FrigHT nigHT

Spooky sounds from the BBC

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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!

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