Monday, 21 December 2009

The Ghost Film

I've started a new website for a feature film I want to make called The Ghost Film. Please take a look.


  1. This is an interesting concept - the ghost story is a direct analogue of the cinematic spectacle - but I'm intrigued by your notion of filmmakers somehow "interfering with carefully written narratives". Are you suggesting that filmmakers should leave adapted texts intact without recourse to creative input or critical analysis? Surely, this is the point of all adaptations, even those by a director using a specifically written screenplay?

    In the case of 'Whistle and I'll Come to You', this is precisely Miller's intent. He crucially exposes the hypocrisy and conceit behind M.R. James' closeted existence - underlining in those final scenes the main character's repression (which can be seen as a stand-in for the author's) to surmount, and explain in literary terms, the need for "a pleasing terror", cf. Richard Holmes' comments on the expressions of the linen.

  2. Thanks for your comment Brett. Good food for thought.

    I'm not against adaptation but contrivance, particularly when the original text works well. Here's some of the original text (the ghost in the room) that didn't appear on screen:

    "With formidable quickness it moved into the middle of the room, and, as it groped and waved, one corner of its draperies swept across Parkins's face. He could not, though he knew how perilous a sound was- he could not keep back a cry of disgust, and this gave the searcher an instant clue. It leapt towards him upon the instant, and the next moment he was half-way through the window backwards, uttering cry upon cry at the utmost pitch of his voice, and the linen face was thrust close into his own."

    In the original story, Colonel Wilson forces his way into the room to aid the Professor, the next day the Colonel throws the whistle into the sea. The Professor has been shaken so much that anything that appears remotely "uncanny" (e.g. seeing a scarecrow in a winter field) troubles him. Visually I think these are stronger images to play with than a man sucking his thumb. Miller's ending of "Whistle.." feels too abrupt and doesn't express the haunted feeling the Professor has after the ghost's visitation.

    The brilliance of M. R James is his ability to affect the reader on a psychological level (it is almost as if the story bores into the mind). From my perspective Miller fails to do this because he plays the last scene for laughs (something that Richard Holmes is referring to). In saying this, a friend of mine, who is very rational, found the film very scary. So maybe Miller was getting something right...