Ghost stories have captivated and enthralled children and adults alike from time immemorial. Each society has their own myths and legends, which are in a way themselves a reflection of a shared history. Whilst television and cinema have come on leaps and bounds when it comes to special effects and digital wizardry, they’re nothing without good storytelling. The lasting appeal of the likes of M.R. James is testament to this. Susan Hill’s famous novel, The Woman in Black, follows in his footsteps. The TV adaptation remains a chilling experience.
To his chagrin, Arthur Kidd (Adrian Rawlins) is despatched from London by his manager to the small north eastern market town of Crythin Gifford. He’s charged with attending the funeral and settling the estate of Alice Drablow. When the solicitor arrives in the coastal community, he finds the locals wary and suspicious. This feeling of dread only increases on his first visit to Eel Marsh House. Only accessible via a tidal causeway and shrouded in fret, Arthur soon comes to understand why the property sparks so many misgivings.
It’s easy to see why Hill’s story still retains its iconic status and popularity. Herbert Wise’s adaptation does the text great justice, with Nigel Neale’s screenplay conjuring up a sense of growing terror which permeates the book. The setting itself almost has its own personality, enhancing and embellishing the terrifying tale. The Woman in Black is a great example of how to turn a classic horror novel into compelling television.
- Feature version in full widescreen
- Audio commentary with Mark Gatiss and Kim Newman
- Image gallery
- Booklet by Andrew Pixley
The Woman in Black is released on Blu-ray by Network on 10 August.