True Horror, Channel 4, Thursday 10pm.

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http://www.channel4.com/programmes/true-horror/on-demand/62853-003

This is my guilty secret, takes me right back to my childhood. I’m a BBC 4 kinda guy. The kinda guy that sneers at people that watch soap operas like River City, Coronation Street, Emmerdale or Question Time. Yet, here it is, factual stories based on a recipe borrowed from Hammer House of Horror. Remember the rule. Vampires. Scary Christopher Lee. Wrap the blankets around your neck and hope they bite your wee brother in the bed next to your own. Sit in the sunlight. Or if it’s a shark, do that Billy Connelly thing and hold up two fingers with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Terror in the Woods.  Do not get lost in woods with a capital W and camp beside the most haunted cathedral in the world which has access to a long forgotten plague pit and the gate to hell. Two teenagers that like to mess about in front of the camera and play at being dead gay with each other, but not in that way, spend a night in a wood. There’s a mock-up of what happened. Scratching on the tent. The portable DVD doesn’t work. Your torch doesn’t turn on. And you keech your pants as the ghost of a wee lassie with no eyes floats through the tent. Who need the Blackpool rollercoaster?

Then you go home – with a big scary ghost in your haversack. Aye, the ghost knows where you live now. Ghost sat-nav. So you call in the Scooby Doo bunch of ghost busters. What do they do? Whistle it down. Hi, silver bullets. Crosses. Exorcisms and priests. Nah, tell the ghost to go and shaft itself, but it doesnae.

And you get the two wee guys, now a bit older saying we kidded on about ghosts until we met a real one. See telly, that’s educational, doesn’t need to be BBC 4 or a version of Ghost on Benefits. Smoking.

Ghost in the Wall. So you’ve got this woman with dyed red hair telling you, aye, I’d seven kids and eh, my man’s dad died in that chair. We could smell his cigarette smoke and he was doing a bit of haunting. He dragged my baby daughter through the walls and held her like a rat in the spaces. When I dragged her out her eyes were black. You know what they say, don’t go into the cellar. Move house. Nah, hang about. He was only kidding on. He’s settled down to baby sitting and making knocking noises. Families, eh, they fuck you up.

Hellfire Farm is right next to Terror in the Woods, but without the trees. It’s deepest darkest Wales, boyo. Look out for a massive electricity bill hitting you right in the eye. Ghosts are murder on the electricity. Shining pupils in the corner of the room. Farmyard animals that mysteriously hang themselves and a pig that does laps of the farm and runs itself to death. The focal point seems to be the dad. He seems cursed, but quite likes it. He’s like a pig on speed, drawing all these pictures that look vaguely like something you don’t want to look at, but can’t look away. Option A, go to the local cinema and watch The Shining, or jump in the car and fuck off. No. This couple and their children carried right on. It nearly cost them. They brought in an exorcist. He burned the Harry Potter books and the Satanic Bible and all of da’s painting and the outstanding electricity bill no one on earth could pay.  You know what happened next, don’t you? It followed him home. I want a legless leyless lined  map where these places with capital letters are so I can avoid them.  No floaters. Can’t wait until next week.

 

 

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Black Lake, BBC 4, 9pm, 9.40 pm, Directors: Jonathan Sjoberg, David Berron, Peter Arrhenius.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081clh5

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0821s1b

 

I watched episodes one and two of Black Lake last night. I’ll be following the other six episodes. I’m a bit of a Wallander anorak, loved wooly jumpers and The Killing, so a Swedish thriller with subtitles is a must see. A group of friends meet and drive to the Black Lake hotel complex, a remote ski resort that is so near the Norwegian border they joke they’re not even sure they’ve crossed it. Johan (Filip Berg)  is the young, hip financier that plans to make a killing on the land and property and takes his friends along for the ride. His girlfriend and later fiancée, Hanne (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina) who look like a young Winona Ryder isn’t sure about the hotel, isn’t sure about the noises coming from the basement and therefore isn’t sure about him. Her sister Mette (Mathilde Norholt) who is doctor ask Hanne if she’s still taking her meds. Their brother drowned when Hanne was twelve and she has never got over it. She’s off-kilter as some of the locals. The caretaker Erkki (Nils Ole Oftebro), for example, refuses to open the cellar door and threatens to punch the putative owner Johan when the latter gets a bit stroppy and challenges his lame excuses for doing nothing. Then there’s the appearance of those strange children’s drawings (a dramatic device I used in my novel (Lily Poole https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lily-Poole-Jack-ODonnell/dp/1783522356) and the way Jessan (Aliette Opheim) suffers from mysterious pains in her bloodshot eye, sleepwalks and is drawn to the cellar door. Her boyfriend,  Frank (Philip Oros) seems powerless to help when she sleepwalks and when she becomes possessed by drugs or something more malevolent. Nobody can offer any answers. Osvald (Victor von Schirach) cook and bottle- washer in the hotel complex is filmed entering the cellar, but he claims he too sleepwalks and has no recollection of it. He also claims to have no knowledge of another party making a bid for the complex, but Johan doesn’t trust him. The key to what happened twenty years ago is the local Lippi (Valter Skarsgard).  He’s nearer in age to Hanne that the distant Johan and teaches her to ride a motorised snow-ski. It doesn’t take much delving to uncover the facts and guess they’ll get together. Here we are in Stephen King’s The Shining territory. Isolated hotel. Hannah’s psychic presence and the backstory of murders that took place in the hotel when it first opened. Father, mother, and children, holding hands as they were all smothered. An open and shut case.  Helgesen (Christian Skolmen) is shown confessing to the crimes on an old betaxam tapes Hannah watches and replays. Then she spots it. He said something made him do it. The hotel is built on the grounds of an old mental sanatorium. Local myth is that murdered children return to capture souls. Johan is also captured kissing Elin (Anna Astrom) by Hanna’s sister. He’ll be punished for his sins.