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Sunday, 15 August 2010

the stone tape, 1972


Nigel Kneale's 1972 Christmas ghost story melded science fiction and megalithic horror in possibly an even better way than Children Of The Stones. An electronics company move into an old mansion so they can work on developing a new recording technology to beat the Japanese invasion, only to discover ghosts and lessons about not trying to meddle with ancient dark forces for financial gain. The green-on-black oscillation waves and electronic soundtrack in the opening titles set the tone, the cast includes Jane Asher as a supernaturally-sensitive computer whizkid as well as, again, the mighty Iain Cuthbertson, and the drama unfolds in ever-more wondrous layers of invention, but the best bit is the idea that pre-Saxon stone can record tape-loops of emotion, and that you mess with them, as in Nigel Kneale's famous Quatermass, at your peril.

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