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Tychy’s favourite YouTube channel, GhostWatching, has recently uploaded several of Lawrence Gordon Clark‘s adaptations of M.R. James‘ ghost stories. These dramas were first broadcast at Christmas on the BBC during the early 1970s. In the seventies, BBC drama was effectively a film industry in its own right, and Clark’s 50 minute adaptations rank amongst the best of British screen horror. Although the “sleepwalking” scene in Lost Hearts (1973) is more unnerving than any horror film which Hollywood has produced in at least a decade, my favourite of these films is A Warning to the Curious (1972), in which the treasure-hunter Mr. Paxton digs up one of three ancient crowns which defend the shores of East Anglia from foreign invaders. He is consequently hunted down by the crown’s ghostly guardian. “A Warning…” is beautifully filmed, and it innovatively adapts the original tale – in doing so, depending upon both Peter Vaughan‘s compelling portrayal of Paxton and the film’s haunting Norfolk setting – whilst remaining more than true to James’ authorial ambitions.

Watch “A Warning…” here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.