First staged in Liverpool in 2010, the hit theater show Ghost Stories has so far enjoyed two long London runs plus detours to Toronto, Moscow, Sydney and beyond. Its multi-plot format pays homage to the golden age of portmanteau British horror films, from eerie Ealing Studios classics like Dead of Night to the campy low-budget shockers made by Amicus and Hammer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So there is a certain satisfying symmetry in seeing this affectionate celluloid facsimile finally reborn as a big-screen adaptation, which has just world-premiered at the London Film Festival.

Like its stage blueprint, Ghost Stories  was written and directed by longtime friends Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson. Nyman also plays a central role in an ensemble cast that includes Martin Freeman. Dyson is part of the U.K. comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen, whose eponymous BBC television show paid similarly fond tribute to vintage Brit-horror movies. The humor is more muted here but still a key part of the tonal mix, which skews more towards knowingly creepy pastiche than hammy parody.

Ghost Stories is a witty and well-crafted love letter to old-school horror tropes. Even if some local British references may get lost in translation, the film still has solid readymade appeal to genre-friendly fans and festivals, with the added commercial kick of Freeman’s marquee name. Lionsgate has picked up U.K. rights, and Altitude is selling the film internationally.

First staged in Liverpool in 2010, the hit theater show Ghost Stories has so far enjoyed two long London runs plus detours to Toronto, Moscow, Sydney and beyond. Its multi-plot format pays homage to the golden age of portmanteau British horror films, from eerie Ealing Studios classics like Dead of Night to the campy low-budget shockers made by Amicus and Hammer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So there is a certain satisfying symmetry in seeing this affectionate celluloid facsimile finally reborn as a big-screen adaptation, which has just world-premiered at the London Film Festival.

Like its stage blueprint, Ghost Stories  was written and directed by longtime friends Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson. Nyman also plays a central role in an ensemble cast that includes Martin Freeman. Dyson is part of the U.K. comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen, whose eponymous BBC television show paid similarly fond tribute to vintage Brit-horror movies. The humor is more muted here but still a key part of the tonal mix, which skews more towards knowingly creepy pastiche than hammy parody.

Ghost Stories is a witty and well-crafted love letter to old-school horror tropes. Even if some local British references may get lost in translation, the film still has solid readymade appeal to genre-friendly fans and festivals, with the added commercial kick of Freeman’s marquee name. Lionsgate has picked up U.K. rights, and Altitude is selling the film internationally.

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