Oh, for the love of God. Anyway, inbetween the very effective scares I got to thinking about the Victorians and ghosts and how representative The Woman in Black is of Victorian culture.
As I said in the last post, there is nothing I love more than a modern interpretation of Victorian culture. I love it so much I'm having a go at it myself. I remember the first time I read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and I couldn't believe how scared it made me. I think it was the first and possibly the last time I have been utterly terrified while reading. Ironically, the passage that scared the pants off me was not in the film (The bit with the dog in the fog), but that small, moving passage was so powerful that I had completely forgotten great big bits of the plot and denied they were in the book. Thinking about it, despite the child murdering, insane, revenge spirit doing her worst against Harry Potter, possibly what happens to the dog in the fog is too much for audiences.
For the Victorians, the ghost was a complicated symbol. They searched for them desperately, but feared them utterly.
|The Apparition John Everett Millais
|The Ghost John Everett Millais
|The Ghost of Banquo Theodore Chasseriau
|The Party on the Stairs Adelaide Claxton
|The Ghost Story Frederick Smallfield
|Study for The Haunted House Alfred Munnings
|Father and Son with the spirit of the departed wife and mother
Although we live longer than our ancestors (and definitely longer than most people in The Woman in Black) there is still the fear of how brief our lives can be, and what is the point in investing your everything in someone only to have them leave you. How comforting to think that they remain, unseen but not uncared for.
Go and see The Woman in Black, but go during the day and make sure your screen is packed with screaming teenagers. Really, it releases the tension, and all I have to say is that I will never look at a rocking chair in the same way ever again....