Stories that inspired M.R. James

Twelve tales of terror recommended by the master of the genre!

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Episode 63 – Christmas Re-union by Sir Andrew Caldecott

December 21, 2017 | Episodes | Comments (7)

Sir Andrew CaldecottHo ho ho! We have a festive cracker of an episode for you this month (literally), as Mike and Will explore Sir Andrew Caldecott’s M.R. James-inspired tale, ‘Christmas Re-union‘.

A big thank you to Tony Mears, who provided the readings for this episode. Check out his bands new track ‘A Hypothermia Banquet‘ on Bandcamp!

Story notes:


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  1. Nick W says:

    Thanks guys. Hopefully another podcast is due this Xmas

  2. A Rat In The Wall says:

    I thought this was a nice little story, gentle is a fine description. Definitely the kind of story where it’s more horrible upon reflection. I personally think the Santa was, well, not exactly a ghost, I think it was more in line with the Jamesian tactile ghost, one of those awful all-too-physical apparitions. Specifically, I think it was Joy himself come back to get revenge on whatever Love did to him in the bush. I totally accept that it was going around doing admin, because it wasn’t necessarily a spirit, but some foul revenant possessed of spooky powers. I also like the View From A Hill comparison, I didn’t even think of it, but it’s very similar.

    And Will! The Christopher Lee readings are on DVD, they’re extras on the BFI Ghost Stories for Christmas collection from a while back. Also, no Lee readings, but they released, either as a separate disc or as part of the re-released collection (I have it as it’s own box), cozy little readings by Robert Powell, that disc also contains extras of Michael Bryant of ‘Abbot Thomas’ fame doing some semi-dramatized readings as well!

  3. Luke says:

    As an Australian fan of you guys, hearing a ghost story partly set in Australia was quite odd….yet delightful too. Merry Christmas Will and Mike.

  4. Redwald says:

    This story really didn’t work for me, not a patch on James’ tales. I did think there is a hint of ‘A School Story’, the ‘victim’ is killed by a vengeful spectre whose death the victim was responsible for in someway in the past, it even has the ghost sending messages to the victim prior to his meeting his ultimate fate.

  5. Paxton's Spade says:

    Always nice to discover a new story but fairly tame stuff, I’m not sure that I got the same threat or physical dragging away of the victim that we get with Fanshawe in A View from a Hill. I liked the humour of the admin discussion and also found the ties to earthly constraints (cancelling the scheduled santa and dumping the costume) slightly off kilter. I have several Richard Dolby edited Christmas compendiums as referenced, not specifically ghost stories (Chillers for Christmas, Horror at Christmas) and while many are fairly limp, have tenuous seasonal links or were amateur competition winners, by far the best ghost tale I’ve found with a festive thread is Christmas Eve on a Haunted Hulk by Frank Cowper.

  6. Joyce says:

    L.P. Hartley’s story “A Visitor from Down Under” (1926) seems another likely ancestor of this tale.

  7. Sally says:

    I loved this story! Re: the Xmas cracker motif, it made me think of an Xmas episode of Midsomer Murders (aptly titled “Ghosts of Christmas Past) where the murderer substituted a very sinister motto which had his 2 guilt ridden victims squirming in their seats!

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