permission. I have been a film editor for some twenty years, cutting shorts and features, drama and documentary, theatrical and television. Since my earliest memories of movies — watching Omar Sharif as Ghengis Khan, Ursula Andress as She in the Odeon or Regent or Pavilion in Chelmsford, Essex, in the early ’60s, or catching King Kong or Quatermass 2 on a small black and white television in our living room in White Roding — what engaged me, and still engages me, is story and the techniques of storytelling.


When I returned to school in my mid-20s, I started hanging out at the University of Winnipeg student newspaper office and eventually became the weekly film reviewer — an excellent gig because it meant I got to see a lot of movies for free. Eventually returning to Winnipeg, I wrote fairly regularly about film and other matters for Border Crossings, an arts quarterly. Over the years, I have also sporadically continued writing — a number of unfilmed scripts, plus a brief history of the Winnipeg Film Group for Cinema Scope, and most recently a chapter on filmmaker John Kozak in the WFG’s anthology about Winnipeg directors, Place. Initially, Crickley Hall seems very conventional compared with Ahearne’s earlier work, a layered ghost story with two parallel time lines (present day and 1943) which are built on a collection of familiar narrative elements. To mitigate the emotional effects, father Gabe (Tom Ellis) takes a job up north and the family move for a few months to a big old country house called Crickley Hall. The caretaker Percy Judd (David Warner) puts her in touch with local psychic Lili Peel (Susan Lynch) who reluctantly attempts to communicate with Cam, triggering more traumatic events. We’re introduced to the Cribbens through the eyes of Nancy Linnet (Olivia Cooke), a young woman hired as a teacher for the children, who herself is an orphan with a painful past. The 1943 storyline is far more chilling than the modern ghost story, but at the same time invests the present-day with deeper emotional resonance as the Caleigh family eventually have to come to terms with what happened to Cam, the truth of which they eventually learn through this encounter with the past.
Nothing is over-played and the characters draw the viewer in, creating a fine addition to the traditional English ghost story.
I like to think that in turn, he held them close to him compassionately and debriefed them as they say in military terms as this must have been quite traumatic for all three.
I started at the Winnipeg Film Group, cutting on Steenbeck 16mm flatbeds, adopted Avid in 1995, and have used FinalCut Pro quite extensively over the past ten years.
Even in my documentary work, the concern is always with how to shape the material into a compelling narrative.
No doubt that experience helped when I fortuitously got an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and interview David Lynch and many of his collaborators on the production of Eraserhead for an article for Cinefantastique.


And then, in 1989, I joined the Winnipeg Film Group and set about making my own first film, a 9-minute comedy in the form of a dubious documentary called Incident at Pickerel Fillet. Would you like to increase your visibility, hone your skills, and reach a very large and growing audience? Although Herbert was never as prolific as King, he continued to write and publish until shortly before his death, having sold more than 50-million copies in multiple languages. Ahearne keeps things quite simple, allowing the characters and events to create the growing atmosphere of dread without a lot of visual trickery to evoke jump scares. Standouts are Olivia Cooke as Nancy, and Pixie Davies and Maisie Williams as the two girls, with Sarah Smart and Douglas Henshall both excellent as the sick hypocrites running the orphanage. And that article in turn landed me a job on the production of Lynch’s Dune, a remarkable six months in Mexico helping to document the day-to-day details of production on one of the most expensive movies ever made. This was followed by a short piece in a collaborative project called The Exquisite Corpse, and then a more ambitious comedy parodying old-style sci-fi movie serials called The Adventures of Stella Starr of the Galaxy Rangers in the 23rd Century. Unlike King, Herbert saw only five of his novels adapted for the screen – four features and one mini-series – with mixed results.
Paradoxically, it’s his almost matter-of-fact, naturalistic approach which allows the psychological horror to breathe. Bayona’s The Orphanage, plus a whole tradition of British horror which centres on dead children.
Bayona’s The Orphanage plus a whole tradition of British horror which centres on dead children.



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