Reviewed By: MTL
Review Date: 12/20/11 7:13 pm
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Each of the authors in this series have a very distinct style in what is generally regarded as a predictable genre. In this case, we have the works of M. R. James, who focused not on gore or shocks but creating an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. It is easy to read his work as just man verses supernatural forces but in fact these encounters reflect and react to discrepencies within man such as curiosity in the second story here. Someone has already made the comment that James is written in the style of someone telling you a story by a fireside at winter and it is true that Sachs as narrator perfectly captures this feeling.
Casting the Runes:
Argaubly his most famous story, it is suitably eerie and deeply unsettling as we learn very little about the being behind the horror. This is a beautiful example of how mere suggestion creates great horror and Sachs shows great awareness of this by not over exaggerating the characters, playing them as naturalistic as you can be in a story about cursed runes. Carter and Edwards are suitably muted, using music and sound effects to a minimal level allowing for genuine shocks such as a discovery (of sorts) under a pillow. While the ending may seem intially anti-climatic, it is imortant to consider the moral ambiguity of the characters as it is difficult to find a solid reason to justify their actions, again a testament to Sachs' acting by not portraying the protagonists as obvious heroes but as victims of circumstances beyond their control.
A Warning To The Curious:
More than any of the others, this is a story that best reflects the art of storytelling, and is a great opportunity for Sachs to further demonstrate his skills of drawing the audience in and keepting them enthralled. Not only does he ensure that the characters are all distinct (in every story) but the two different narrators are both very different characters but are also easy enough to listen to and so serve their function.
The Malice Of Inanimate Objects:
The shortest tale and easily the most disturbing. The two points are related as James' premise is a simple one but allows for some truly horrific moments. The opening sequence contains an impressive sequence of sound effects with a really horrible climax, and in combination with Sachs' matter-of-fact narration makes a very striking opening. However because of it's brevity the story isn't as captivating as the other stories but is an entertainingly gruesome 12 minutes.
A real mix of tones that makes a fantastic taster for James' stories of which I am now desperate to read more of.