M.R. James and My Trip to Eton

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I have been away for a while and can only apologise for the disappearing act. I would like to say that I have been on a magical adventure that culminated in something along the lines of the ending to the sixth sense (No spoilers for anybody who has been living under a rock) but that would just be an outright lie. Although my journey lacked a certain Shyamalan twist, it was still somewhat exciting and definitely worth the time in the end. Along with my sister, I found the resting place of one Montague Rhodes James OM FBA – Author, medievalist scholar and provost of King’s College, Cambridge and of Eton College.

Little did I realise at the time, we had found the headstone, seemingly untouched for sixteen years, just 2 days before the 80th anniversary of his death and merely a month after his 154th birthday. After an initial bit of navigating through a mass of monuments to the long since passed and a little bit of tidying around the site, we found the man himself deep within a mass of low hanging branches around the edge of Eton Town Cemetery. It was a sad site to see such a legend of horror lore forgotten for such a prolonged amount of time.

Through his stories, M.R. James managed to influence multiple generations of storytellers; lets all take a moment to read a short story and remember one of the greats.

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The Dark Signal

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Anybody who has read my material, or glanced upon my blog for more than a few moments, would be familiar with my penchant for homegrown horror. There is just something far more sinister and creepy about terrifying events occurring on your own doorstep. The familiarisation with dialect and the surrounding world adds to the inner fear that all horror films prey upon. This leads me to The Dark Signal and the eerie landscape that has been chosen for the events to unfold.

The film, shot in North Wales, has been on my radar for quite some time and I am excited to share that this film will now be getting the full works in regard to a premier – this is something that I feel the film is utterly deserving of. Drawing inspiration from films such as Ringu, Siren and The Fog, the film, directed by Edward Evers-Swindell seems to be a production worthy of many highly regarded personnel. Fans of Game of Thrones will instantly recognise James Cosmo, Torchwood aficionados will be familiar with Gareth David Lloyd’s representation and perhaps are more youthful group of the audience will no doubt recognise Siwan Morris from Skins fame.

As if this cast wasn’t exciting enough, the director has managed to secure Cinzia Monreale for a role and this excites me the most. For those of you who are familiar with Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento’s contribution to the world of horror, you will recognise her from The Beyond and The Stendhal Syndrome retrospectively (If you are not familiar with these two incredible directors, I suggest that you go forth and watch everything – they will not disappoint). The veteran actress has also graced the screen with Hollywood legend Sofia Loren, which should give an even bigger indication to her acting capabilities.

Set around Snowdonia, this is perhaps one of the only notable films where the dark and dreary landscape is allowed to portray itself; many films have used the setting before but few have let it just be itself. The film shows us the journey of a woman who is stranded in the Welsh wilderness when a murder is committed; she bands together with a group of radio station workers to investigate the crime. The film has a lot of promise because of the directors previous work with Neil Marshall on The Descent Part 2, a film that did not live up to its predecessor but stood firm on its own nonetheless. It is worth noting that Neil Marshall’s previous work includes Dog Soldiers, which is perhaps one of the better werewolf films made in recent years.

If the cast and setting do not appeal to you as a horror fan then perhaps the fact that the films Visual effect expert won an oscar for his work on Ex-Machina will tempt you in to viewing. DNeg’s Whitehurst, Paul Norris and Mark Ardington, and Milk VFX’s Sara Bennett’s work on that film was unbelievably good and it seems that others thought so too as it pipped the latest Star Wars entry, The Revenant, The Martian and Mad max to the award.

The film has it’s premier at a lesser used Cineworld theatre in Broughton on 21st April but will be available to purchase in stores and online from 30th May onwards – it will probably make its way to Netflix too but there is no guarantee.

If you like what The Dark Signal offers then go give it a watch and support local film.