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Author Topic: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)  (Read 7185 times)

ecc

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Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« on: 15 Jul 2008 - 21:25 »

Saw this under the video retitling MADHOUSE MANSION.  You'll find my review here with screencaps:
Ghost Story/Madhouse Mansion

What do you all think of this film?  As an American, I like it and find it comparable to some of the UK TV ghost stories from around the same period.  Besides Marianne Faithful, there are some fine though understated performances (Barbara Shelley - in her last film role - and Penelope Keith are not given enough to do).  Love the sparse score.  The cinematography is largely attractive but the zooms feel inorganic (even within the context of 70's cinematography).  The three lead actors are lumped in with the rest of the small supporting cast after the title (Faithful and Leigh Lawson get the before title billing in large lettering).   Most interestingly is that Weeks took his cast and crew to Tamil Nadu in India to shoot rural England and the country estate (he produced the film as well after the fiasco that was his first film I MONSTER).

Literally, the only cassette release of it I'm aware of is the Comet Video NTSC release under the video generated title MADHOUSE MANSION (changed from GHOST STORY because of the Peter Straub film adaptation but even the original title was changed from ASYLUM which became the title of an Amicus film released the same year).  It's fullscreen but doesn't look cropped, sometimes dark but pleasingly soft.  If you scan to the bottom of my review, you'll see from the eBay and Amazon links that the cassettes are getting up their in price.

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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jul 2008 - 23:19 »

I haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember liking it a lot.

That US release is an unauthorised release, which is why the title was changed. Luckily I still have a recording I made from UK TV under its original title, which I remember looks way better.
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ecc

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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #2 on: 15 Jul 2008 - 23:24 »

I recall reading that Weeks said he would never have authorized a retitled, fullscreen release but I wasn't sure if he meant he would never have approved of one or if that actually implied that he also owned the distribution rights to it in addition to producing it himself.  Was the TV recording widescreen?

I haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember liking it a lot.

That US release is an unauthorised release, which is why the title was changed. Luckily I still have a recording I made from UK TV under its original title, which I remember looks way better.

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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #3 on: 19 Jul 2008 - 02:17 »

I caught this on UK TV about 13 years ago and it really creeped me out. Stephen Weeks is a highly underrated director and deserves, IMO, equal status with the likes of Michael Reeves. His film I, Monster is far more accomplished than many Hammer films. This guy deserves some recognition.
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ecc

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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #4 on: 19 Sep 2008 - 09:32 »

The UK TV recording does indeed look more colorful.  Strangely, it has a different title sequence than the US tape (the US tape has a video burned title MADHOUSE MANSION but the rest of the credits in that sequence are film opticals).

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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #5 on: 19 Sep 2008 - 10:05 »

Director Weeks told me that the US Madhouse Mansion release was an unauthorized bootleg, hence the title change.
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Re: Ghost Story (1974, Stephen Weeks)
« Reply #6 on: 19 Sep 2008 - 10:28 »

Its more than just the title itself.  The US version opens with all of the opening credits (Except the title where this static shot obviously freeze frames) in wavy opticals over a long shot of the mansion (these are part of the film not video generated).  The UK version does not contain this entire sequence.  Rather, it starts with shots of Talbot and Duller on their separate ways to the train station.  The only opening credits on this sequence are "A Stephen Weeks Company Film" and the title itself.  Both versions then synchronize (excepting PAL conversion) with the train station shot where the camera tilts down into long shot on Talbot carrying his bags.

13-13

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #7 on: 25 Feb 2009 - 08:53 »

(bump)

is there a dvd release of this yet? would love to see it(closest marianne faithfull lover), but i've only ever seen it on american ebay and amazon on vhs with the prices between $15 and $90..which are somewhat extreme to say the least.
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MarcMorris

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #8 on: 25 Feb 2009 - 09:03 »

We will be issuing a UK DVD later this year.
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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #9 on: 25 Feb 2009 - 10:32 »

is there a dvd release of this yet? would love to see it(closest marianne faithfull lover), but i've only ever seen it on american ebay and amazon on vhs with the prices between $15 and $90..which are somewhat extreme to say the least.

True, I would never pay $90 but the prices for the tape in general are not that extreme when one considers that the US VHS was the ONLY tape release of the film ever released (I thought I read that Weeks himself was selling a version on tape for a while but I have not been able to find the reference) and most people do not know that it is due out on DVD.

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #10 on: 25 Feb 2009 - 16:20 »

I'm just bloody tight and not too sure if any my vcr's play america tapes.
i think i'm turning into marc..i'd rather the dvd...oh dear.
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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #11 on: 16 Sep 2009 - 09:33 »

From the Cult Movie Forums...

On 26 October 2009 Nucleus Films will issue Stephen Weeks' 1974 chiller Ghost Story as a special edition double DVD set.

Revered, misunderstood and oft-discussed, Stephen Weeks' rarely seen 1974 dreamlike chiller is the absolute definition of a cult British Horror film. Set in 1930s England it tells of three former public schoolmates, Larry Dann (The Bill), Murray Melvin (The Devils) and the enigmatic Vivian Mackerrell (the inspiration for Bruce Robinson' s creation 'Withnail', seen here in his only major screen role), who reunite in a country mansion haunted by the spirit of insane former resident Marianne Faithfull (Girl on a Motorcycle). The haunting transports them to a surreal world of demonic dolls, sadistic doctors, incest and murder. Hammer fans will see Barbara Shelley (Dracula Prince of Darkness) and Leigh Lawson (Hammer House of Horror), among the cast, 'cult TV' enthusiasts will recognise Anthony Bate (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Beasts), and sitcom lovers will enjoy a cameo from Penelope Keith (The Good Life, To The Manor Born).

This combination of 1970s Britsploitation and 1930s quaintness, realised perfectly by Weeks and soundtracked by Pink Floyd collaborator Ron Geesin, have made Ghost Story legendary. Now, for the first time on DVD Nucleus Films proudly presents this pristine 2-disc collectors edition including Ghost Stories, an in-depth featurette about the curious tale about the making of the film, an audio commentary, a trailer and a selection of Weeks' fascinating early shorts and commercials including the previously unseen Tigon film 1917!

2 DISC COLLECTOR'S EDITION - with booklet and essay by Darius Drew Shimmon

DVD Extras include:

    * Ghost Stories - an all-new 60 minute featurette including interviews with Director/Producer Stephen Weeks, Actors Larry Dann and Murray Melvin, British Horror Icon Barbara Shelley, composer (and Pink Floyd collaborator) Ron Geesin, with comments from UK critic Kim Newman.
    * Audio Commentary with Stephen Weeks, moderated by Professor Samuel Umland
    * Theatrical Trailer
    * The Chelsea Cobbler store commercial
    * Alternate opening credits sequence
    * Stephen Weeks' The Making of Ghost Story (.pdf)
    * 7 early previously unseen short Stephen Weeks films:

    * Owen's War (1965 / B+W / 10m)
    * Deserted Station (1965 / B+W / 7m)
    * The Camp (1965 / B+W / 4m)
    * Moods of a Victorian Church (1967 / Colour / 9m)
    * Two At Thursday (1968 / B+W / 10m)
    * 1917 (1968 / Colour / 35m)
    * Flesh (1969 / Colour / 3m)

Order now from Amazon.co.uk


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Ben Cobb

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #12 on: 16 Sep 2009 - 12:38 »

Can't wait for this! Looks like an essential release Marc
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Richard C

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #13 on: 17 Sep 2009 - 11:40 »

Not sure of that cover but the film sounds like one for me to check out. Cheers for the update Jonny.
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MarcMorris

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Re: Ghost Story (Stephen Weeks ,1974)
« Reply #14 on: 17 Sep 2009 - 12:23 »

The original poster was just text on black.
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