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      The Stone Tape

      1972 1h 30m Mystery & Thriller List
      Reviews 64% Audience Score 250+ Ratings While working on a revolutionary project, a man (Michael Bryant), his former girlfriend (Jane Asher) and other team members encounter a ghost. Read More Read Less

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      The Stone Tape

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      Critics Reviews

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      Eddie Harrison …it may have a lo-fi production, but plenty of big ideas have made The Stone Tape a deserved cult classic… Rated: 4/5 Jan 4, 2023 Full Review Mark R. Leeper At one time Kneale was a font of new ideas, but this play is mostly a reworking of some of the ideas from the much superior QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. Rated: 6/10 Jul 30, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Roadrunner Absolute early seventies classic. The then fashionable computer typeface. The beginnings of the rise of Japanese commerce spreading westward. The incredible paucity of technological equipment then available compared to today's ‘taken for granted" technology. It feels modern despite that. The cast is driven by three main characters, Michael Bryant, Jane Asher and Iain Cuthbertson. The film retains a scary edge especially the end. To my way of thinking this is not remotely a corny sci fi scare in any way. At the time of its release it would have been a powerful film. As is the case with all classics, it still retains the power to grab and hold you. The soundtrack and slightly awkward camera angles simply accentuate the mood. Janes Asher adds a powerful layer of psycho drama which plays well with Brock's fanatical desire to make a commercial technological breakthrough. A very good film indeed. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review Matthew B Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of The Stone Tape is that it seeks to provide a rational and scientific explanation for ghostly phenomena while maintaining an atmosphere of mystery and fear. The story was written by Nigel Kneale, who was a sceptic about supernatural forces. He did not necessarily believe that ghosts do not exist, but he felt that they could be explained rationally. Confronted by a ghost, Peter Brock (Michael Bryant) describes it in these terms: "Let's just say it's a mass of data awaiting interpretation". He tells his researchers, "Let's cut out all the loaded words. Ghost … spook … apparition … phantom, because they get in the way of considering the evidence scientifically". Nonetheless The Stone Tape has an ominous and eerie feel to it. Kneale recognised that while humans may be able to use their powers of reason to explain the world, there are nonetheless elements that are still beyond our understanding and control, and that these may pose a threat to us. The Stone Tape was made by the BBC in the 1970s as a Christmas ghost story, and broadcast on Christmas Day. It shares some of the common faults of BBC shows during that period. The production values are low. The sets, camerawork, directing, editing, acting and special effects are not as good as they could be if more money and time had been invested in making the show. Some aspects of the production have dated too – the old-fashioned hairstyles, polyesters, flared trousers and cheerful racism, for example. There are many good aspects to the programme however, and these outweigh the flaws. While there is little in the way of a music score, the opening credits play a low effect like an ominous hum that recalls the computers, but also gives a sense of something lurking beneath the surface of the consciousness. Jane Asher is a believable lead star. What really makes The Stone Tape great however is Nigel Kneale's intelligent script. It harks back to a day when programme makers and audiences were not afraid of shows that were talky and full of ideas, rather than soap operas punctuated by a series of quick jolts of action. The Stone Tape was a modest production in many ways, but its ideas seep into the mind and create a sense of unease. It proved to be an influence on John Carpenter (in his film Prince of Darkness) and Tobe Hooper (when he was making Poltergeist). Kneale's story reminds us that finding rational explanations for that which frightens us do not remove our blind fears. I wrote a longer appreciation of The Stone Tape on my blog page if you would like to read more: Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 09/18/23 Full Review P F By a strange coincidence, I had planned to see The Stone Tape at Halloween but kept putting it off until now. I didn't realise of course that not only was this tale of scientific interference shown on Christmas Day but that my viewing of it was on the story's 50th anniversary year. You couldn't make that up yet neither could we imagine the response to what seemed like a spooky tale by the BBC. What I mean is that the film had a significant influence on media to the point that the theory of a natural environment recording someone's image became known as The Stone Tape Theory. The idea of scientists studying the supernatural was later revisited in films such as Poltergeist (1982) and Prince of Darkness (1987); films inspired by Nigel Kneale's 1972 classic. I am happy to say The Stone Tape will continue to leave an imprint of popularity for years to come. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/24/22 Full Review Audience Member Despite the non-existant budget and occasionally overblown acting, I felt this had something going for it, probably something in the script. There are some interesting ideas at the core and the dialogue is well written. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member Brilliant, clever sci-fi/ghost story from the mind of Nigel Kneale. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/24/23 Full Review Audience Member From the writer of the Quatermass series, this BBC telemovie charts similar territory, focused on a group of scientists and electronics experts trying to "define" a ghost by way of the data collected about her and/or to discover a new recording medium (which just might be as ancient as the foundation of the haunted building itself). None of the characters are particularly appealing but some interesting ideas are tossed around. Your mileage may depend on your tolerance for out-dated fashion and special effects. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Stone Tape

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis While working on a revolutionary project, a man (Michael Bryant), his former girlfriend (Jane Asher) and other team members encounter a ghost.
      Peter Sasdy
      Nigel Kneale
      Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Mar 29, 2017
      1h 30m
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