As a fan of Ghost stories I have a great love of British author M. R. James' haunting short fiction. I have to admit that I first encountered his work in adapted form years ago when I saw the fantastic CURSE/NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1958). That film is a version of his brilliant story 'Casting the Runes' and its power is almost overwhelming making it one of the best horror films of the 1950s. If you've never seen the film I implore you to give it a try.
You would think that a movie experience that profound would have sent me in search of James' original work but it wasn't until I saw an adaptation of another of his tales that I finally woke up. This was one of the BBC Ghost Stories For Christmas produced between 1971 and 1978. The story was A Warning to the Curious and I was chilled to the bone by the incredibly effective sense of creeping, almost paralyzing terror the film elicited from me. At this point I sought out a collection of the author's stories and I've been reading and re-reading them ever since.
As you might expect, I am not alone in my appreciation for M. R. James and I have finally discovered a fine podcast that focuses on his work. A Podcast to the Curious is hosted by two fine English gents who seem committed to digging deeply into each James story to both celebrate his genius and pull apart the narrative in search of hidden nuggets of wonder. Here is their description of the show--
A Podcast to the Curious is the only podcast dedicated to the weird fiction of M.R. James!
Each episode your humble hosts Will Ross and Mike Taylor will be tackling a different M.R James story, providing a commentary on the story and discussing its themes and form interlaced with readings from the story. Along the way we hope to include discussion on stage, screen and radio adaptations of James’ stories, information on James’ life and interests as well as on the legions of authors who were inspired by him.
I've listened to the most recent two shows and I can already tell that I'm going to have to download and check out each and every one. If you have an interest in good tales of ghostly happenings in stately British surroundings then I recommend you read James' fiction and check out this podcast for fine discussion afterward. One enhances the other- at least for me.