[PASSNOTES] ‘WHISTLE AND I’LL COME TO YOU’, A STORY OF “SOLITUDE AND TERROR”

By on December 14th, 2013

Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968)

Whistle and I’ll come to You (1968) Dir. Jonathan Miller – Dec 14th at Narrow Water Castle

Who’s in it? Michael Horden

What’s it about? First adapted for BBC art show Omnibus in 1968 from a ghost story originally published in 1904 by M.R. James (recently re-visited in 2010 with John Hurt in the lead role) and a precursor to the BBC’s popular A Ghost Story for Christmas series, Whistle and I’ll come to You is the antithesis of showy, manipulative mainstream horror, taking an unaffected approach to what director Jonathan Miller called the “romance of the supernatural”. Solitary Oxford intellectual Prof. Parkin (Horden) finds himself at a loss to explain away or to dismiss the other worldly forces unleashed when he blows a strange whistle he finds on a deserted beach while on holiday on the coast of England.

Memorable Moments? Prof. Parkin scoffing derisively over breakfast at the suggestion that there’s “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” is coupled nicely with the spinetinglingly simple supernatural effects which see our puzzled prof doubting his sanity. Undeniably creepier than it has any right to be.

Look Who’s talking: ‘It’s a story of solitude and terror and it has a moral too… It shows how a man’s reason can be overthrown when he fails to acknowledge those forces within himself which he simply cannot explain.’ – Omnibus intro

Like that? Try this: For a master class in similarly low key spookery look no further than Paranormal Activity (2007) which may well have been the culmination of a generation’s worth of inherited honing of what’s known in the trade as The Visual Language of Fear. Oren Peli’s micro budget hand held camera gem ushered in a new era in horror and spawned too many sequels, the original, unsurprisingly, remains unsurpassed.

Trivia Pursuit: The film’s modest ghost effects were achieved, Scooby Doo style, with a stick, a rag and a length of rope.

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