Monday, May 25, 2009

Ice House, The (1978) (TV)

...aka: Ghost Story for Christmas: The Ice House

Directed by:
Derek Lister

Eighth and final entry in the British "Ghost Story for Christmas" series that ran on BBC around Christmastime every year from 1971 to 1978, It runs just 35 minutes, is the only entry that wasn't directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark and, like the previous years STIGMA, is set in contemporary times and wasn't based on a literary classic but instead on an original concept written specifically for the series. Paul (John Stride - who played Lee Remick's shrink in THE OMEN) attends an upscale vacation resort with a health spa and gym. Out back in the garden, there's an ice house covered with strange vines and two overwhelmingly fragrant flowers (one white, one red). The near-catatonic behavior of some of the other guests raises suspicions in Paul, as does masseur Bob's (David Beames) request for help getting away from the resort before he disappears. The unnaturally polite and proper resort owners - Jessica (Elizabeth Romilly) and Clovis (Geoffrey Burridge) - claim to be siblings but may not actually be, seem to be paying extra special attention to their new guest and keep mentioning how their advertisements will appeal only to a certain kind of person... The only common link to guests and workers alike is that everyone seems to have freezing cold hands.

If you want a cut-and-dry answer to know why Paul was seemingly lured there, who the resort owners are, what the resort owners want, what has happened to the other guests or what significance the flowers and ice house have, then you're out of luck with this very ambiguous tale. It's likely to be polarizing. I'd understand why one viewer may like while another wouldn't. Much is suggested or left to the imagination, which is something likely to appeal to fans of the other tales in this series, though this one isn't particularly scary or frightening, just a bit eerie instead.


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