Event Information:

  • Tue

    Ghost Stories of an Antiquary: An Evening of Yuletide Terror

    8:00 pmBar Le Ritz PDB, Montreal Canada

    Too Many Christmas Trees

    Ghost Stories of an Antiquary:  An Evening of Yuletide Terror
    presented by Kier-La Janisse

    For many, Christmas is an annual celebration of goodwill and joy, but for others, it’s a time to curl up on the couch in the dead of winter for a good old fashioned fright. The festive holiday season has always included a more somber side, and scary tales of child-stealing demons to ghost stories told ‘round the fireplace go back to pre-Christian celebrations. These long-standing traditions have found modern expression in the Christmas horror film, a unique and sometimes controversial subgenre that cheerfully drives a stake of holly through the heart of cherished Christmas customs.

    To celebrate the release of Spectacular Optical’s new book Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television, contributor Kier-La Janisse will present a trio of short subjects in the moody British tradition of seasonal terror tales, providing insight on these subversive film and television presentations that allow viewers to engage in different ways with the complicated cultural history of the Christmas season.


    Introduction by Kier-La Janisse

    A Ghost Story for Christmas: “Lost Hearts”
    Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark | UK | 1973 | 35mins

    Based on an M.R. James story featured in his 1904 collection Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, “Lost Hearts” was the fan favourite of the BBC’s seminal holiday series A Ghost Story for Christmas (1971-1978). Simon Gipps-Kent plays a young orphan named Stephen who is whisked away to the sprawling country estate of a supposed distant relative, Mr Abney (Joseph O’Conor), an eccentric old doctor who is revealed to be an alchemist looking for the key to immortality by experimenting on young children. The ghosts of Stephen’s two predecessors attempt to warn him, their presence signaled by the haunting hurdy-gurdy music the episode is now famous for.

    We Always Find Ourselves in the Sea
    Director: Sean Hogan | UK | 2017 | 20mins

    A lonely recluse prepares to celebrate Christmas alone when a figure from his past unexpectedly reappears. But are the old ghosts stirred up by her arrival just bad memories or something more? In this windswept tribute to the classic English ghost stories of M.R. James and the 1970s A Ghost Story for Christmas series they spawned, writer/director Sean Hogan reteams with his co-producers on Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD (2014) and The Devil’s Business (2011) star Billy Clarke to bring this Christmas horror short made especially to coincide with the Yuletide Terror book.

    The Avengers: “Too Many Christmas Trees”
    Roy Ward Baker | UK | 1965 | 52mins

    Prior to his stint directing for Hammer and Amicus studios, genre fave Roy Ward Baker was paired with prolific writer of TV espionage Tony Williamson for this nightmarish Christmas episode of classic British spy-fi series The Avengers. This sinister seasonal episode opens in British intelligence officer John Steed’s (Patrick Macnee) dream, in which he is taunted by a deformed Santa and stumbles upon the corpse of an old colleague. Upon waking he remarks to Mrs. Peel (Diana Rigg) that his friend was “dead as a doornail”—this reference to A Christmas Carol just the first hint at the episode’s Dickensian obsessions. Steed finds that his dream was premonitory; when Mrs. Peel whisks him away to a holiday weekend at the stately home of a rich book publisher, he finds everything in his dream to be coming true. Director Roy Ward Baker’s knack for horror comes through, and subverted Christmas imagery abounds in this surreal and unsettling episode. (Kier-La Janisse)


    Free Admission

    Bar Le Ritz PDB Website