Sunday, 8 November 2015

Stone tapes, terrifying meterorites and slap-bass jazz odysseys

It's been doing 'the rounds' on a lot of listings and blogs, so I make no pretence about being first-in here, but the BBC has broadcast a new radio version of Nigel Kneale's The Stone Tape. Interestingly the producers chose to keep the tale set in the 1970s so the casual sexism is now a deliberate, strong theme (while the casual racism of the original has been excised). While it's a solid piece of spooky radio drama with a good human edge, it lacks the sheer bloody terror that the television original conjured up.

By happenstance I also listened to a reading of Lovecraft's The Colour Out Of Space. By contrast this tale doesn't rely on any sudden shocks - indeed, it's told in retrospect by the first person narrator. I found myself more terrified by the creeping, infectious horror in this than by the BBC radio play. The 'colour' gradually consumes a family of hapless farmers and it's thoroughly unsettling to watch them be progressively decimated.

I've also been rewatching a bit of The Mighty Boosh comedy series. I love the way that bizarre, grotesque characters like the Crack Fox and the Hitcher are updates to classic urban myth folklore. I have to say this timing wasn't great, as Julian Barratt (AKA Howard Moon) appears in the aforementioned The Stone Tape and I had a growing expectation that his character would suggest listening to some 'slap-bass oddysey' as a remedy to the group's ills.

You've got about a month left to catch The Stone Tape radio adaption here. Below is the reading of the Lovecraft tale.

2 comments:

  1. Coincidentally, I just saw a brilliant adaptation of the Colour Out of Space on the Underwhelming Lovecraft tumblr, in his distinctive sketchy pen and ink style: http://40.media.tumblr.com/056616f5698e0ac635416bd3b9d58024/tumblr_nkg5taHLP31tax48mo1_1280.jpg

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  2. Thanks 2501. That comic is pretty ace, but it took me a moment to connect it to the 'what colour is the dress?' story from earlier this year. I can see a whole slew of Lovecraft-in-a-page spoofs right now. "You mean my ancestor was burned as a witch? Wow, let me dig into his work right now. What can possibly go wrong... oh."

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