Spooky sounds from the BBC
released OUT NOW! 112 minutes | BBC radio 4
Halloween on Radio 4 was an eerie treat, with two adaps of classic modern ghost stories.
First up: The Stone Tape, based on Nigel Kneale’s 1972 TV play. A group of scientists discover that the walls of an old building have recorded the dying moments of a young woman. As they probe further, this “geo-acoustic phenomenon” begins to eat away at geophysicist Jill (Romola Garai).
Helmed by Berberian Sound Studio director Peter Strickland, it shares a similar love of sonic weirdness to that film, with screams bending and warping unnervingly around the listener. Matthew
Graham’s script, meanwhile, does a good job of trimming down the original without losing its uniquely horrible atmosphere. An understated gem.
While Ring’s tale of a cursed VHS tape might not seem a good fit for audio, it works very well. The sound design is effectively unsettling and Naoko Mori’s intermittent narration adds a sense of impending doom. By incorporating elements of Koji Suzuki’s original novel, it’s also nastier than the movie.
The Westernisation is a shame – it now revolves around a pair of ex-pats living in Tokyo – but makes sense from a language point of view, and it’s certainly less egregious than the US movie remake. And a couple of small updates smartly bring the story into the present day, leading to an intriguing moral dilemma. Will Salmon
If you missed the Halloween broadcast, you can catch both plays on iPlayer until the end of November.
There’s something in the darkness… wait… IT’S BEHIND YOU!