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It's been so long since I read James Herbert's 2006 novel which the BBC adapted for this lacklustre Hallowe'en TV offering that I almost forgot what a derivative crock of shit it was.
In fairness, the classic "ghost story with children in it" pattern goes back even before "The Haunting" (1963) or "The Innocents" (1961); both of which have influenced every ghost story ever since. Given the basic premise, I'd be foolish not to throw in "The Dark" (2005) and "Half Light" (2006) as more of the same unimaginative cloning from the last decade although "The Haunting of Julia" (1977) and "The Changeling" (1981) also dealt with the "bereavement and haunting" formula long before them. If you look further into the "six degrees of separation" style connections around "The Secret of Crickley Hall" as a TV miniseries, it's far more amusing where they lead. Just to complicate matters even more, James Herbert's "Haunted" was originally a screenplay which was rejected as a BBC miniseries, Stephen Volk wrote the BBC's infamous "Ghostwatch" (1992), and Lesley Sharp recently appeared in "Whistle and I'll Come to You" (2010) - another BBC ghost story. Conspiracy theories aside, it will always look like Herbert copied Volk who then copied Herbert back before Ahearne was brought into the shenanigans. After all this rambling, the main problem with "The Secret of Crickley Hall" is that it's an overlong story which can be condensed into one or two sentences.
Give or take a couple of even more sordid details, that's "The Secret of Crickley Hall" in a nutshell (pardon the pun). As a miniseries, "The Secret of Crickley Hall" tones down the really disgusting stuff to such an extent that the barebones story is boring beyond belief. The characters in "The Secret of Crickley Hall" are merely stereotypical ciphers to move on the uninspired plot anyway, but the deadpan delivery of the actors in this miniseries is reprehensible.
There's some bizarre thing about little fingers and a psychic link which makes absolutely no sense either.
Poor old David Warner has been wheeled out for this thing too as the old guy who used to be a young guy and knows everything. I have no idea why the setting was changed from Devon to "oop North" except that occasionally the BBC vainly attempts to make Southerners believe that anywhere above Watford isn't full of Neanderthals who eat their own young. The BBC missed a golden opportunity to replace the psychic with a Jamaican or Indian, but at least they've stayed truer to the book there. Since I'm writing this after seeing only two episodes, I can't say if the final one will improve anything. With the story taking place in two time periods, the most interesting parts seem to happen in World War II. The Secret of Crickley Hall is a new take on the classic ghost story in the same way that his bestseller Once was a new take on the classic fairy tale. The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012) HDTV x264-2HD Quote: A year after their son goes missing, a family moves to Crickley Hall. I'm not going to say that Herbie plagiarised "The Devil's Backbone" (2001), but he was clearly influenced by it before "Britishing-up" the story. With so many supernatural movies in such a short space of time including "The Others" (2001), "Saint Ange" (2004), "Fragile" (2005), "The Orphanage" (2007), the TV series "Marchlands" (2011), and the even more recent "The Awakening" (2011), it's pretty obvious that there would be some similarities. Director Joe Ahearne is most famous for "This Life" which I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog before as being the series which gave Andrew Lincoln of "The Walking Dead" fame his big break. If you also look at Tom Ellis' list of acting credits on the IMDb, he's a definite BBC regular and also appeared in "The Fades" - the axed supernatural drama from 2010.


The rivalry and borrowing by all three writers is probably more noticeable than any of them realise themselves. Indeed, it could be retitled, "The Legend of the Mutilated Peepee" since that's the big secret. The book was short of scares anyway, but the brutality, paedophilia and incest which covered its weaknesses are scarcely touched upon in this pussified TV adaptation. Dr Oliver from "Eastenders"), he's a little bit better as the sceptical Gabe Caleigh even though his taste in women must have gone on the wonk for him to end up with Suranne Jones (the mouthy one from "Coronation Street") as his onscreen wife. There doesn't even appear to be anything odd about Suranne Jones' hands in close-up so I have no idea what that's all about. It's probably part of the same equal opportunities nonsense at the BBC which has forced every gay and racial minority actor into "Doctor Who" and "Eastenders" over the years. They couldn't use anyone Scottish either without reminding everyone of their stupid decision to axe "Sea of Souls". I missed "The Secret of Crickley Hall" when it was shown on BBC America (on October 28th) so I've had to follow the postponed UK schedule. I write honest, mostly objective movie reviews, retrospectives and recommendations punctuated by anything else that takes my fancy. When supernatural events begin to take place, Eve feels the house is somehow connected to her lost son. In between the two, Andrew Lincoln was in "Afterlife" (2006) where he played a bereaved father who had lost his son and teamed up with a psychic played by Lesley Sharp. It doesn't take a genius to work out that all these people know each other or of each other to some extent.
The governor covers up the crime during a flood and ends up as a ghost along with all the children he abused. I don't care that this is a spoiler because I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see the little "Jewish" boy get mutilated or "The Secret of Crickley Hall" turn into "The Jew Who Bled To Death".
Although she's very pretty, and looks young enough to be in the orphanage as one of the orphans rather than their teacher, her monotone voice can't be disguised by cutely letting one glycerine tear run down her cheek.
Okay, so a higher power miscast them together, but that's not how those of us with an unwilling suspension of disbelief view such a lack of chemistry or realism. Either it's a poor effect, bad camerawork, something that seemed more important in the script than it really was, or just feeble execution to match every other part of this travesty. It's nice to see David Warner in something again, and he's the best actor in "The Secret of Crickley Hall" anyway. I suppose it makes a change from "Eastenders Does Ghosties" which has already been done to death. Yes, all six of them have been assured work by the same hypocritical company which allegedly turned a blind eye to Jimmy Saville interfering with little kids for over 40 years.
Knowing that Susan Lynch, who plays Lili Peel, fills the "minority" quotient by being Irish somewhat amused me.
I'm sure that the story won't change that much from the novel unless gay aliens fly in and abduct everybody or something comes out of left field like that.


Some of the children are persecuted by the people who run the home and have found places between the floors and walls of the home to avoid the adults. Since the poster is promised to be new, it has never hung nor does it contain any pinholes or creases The size of poster is 14x20 inches. It wouldn't be the first time that James Herbert sailed too close to the wind as his famous lawsuit over "The Spear" will confirm. How many generic ghost stories were passed between the writers and the decision makers at the BBC is another matter though. In the present day, a family whose son was kidnapped a year ago go to live in the former orphanage, and all the ghosties get riled up to solve two mysteries in one.
All you want to say is, "He could have done so much better!" At least neither of them has mispronounced the word "us" as "uzzz" yet despite playing Northerners. Not to take anything away from Donald Sumpter who has been in absolutely everything over the years, but he's not much cop (pardon another pun since he was in "The Bill") as a paranormal investigator.
Following that scandal, no wonder the BBC started to get cold feet about airing "The Secret of Crickley Hall".
I bet someone at some point wanted Lesley Sharp for the role except that would have really given away how similar the present day part of "The Secret of Crickley Hall" is to "Afterlife". You can never tell what will happen with BBC TV adaptations of horror books as "The Haunted Airman" or any of M.R. I do not and will never support or encourage no-budget, backyard epics, horror-comedies, or intentionally badly made horror films. His "Sepulchre" is hardly a million miles away from Clive Barker's "The Damnation Game" as far I remember either. Although there's no real connection, Lesley Sharp was in an episode of "Doctor Who" and so was Tom Ellis who stars in "The Secret of Crickley Hall".
The last time they were brave enough to be controversial in a drama was when Dennis Potter was still alive.
The psychic link homages "The Shining", of course, as does Tom Ellis' bad "Here's Johnny!" impression. The ironic reminders in the subject matter are uncomfortably close to home, and there aren't any black or gay characters to redress the balance.
They weren't in the same episode or even the episodes of "Doctor Who" which were written by Joe Ahearne, but you can still smell the BBC nepotism a mile away.
Curiously, they don't seem to care about overpaid Jonathan Ross or Jeremy Clarkson flapping their insulting gums though. If it was a Stephen King adaptation, we would all be waiting for another giant spider so be thankful that this is James Herbert. Herbie just likes to destroy everything at the end so be prepared to see your licence fee wasted on some half-arsed flooding effects or explosions.



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