Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ghost stories from the Pickwick Papers

Before you read today's first countdown to Halloween post (there may be a second one), please read (and if you wish comment) the first part of this original Halloween story. Only on this blog. But right now, I would like to make you discover some ghost stories by Charles Dickens, from The Pickwick Papers. Which I have not read yet, as I read very little of Dickens. A shame, as he wrote some amazing ghost stories, which I truly rediscovered recently (see this post and that one). I guess now they have been obscured with his most famous ghost story, A Christmas Carol. Because yes, it belongs to the genre. Ghost stories have been a Victorian tradition, published and read around Christmastime. You see this influence in one of the tales in the Pickwick Papers. But I digress...

About two decades ago, when I was a child still unable to understand more than a few words in English and not being allowed watch horror movies because of an overprotective mother (my father was a bit more liberal regarding this), my brothers and I once stumbled upon this animated adaptation of the ghost stories told in Dickens novels. It was a weekend afternoon in October, I was desperately seeking to find scary stories, in book or movie form or whatever, to get myself in the mood for Halloween. It was on an English speaking channel, so we understood very little. We only watched the second half of the program, so we missed the first story and the first half of the second. We did understand that the second one was a tragedy, with the main character falling in love with a lady ghost, unable to fulfill his love before his death. And the second one had an uncanny resemblance to A Christmas Carol (in fact, it was its prototype). Which made me like it less, although I did find the goblins spooky. And the second story had plenty of adventures against angry, prone to fight ghosts, so this was the most exciting one for us, not unlike our Halloween game. In a way, not knowing English made us enjoy it more. The first one, I discovered later on, was a parody of ghost story. Not a proper horror story, although there are the classic scary tropes, as they end up deconstructed by a rather smart protagonist.

I rediscovered them years later on YouTube, thanks to PJ. You can find the first part here. As it is divided in six parts, I will not upload them on Vraie Fiction. Instead, I will give you the trailer, which gives you a pretty good idea of what will come. It is not the best animation, far from it, but it has nevertheless plenty of atmosphere and certainly worth a watch. Enjoy.


PJ said...

C'était une mémoire très vague, de la fin de semaine du changement d'heure du temps qu'on changeait en octobre. Je me rappelait essentiellement de la scène où le gars tué se transforme en squelette devant le feu de foyer, puis en poussière. L'histoire de Gabriel Grub, c'est un souvenir qui m'est revenu, le spectre qui sortait de la pierre tombale, ça aussi je l'avais dans un recoin de ma mémoire. L'animation et le jeu des acteurs est assez ordinaire, mais l'atmosphère est là.

The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

How neat that you could find this video so long after you'd seen them as a child. I'm sure it brought back good Halloween memories of the stories and games you played with your brother that fostered your fondness for the holiday!