The Children's Film Foundation was a non-profit making organisation set up in 1951 by the owner of the Odeon and Rank cinema chains. It's objective was to provide home-grown entertainment for those wonderful Saturday morning screenings that provided fun and education and introduced thousands of children to the magic of cinema The fourth release in this collection also marks the opening of a truly mouth-watering selection of releases in the BFI 'Gothic - The Dark Heart Of Film' season.
The second story - Andrew Bogle's 'Haunters Of The Deep' (1983) - takes place in Cornwall where an American businessman arrives to oversee the re-opening of a disused tin mine. Strangles Head Mine has its own dark secrets, and Josh and Becky (the daughter of the US magnate) are thrown together to confront the past. The splendid Andrew Keir plays an important part in proceedings, clearly relishing his role as the local who issues unheeded warnings concerning the history of the mine and how the past can reach into the present with potentially grave consequences. Haunters Of The Deep is a strong entry in this trilogy, with impressive effects sequences, a brisk pace and superb photography that captures the splendour of the Cornish coastline.
In August 1665, a flea-infested bundle of cloth arrived from London, straight into the hands of the local tailor. This resulted in The Great Plague, which killed 260 out of the population of 343; curiously, the local gravedigger survived. Out Of The Darkness pitches camp in Eyam, where a family elect to live in a run-down cottage once inhabited by victims of 'The Black Death'. The mother (played by Jenny Tarren) encounters a local historian (Michael Carter, The Keep, Return Of The Jedi) who soon forms a bond with her sons and their school friend. Before long, the boys are witness to most unnerving manifestations, as the sins of the past reach out into the present in an effort to unlock the events behind the death of a child who just won't stay dead. Once again, the special effects are most impressive, and the theme of children responding to supernatural phenomena with courage and fortitude makes this a great way to end your viewing of this delightfully spooky trio of tales well told. This BFI release benefits hugely from brand new high definition transfers for all three films. Indeed, the picture quality is excellent, and there's an illustrated booklet with essays by writer John Tully (The Man From Nowhere), actor Michael Carter and Rachel Moseley. Perfect viewing for those cold, dark winter evenings.