Madeleine Marsh


Halloween and Horror

I love Halloween.  I love a good ghost story.  I love being scared in the safety of our lounge or at the cinema.  But I'm an old fashioned girl in some respects.  Give me a ramshackle haunted house over a modern day CCTV-filled apartment any day.  I like my horror to have a slow-build, an unsettling atmosphere, and while I love a good American slasher movie as much as the next girl, I don't need blood, gore and special effects to get a good scare on.  I don't need an animated puppet slowly pulling people apart or the face of Darth Maul appearing unexpectedly over the old psychic's shoulder.  I love gothic, the old Hammer Horror movies; paintings with roving eyes, secret passages and ghoulish apparitions rattling chains.  

When I was a kid, ITV made a series called Sapphire and Steel.  Some of you may remember it.  It starred David McCallum and Joanna Lumley, was written for the most part by P.J. Hammond and had some of the creepiest storylines and ideas I've seen brought to screen to this day.  Even now, over twenty years later, its lack of reliance on special effects means it hasn't dated and still requires every light in the house to be turned on after watching it!  The ghost of a WWI soldier caught in barbed wire at an abandoned railway station, an inescapable service station where time has stopped, and the subject of many a childhood nightmare - a man without a face who traps people in sepia photographs.  Nothing on screen has ever scared me more than this show and I still adore it.

I don't know why I'm writing this.  I needed a blog entry for the week and as the book's still in beta, the website's in progress and the cover's finished, I thought I'd give you all a tiny peek into some of my early influences.  And while I'm not convinced that allowing an eight year old to watch Sapphire & Steel before bed, or at any time in fact, was a great idea, I'm eternally grateful to my Mum and Dad for exposing me to these original scares before I reached teenage cynicism.  It helped make me the kind of writer I am today, believe it or not.

Last updated: 2013-08-25 13:09:09

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