A Warning To The Curious: Ghost Stories At Christmas


This Christmas, we present A Warning To The Curious: Ghost Stories At Christmas, a short season of films inspired by M R James and Charles Dickens.

Carol McKay, Deputy Director of Programming at Picturehouse, talks us through how the season came together, working in collaboration with Roger Clarke (film critic and author of A Natural History of Ghost). Find out more.

Dates vary at participating cinemas. Explore the season by selecting a title below or scroll to the bottom of the page and select your local Picturehouse.

 Special Events

Check back for new additions to the season in the near future.

Sunday 18 December | Caroline Garden’s Chapel, Peckham, 6.00

Picturehouse Pop Up Presents It Follows (15)



A very special Pop Up cinema event in the stunning Caroline Garden’s Chapel, Peckham.

Director: David Robert Mitchell.
Starring: Maika Monroe, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary. USA 2014. 100 mins.

Jay (Maika Monroe, THE GUEST) and her friends must try to escape the menacing visions and paranoia tormenting them all in director David Robert Mitchell’s deliciously frightening lo-fi horror, with startling twists in the best tradition of early John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN).

Wednesday 21 December | Select cinemas.

The Signalman + Whistle And I’ll Come To You (PG)


A rare screening of two classics film the BBC’s Ghost Story For Christmas strand. An extended introduction precedes the 1976 adaptation of Charles’ Dickens The Signalman and the 1968 adptation of M R James Whistle and I’ll Come To You.

Regular Strands

Sunday 27 November

Blood On Satan’s Claw (18)


vintage-sundaysDirector: Piers Haggard.
Starring: Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, Michele Dotrice. UK 1971. 97 mins. 

Unjustly neglected for decades, Blood On Satan’s Claw is now widely hailed as a creepy gem in the folk-horror vein of Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man.

Saturday 3 December

Paranorman (PG)


Kids-Club-roundelDirectors: Chris Butler, Sam Fell.

Voices: Kodi Smit-McPhee, John Goodman, Leslie Mann. USA 2012. 93 mins.

In breathtaking and innovative 3D animation, PARANORMAN tells of a town besieged by zombies. The only hope of salvation is young Norman, a character voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Boy in THE ROAD) who can talk to the living dead. But soon even his supernatural powers are entertainingly stretched to their limits.

Sunday 4 December

Night Of The Demon (PG)


vintage-sundaysDirector: Jacques Tourneur.
Starring: Dana Andrews, Niall MacGinnis, Peggy Cummins. UK 1957. 91 mins.

Legendary for such 1940s fantasy/horror thrillers as I Walked With A Zombie and Cat People, French-born director Jacques Tourneur returned to form in the mid-1950s with this eerie tale based on M. R. James’s story Casting The Runes.

From Friday 9 December | Select cinemas, dates vary.

Drag Me To Hell (15)


Culture Shock roundel-01Director: Sam Raimi.
Starrimg: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver. USA 2009. 99 mins.

Director Raimi (SPIDER-MAN trilogy, EVIL DEAD series) returns to the horror genre with a bang in DRAG ME TO HELL, an original tale of a young woman’s desperate quest to break an evil curse.

From Saturday 10 December | Select cinemas, dates vary.

It Follows (15)

Culture Shock roundel-01Director: David Robert Mitchell.
Starring: Maika Monroe, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary. USA 2014. 100 mins.

Jay (Maika Monroe, THE GUEST) and her friends must try to escape the menacing visions and paranoia tormenting them all in director David Robert Mitchell’s deliciously frightening lo-fi horror, with startling twists in the best tradition of early John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN).

Saturday 10 December

The Witches (PG)


Director: Nicolas Roeg.
Cast: Angelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Jane Horrocks, Rowan Atkinson and Brenda Blethyn. UK 1990. English. 87 minutes.

Cult filmmaker Nicolas Roeg conjures a creepy cinema classic from Road Dahl’s famous story. When Luke’s parents die, his grandmother Helga looks after him. Staying in a seaside hotel, Luke overhears the Grand High Witch plan to turn all the children of England into mice.

Sunday 11 December

Scrooge (PG)



Director: Brian Desmond-Hurst.
Starring: Alastair Sim, George Cole, Michael Hordern. UK 1951. 86 mins.

Could anything be sweeter than a taste of Christmas humbug? Alastair Sim is the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge in this evergreen tale of greed, ghosts and goodwill. 

Tuesday 13 December

Under The Shadow (15)



Director: Babak Anvari.
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi. Iran/Jordan/Qatar/UK 2016. 84 mins. Persian with English subtitles.

Babak Anvari’s outstanding, Oscar long-listed debut is a chilling ghost story set in war-torn ’80s Tehran. Shideh and her young daughter Dorsa are holed up in their apartment. After an air raid Dorsa begins seeing frightening images. Anvari cites M. R. James as a key influence.

Saturday 17 December

The Muppet Christmas Carol (U)



Director: Brian Henson.
Starring: Michael Caine. USA 1992. 86 mins.

The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic Charles Dickens’ tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday 20 December

Dark Water (15)



Director: Hideo Nakata.
Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Fumiyo Kohinata, Asami Mizukawa. Japan 2002. 101 mins. Japanese with English subtitles.

A rare screening of perhaps one of the greatest ghost films of all time. Forced by divorce to move into a shabby apartment block, Yoshimi and her six-year-old daughter Ikuko begin to find hairs in their drinking water. Then Yoshimi starts to glimpse what may be the spirit of a missing child. A chillingly effective supernatural yarn from the masterful Nakata (Ring).

Find your cinema…

Clapham Picturehouse

Crouch End Picturehouse

East Dulwich Picturehouse and Café

Greenwich Picturehouse

Hackney Picturehouse

Picturehouse Central, London’s West End

Ritzy, Brixton

Stratford Picturehouse, London

Little Theatre Cinema, Bath

Picturehouse at National Media Museum, Bradford

Duke of York’s, Brighton

Duke’s at Komedia, Brighton

Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge

Cameo, Edinburgh

Exeter Picturehouse

Regal Picturehouse, Henley-on-Thames

Cinema City, Norwich

Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool

Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford

Harbour Lights, Southampton

Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse

City Screen, York

One thought on “A Warning To The Curious: Ghost Stories At Christmas

  1. Some great films here, and a really well curated season of films. However, such a shame that two of the best (Witches, and Muppet Christmas Carol) are open to children and their carers only. It would have been great to be able to see those ones. Ah well,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s