"The English accord the holidays with a sensible emotional treatment: fear and dread. There is a place for joy, cheer, goodwill, etc., but the English storytelling tradition acknowledges that horror is an appropriate state of mind for this time of year. To that end we’ll feature a week of creepy stories to celebrate the Ho-Ho-Horror of the season.
The opening pages of Susan Hill’s novel are cozy and comfortable. A happy family is gathered about the fire on Christmas Eve, the snow falling gently outside. But right at the best part of the evening, when the family members start to tell ghost stories, an aging Arthur Kipps abruptly makes his leave; the others might enjoy festive ghost stories, but Kipps finds himself reflecting on a dark secret from his past. . . . Though published in 1983, this shivery ghost story has the classic feel of a Gothic thriller. Susan Hill slowly builds suspense as she reveals clues about the desolate English manor, the twin tragedies of a child’s death and his mother’s suffering, and the vengeful rage of a spirit who cannot rest. Just when the reader thinks it is safe to breathe, Hill throws in a terrifying plot twist to ratchet up the horror. With such a deliciously malevolent storyline, it’s no surprise that we’ll be seeing the novel adapted into a 2011 film, to be directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe as Kipps."