The Ash Tree (1975 short)

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Summary

A man of leisure unexpectedly inherits an ancient English country estate with an unfortunate history: the house has been cursed since the day his ancestor condemned a woman to death for witchcraft. It is soon discovered that the ancient ash tree outside his bedroom window is the root of the problem....

Details

Scene from "The Ash Tree (1975 short)"...
  • Release Date: 1975
  • Country/Language: UK, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror (Folk Horror)
  • Setting: Gaslight UK
  • Runtime: 32 min
  • Starring: Edward Petherbridge, Preston Lockwood, Barbara Ewing
  • Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark
  • Writer: M.R. James (story), David Rudkin (adaptation)
  • Producer/Production Co: Rosemary Hill, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • IMDB Page: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: not rated (approximately a PG-13 for brief Nudity and horror content)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • SS___ (Two Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone)

The Gothic horror themes and weird monsters might easily have come from the pen of Lovecraft, and no doubt helped inspire Lovecraft's modernized brand of Gothic horror....

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

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Synopsis (SPOILERS)

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A man of leisure unexpectedly inherits an ancient English country estate with an unfortunate history: the house has been cursed since the day his ancestor condemned a woman to death for witchcraft. It is soon discovered that the ancient ash tree outside his bedroom window is the root of the problem: tree, its roots entangled in the bones of the witch executed in its limbs and buried beneath it, has become the home to a deadly nest of unnatural spiders....


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes

  • As is often the case for M.R. James stories, this one might lend itself rather well to a variation on "The Haunting (aka The Haunted House) (Scenario)" with just a swap of setting and monsters (and, of course, some custom hand-outs).... In this case, the investigators are called to help the heir to a cursed mansion, whose ancestors have died one by one under mysterious circumstances for generations, with clues pointing toward an ash tree outside the window of the main bedroom, and its sinister history with a witch hanged by the land-owner's ancestors in its limbs and buried beneath its roots....