Search - Shades of Darkness - Six Mysterious Tales of the Paranormal on DVD

Shades of Darkness - Six Mysterious Tales of the Paranormal
Shades of Darkness - Six Mysterious Tales of the Paranormal
Actors: Kate Harper, Michael Shannon, Penelope Lee, John Grillo, Meg Ritchie
Directors: John Glenister, Peter Hammond, Simon Langton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     5hr 18min

One of the most intriguing mysteries is whether or not there is another plane of existence beyond our own. Shades of Darkness delves into the world of the supernatural with six bizarre, inexplicable and frightening ghost s...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Kate Harper, Michael Shannon, Penelope Lee, John Grillo, Meg Ritchie
Directors: John Glenister, Peter Hammond, Simon Langton
Creators: Alfred Shaughnessy, Derek Mahon, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Bowen, Ken Taylor
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 12/05/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 5hr 18min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Katie H. from BROOKLYN, NY
Reviewed on 1/1/2009...
Delve into the world of the supernatural in this series of bizarre and inexplicable tales adapted from ghost stories by such prominent authors as Edith Wharton and Elizabeth Bowen. Hugh Grant and Miranda Richardson are among the fine actors starring in these chilling mysteries of haunted estates, ghostly cries in the night and undying love from the grave.

The Lady's Maid Bell, Edith Wharton
Afterward, Edith Wharton
The Maze, CHB Kitchin
Bewitched, Edith Wharton
The Intercessor, Mary Sinclair
The Demon Lover, Elizabeth Bowen
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Hit or miss series--more hits than misses
Kenneth Williams | Richmond, Virginia United States | 01/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I'd been wanting to see this series for years and now (most of) it's finally on DVD. Very gloomy, shot on-location ghosts stories: decaying country houses, seaside graveyards, muddy roads, but all done with the utmost respect for the material and the genre. I actually haven't watched the final tale ("The Demon Lover") yet.

The story "The Maze" left me indifferent, and has an embarrassingly directed sex/wood-cutting scene, and lots of that awful tinkly piano music that's supposed to sound suspenseful. This is NOT characteristic of the other tales, whose music is much more appropriate and less distracting. The acting is actually quite good, but I just couldn't get into it. Even the hedge maze is disappointing--more like a halfhearted smattering of old bushes. Oh well.

"Afterward" is excellent (I'm quite a fan of the Edith Wharton tale): perfect location, period detail, just the right moodiness, smartly underused musical scoring, etc. The woman who plays the main character is outstanding, and we get a real sense of her choking, mute dread--the devastating truth she's unable to articulate or fully understand. The actor who plays her husband is stiff but serves his purpose and disappears soon enough.

"The Intercessor" and "Bewitched" are both beautifully done, BEAUTIFULLY acted, and more emotionally involving than might seem possible with ghost stories. I was really impressed. Eileen Atkins OWNS her role, and makes it something deeply ambiguous. These tales aren't really about ghosts; they're about the trials of the living, for which the ghosts provide poignant counterpoint. (Note: One of these two tales is so brilliantly told you might not even realize there's no ghost in it!).

"The Lady Maid's Bell." Not the strongest of the tales, but very atmospheric. As the first on the lineup it provides a nice prolog to the others, establishing mood and tone. And I enjoyed the ambiguous ending.

As stated in another review, the pacing of these six mini-movies is rather slow, but not too slow. We're allowed to absorb and contemplate the environments, and get the sense that the characters are moving through actual time, not skipping from one jarringly edited scene to the next. If you long for the days when you first read Poe, if you remember most fondly not Halloween itself but the bleak quiet weeks leading up to it, when you explored that old barn in the meadow or made up ghost stories around the fire, believing every word, these DVDs are for you.

"Shades of Darkness (1983) ... Granada Television... Koch Vi
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 02/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Koch Vision present "SHADES OF DARKNESS" (1983) (318 mins/Color) (Dolby Digital) --- This set contains six episodes of Shades of Darkness on two discs ... a series of adaptations of classic ghost stories by Granada Television from the 1980s ... with some of the top authors Elizabeth Bowen, C.H.B. Kitchin, May Sinclair and Edith Wharton ... mixed with ghostly cries in the night and chilling mysteries left unsaid ... witness undying love from beyond the grave within this bizarre series of unexplainable tales ... they are excellent adaptations of high quality ghost stories.

1. "The Lady's Maid's Bell" (1985) ... Under John Glenister (Director), Edith Wharton (story), Kenneth Taylor (screenplay) --- the cast includes Joanna David (Miss Hartley), June Brown (Emma Saxon), Norma West (Mrs. Brympton) ------ the story line thus far, Miss Hartley arrives at Brympton Hall to be the lady's maid for Mrs. Brympton, who has a heart condition. She hears nothing but good reports about the prior lady's maid, Emma Saxon, who died a year ago after serving her mistress for 20 years A figure that seems to be watching and waiting, for what purpose?

2. "Afterward" (1985) ... Under Simon Langton (Director), Edith Wharton (novel), Alfred Shaughnessy (screenplay) --- the cast includes Kate Harper (Mary Boyne), Michael Shannon (Edward Boyne), Penelope Lee (Alida Stair), John Grillo (Harold Parvis), Meg Ritchie (Trimmle), Rolf Saxon (Robert Elwell), William Abney (Inspector Gates), Merelina Kendall (Agnes), Arthur Whybrow (Mr. Craig), Eric Francis (Cooper) ------ the story line Kate Harper and Michael J. Shannon as the quintessential late Victorian couple, living in Wisconsin, they have just come into a huge cash windfall on a stock deal, they retire early to England, buying an antiquated country estate which is supposed to have strange goings on, a visit by a mysterious stranger that the husband seems to recognize but afterward denies it, the wife is left with a growing dread that eventually culminates in tragedy, what dark secret is about to be uncovered? ------ [suspenseful story with an above average cast and performance]

3. "The Maze" (1985) ... Under Peter Hammond (Director), C.H.B. Kitchin (short story), Kenneth Taylor (screenplay) --- the cast includes Francesca Annis (Catherine Frode), James Bolam (Arthur Frode), Sky Macaskill (Daisy Frode), Amanda Boxer (Mrs. Levett), Nellie Hanham (Mrs. Wright), Duncan Preston (Fred Harston), Philip Sayer (Mervyn Barbet), Daniel Selby ------ the story line a slightly repressed housewife during the post-war years in England, with a secret she has kept from her daughter, the house, a large old Victorian place with rambling gardens, has a hedge maze on the grounds, the daughter is drawn to the maze, and we slowly see what secret the mother is hiding ------ [please note, this is the best of the six stories]

4. "Bewitched" (1985) ... Under John Gorrie (Director), Edmund Oboler (Director), Edith Wharton (story), Alan Plater (screenplay) --- the cast includes Eileen Atkins (Mrs. Rutledge), Alfred Burke (Reverend Hibben), Mary Healey (Loretta Bosworth), Martyn Hesford (Andrew), Alfred Lynch (Saul Rutledge), Mary Jo Randle (The Girl), Ray Smith (Sylvester Brand), Gareth Thomas (Owen Bosworth) --- the story line has a young girl who was thought to be a witch dancing around the beach, the funny thing is she's dead ... a minster from the village is looking into her and the villagers past to come up with the answer ... will he find out and let her soul and spirit have a final resting place?

5. "The Intercessor" (1983) ... Under Peter Smith (Director), May Sinclair (story), Alan Plater (script) --- the cast includes Chrissie Cotterill (Rachel), John Duttine (Garvin), Maggie Ford (Mrs. Falshaw), David Hargreaves (Mr. Falshaw), Peter Hughes (MacKinnon), Annette Wilkie-Miller (Child) --- the story line has a writer who needs peace and quiet for his writing ... a room in the country at a local farmhouse is the place or is it, a small child who is a ghost cries in the night and awakens him ... the ghost appears each night trying to tell him something, what dark secrets lay beyond this tale?

6. "The Demon Lover" (1986) ... Under Peter Hammond (Director), Elizabeth Bowen (story), Derek Mahon (screenplay) --- the cast includes Adrienne Corri (Delia Graham), John Fortune (Eric Farnham), Hugh Grant (Robert Drover), Robert Hardy (William Drover), Miranda Richardson (Gina), Angela Thorne (Mary Dash), Dorothy Tutin (Kathleen Drover), Amanda Waring (Young Kathleen), Arabella Weir (Anne Page) --- the story line is set in London during World War II, it revolves around the haunting of a married middle aged woman by the ghost of a sweetheart from her youth, a man presumed to have been killed in the First World War twenty five years earlier, .guest starring a very young Hugh Grant ... there Mrs. Drover discovers a letter, dated the present day, composed by a lover from the past who was presumed to have been killed in the previous world war ... will the past meet the future, only the final scene will tell.

Great job by Koch Vision for releasing "Shades of Darkness" (1983) - PBS Mystery, the digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more high quality releases from the BBC mini-series film market...order your copy now from Amazon or Koch Vision where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch drama mixed with an outstanding cast and director --- Six Mysterious Tales of the Paranormal.

Total Time: 318 mins on DVD ~ Koch Vision KOCV6430 ~ (12/05/2006)"
Understated Creepiness
John D. Cofield | 05/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Shades of Darkness is a British production which was shown in the US on PBS' "Mystery" about 1984. I enjoyed it then and waited anxiously but fruitlessly for a rerun, so I am glad that at last it is available on DVD.

Each segment of Shades of Darkness is about an hour long and is drawn from short stories by Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Bowen, and other luminaries. The scripts are literate and faithful to the original stories.

The most pleasing thing about these short films is their ability to create an atmosphere of creepiness mounting to horror without having to fall back on the old horror movie standbys of fanged monsters and bloodshed. These are stories of people going about their ordinary lives who gradually become aware of the presence of the supernatural. My favorite episode is "Afterward" by Edith Wharton, where the viewer, like the principal character, doesn't even recognize the ghost is a ghost when it appears.

If you are accustomed to seeing horror delivered through the blows of an axe or by screaming monsters you will find Shades of Darkness just as frightening but far more equivocal and intriguing."