If your idea of fun for grown-ups on Halloween is more about watching a costume drama than wearing a costume, you are in luck. When the little goblins are in bed, and you are ready for a mild-to-very chilling, somewhat scary, kind of creepy, totally period kind of drama, you can get snug under the blankets and watch one of these films below.

hello-fallTrick-or-treat Willow and Thatch style means giving away a bundle of six (yes 6!) of these scary period dramas on DVD to one winner.

Which six movies you’ll receive is a spooky surprise. These are from the Willow and Thatch collection, so they have been previously watched. Open to U.S. residents only, 18 years and older. The winner is selected randomly. See the Official Rules.

The Halloween Period Drama Giveaway is now closed and Christine V. is our winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and please enter our other giveaways for more chances to win your favorite period dramas, related gifts, and more. 

To enter the giveaway leave a comment below.

For a second chance to win, please do these two things:

1) Share this post or 15 Haunting Period Dramas for Halloween on any of your social networks.

2) Leave a comment here and let us know which post you shared and why, and where you shared it. You can be brief, but the idea is that Willow and Thatch gets a better understanding of what you like in period films.

Good luck, and have a happy Halloween!

Beware: Some of these historical / costume / period dramas are truly chilling; if you are sensitive, I suggest you carefully read the reviews or stay away from the R rated movies altogether, and also see 15 Haunting Period Dramas for Halloween for more titles that may better suit your taste. You’ve been warned!

 

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Affinity (2008)affinity-dvd

After the death of her father, wealthy socialite Margaret Prior struggles to find direction in her life. Yearning for experiences outside her insulated world of privilege, Prior becomes a “lady visitor” to a nearby women’s prison in hopes of finding purpose through volunteering. Yet one inmate in particular, disgraced medium Selina Dawes, holds a strange fascination over Prior. As she becomes more involved with Dawes, Prior’s life opens to a dark, unknown world.

Sarah Waters’ 1999 novel of the same name serves as the inspiration for director Tim Fywell and screenwriter Andrew Davies’ gothic period drama detailing the relationship between an upper class Victorian girl still mourning the death of her father and a once-successful medium imprisoned for assaulting a young girl. Margaret (Anna Madeley) may have all the wealth a woman cold want, but without her father around she just can’t seem to enjoy it. In desperate need of a diversion and eager to experience life outside of her small protective bubble, Margaret makes arrangements to go to Millbank Prison as a “Lady Visitor.” Once inside the stone and steel fortress, it doesn’t take long for Margaret to forget about her responsibilities to the prisoners and form a strange fixation on an attractive young named convict Selina (Zoe Tapper). Before Selina was imprisoned, she had enjoyed celebrity status as a medium. That all changed once Selina was accused of assault, yet the closer Margaret gets to the charismatic inmate the more convinced she becomes that her story isn’t as simple as the judge made it out to be. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Set in 1874 in the Victorian era.

affinity-cellCourtesy of Box TV

Starring Zoë Tapper, Anna Madeley, Domini Blythe, Amanda Plummer, Mary Jo Randle.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Not rated.


and-then-there-were-noneAnd Then There Were None (2015)

Ten strangers are invited to an island by a mysterious host, and start to get killed one by one. Could one of them be the killer? Based on the bestselling crime novel of all time by Agatha Christie.

As the world teeters on the brink of World War II, 10 strangers are invited to isolated Soldier Island. Among them are young secretary Vera Claythorne (Maeve Dermody, Serangoon Road), soldier Philip Lombard (Aidan Turner, Poldark), General John MacArther, spinster Emily Brent (Miranda Richardson, Parade’s End), and Judge Lawrence Wargrave (Charles Dance, Game of Thrones). With seemingly nothing in common, the guests wonder who their mysterious host may be. But the ominous reason for their visit soon becomes clear…and by the end of the night, the first of them is dead.

Set in 1939 in the Interwar era.

and-then-none-bbcCourtesy of Lifetime

Starring Aidan Turner, Maeve Dermody, Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, Toby Stephens.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated TV-14


frankenstein-dvdFrankenstein (1931)

Boris Karloff stars as the screen’s most memorable monster in what many consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster (Karloff) out of lifeless body parts. It’s director James Whale’s adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel blended with Karloff’s compassionate portrayal of a creature groping for identity that makes Frankenstein a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.

Shocking in its day and still a genuinely creepy experience, director James Whale’s primitive yet enthralling interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic tale of man playing God is the most influential genre movie ever made. – Radio Times

The novel is set near the end of the 18th century in the Georgian era, the film has Victorian undertones.

frankenstein-childCourtesy of Universal Pictures

Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, John Boles, Mae Clarke, Edward Van Sloan.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Not rated.


ghost-story-turn-of-screwGhost Story: The Turn of the Screw (2009) BBC

Based on the Henry James 1898 novella, this period drama studies the interactions between the living and the dead.

A young governess, Ann, is sent to a country house to take care of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Soon after her arrival, Miles is expelled from boarding school. Although charmed by her young charge, she secretly fears there are ominous reasons behind his expulsion.

With Miles back at home, the governess starts noticing ethereal figures roaming the estate’s grounds. Desperate to learn more about these sinister sightings she discovers that the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of her predecessor hold grim implications for herself. As she becomes increasingly fearful that malevolent forces are stalking the children the governess is determined to save them, risking herself and her sanity in the process.

Part of the BBC Christmas 2009 season.

Set in the Victorian era.

turn-screw-mdCourtesy of BBC

Starring Michelle Dockery, Sue Johnston, Dan Stevens, Mark Umbers, Nicola Walker.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Not rated.


james-turn-screw-pbsThere is also Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (1999), shown on PBS Masterpiece Theater, starring Jodhi May, Colin Firth, Pam Ferris, Joe Sowerbutts, Grace Robinson, Jason Salkey, Caroline Pegg and Jenny Howe.

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James’ gripping ghost story, tells the chilling tale of a governess hired by a charming bachelor to look after his young niece and nephew. The story unfolds Victorian England, in a grand mansion in the rural countryside, where sinister events place lives in jeopardy. The naïve young governess is charmed by her employer and is determined to make a success of her first appointment, despite his strange stipulation that she never contact him.

Her impressions are all good — the house is beautiful, the children are charming, and the job is a perfect delight. But then she sees the ghosts of the former valet, Peter Quint, and a previous governess, Miss Jessel. She becomes convinced that the children can see them as well and communicate with them, and that their souls are in danger. She feels that she alone can save them. The stage is set for a battle of good and evil.

Available on DVD.

Not rated.

Note: You may also be interested in The Nightcomers (1971), a prequel to the Henry James classic Turn of the Screw about the events leading up to the deaths of Peter Quint and Ms. Jessel, and the the slow corruption of the children in their care. And also see The Innocents, which was included in 15 Haunting Period Dramas for Halloween. 


gothic-dvdGothic (1986)

Conjure up your deepest, darkest fear… now call that fear to life. The Shelleys visit Lord Byron and compete to write a horror story. Directed by cult favourite and “enfant terrible” Ken Russell, “Gothic” delves into the erotic and terrifying night in 1816 that ultimately gave birth to Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel “Frankenstein” and Polidori’s “The Vampire”. While a wild storm rages in the sky over poet Lord Byron’s literary house party on the shores of Lake Geneva, the exiled English poet suggests everyone invent a ghost story. As the dead of night closes in, he and his guests go on to hold a séance to conjure up their deepest, most secret fears. But is it their intense lusts and vivid imaginations at work, or have they truly created a monster?

Lurid, kitschy, over the top–what more does one expect from Ken Russell, director of The Devils, Tommy, and Altered States? Gothic purports to tell the story of a night that Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and the future Mary Shelley spent at a country estate and decided to write ghost stories–a night that ultimately resulted in Mary writing the novel Frankenstein. These three and a couple of friends romp around the mansion, freaking out at shadows and the sounds of a storm, getting increasingly hysterical and hallucinatory as the night progresses. Thrown into the mix are a mechanical belly dancer, nudity, walking suits of armor, an orgy, séances, grotesque masks, leeches, a pig’s head, stigmata, snakes, and God-awful dialogue like “We are the gods now–we have dared to call ourselves creators!” Gabriel Byrne (Byron), Julian Sands (Shelley), and Natasha Richardson (Mary) are all terrible; it’s a miracle any of their careers survived. But good or bad isn’t really the point with Ken Russell, who aspires to a kind of visual delirium. Russell isn’t afraid to be trashy in the pursuit of unfettered cinematic symbolism. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. – Bret Fetzer

Set in 1816 in the Georgian era.

gothic-1986-stillCourtesy of Virgin Vision

Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Timothy Spall Natasha Richardson.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated R


haunted-summer-dvdHaunted Summer (1988)

Romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, along with Shelly’s future wife, Mary, and her beautiful stepsister, Claire, travel blissfully through Switzerland one summer. Both women share Shelley’s bed, while the tortured Lord Byron flounder in a secret relationship with his physician. They experiment with opium, “free love”, and the nature of good and evil. The events form the foundation for Mary Shelley’s famous novel, FRANKSTEIN. This drama is part surreal, part historical – of lust and fantasy, of ecstasy and horror, of the inner strings of creativity.

“Haunted Summer” tells the same story Ken Russell used for his 1986 film “Gothic.” But “Gothic” was a nightmare Arabesque, preoccupied with the night on which Mary’s “Frankenstein” and Polidori’s “The Vampyre” were composed or dreamed–and its characters behaved less like poets than denizens of a Hammer Horror film, conceiving not “Frankenstein” but “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Carlino has given us exactly what Russell’s scenarist, Stephen Volk didn’t: a sense of Shelley and Byron as poets, of Mary and Polidori as novelists, a real delight in the kind of language they used and their own relish in using it. The flamboyant Russell dragged the nightmares up and waved them around. Passer keeps them buried, teasing them almost to the light. – LA Times

Set in 1816 in the Georgian era.

haunted-summer-88Courtesy of Cannon Films

Starring Philip Anglim, Alice Krige, Eric Stoltz, Laura Dern, Alex Winter.

Available on DVD.

Rated R


heavenly-creatures-dvdHeavenly Creatures (1994)

Wealthy and precocious teenager Juliet transfers from England to Christchurch, New Zealand, with her family, and forms a bond with the quiet, brooding Pauline through their shared love of handsome big screen tenor Mario Lanza and games of make believe. But when their parents begin to suspect that their increasingly intense friendship is becoming unhealthy, the girls decide to run away to America, hatching a dark plan for those who threaten to keep them apart.

The insight of “Heavenly Creatures” is that sometimes people are capable of committing acts together that they could not commit by themselves. A mob can be as small as two persons. What makes Jackson’s film enthralling and frightening is the way it shows these two unhappy girls, creating an alternative world so safe and attractive they thought it was worth killing for.

Set in the early 1950s in the Postwar era.

heavenly-creatures-movieCourtesy of WingNut Films

Starring Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison, Simon O’Connor, Jed Brophy.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated R


the-crucible-dvdThe Crucible (1996)

A teenage girl’s accusation that she was bewitched wrecks havoc and hysteria in a small town in 17th-century New England; based on the celebrated Arthur Miller play.

After married man John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis) decides to break off his affair with his young lover, Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder), she leads other local girls in an occult rite to wish death upon his wife, Elizabeth (Joan Allen). When the ritual is discovered, the girls are brought to trial. Accusations begin to fly, and a literal witch hunt gets underway. Before long, Elizabeth is suspected of witchcraft, and John’s attempt to defend her only makes matters worse.

Her cheeks flush, her winsome beauty seared with erotic rage, Ryder exposes the real roots of the piece…The Crucible is a colonial Fatal Attraction. – Time Magazine

Set in 1692.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated PG-13


living-and-dead-dvdThe Living And The Dead (2016) BBC

A brilliant young couple inherit the farm and are determined to start a new life together. But their presence in this isolated corner of England starts to unleash strange, unsettling and dangerous supernatural phenomena that will start to threaten their marriage. Think Thomas Hardy with ghosts.

We talked a lot in pre-production about what this was going to be and I was really keen that it wouldn’t be horror. The word we used was eerie. It’s about things you see from the corner of your eye. I was thinking a lot about what hauntings actually are. Are they echoes from the past or something else? – Ashley Pharoah

The Living and the Dead was filmed almost entirely in and around Horton Court, a 16th-century manor house in Gloucestershire. Owned by the National Trust, it has also featured in Poldark and Wolf Hall. The building and its surroundings are beautiful but, in this series, frequently take on an unnerving aspect. – The Telegraph

Set in 1894 in the Victorian era.

the-living-and-the-dead-stillCourtesy of BBC Worldwide

Starring Colin Morgan, Sarah Counsell, Amber Fernée, Tallulah Rose Haddon, David Oakes.

Available on DVD on November 15, 2016. Pre-order now.

Not rated.

Note: Though you’ll have to wait until after Halloween to see The Living And The Dead, I thought you’d like to have its release of this six-part television mini-series in the U.S. on your radar. The series will not be renewed for a second series, so you can see the whole eerie BBC sumptuous cornfield-set costume drama now.


mystery-hansom-cabThe Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012)

This Victorian period mystery based on the popular Fergus Hume novel explores the mystery of a murdered gentleman, inexplicably found dead following a carriage ride. Though the man’s romantic rival appears to be the prime suspect, a series of twists and turns soon prove that the truth is less simple, and far more sinister. ~ Cammila Collar, Rovi

Hansom Cab is handsomely produced, bringing colonial Melbourne to life with wonderful detail. Use of locations, costumes by Wendy Cork and production design by Otello Stolfo are lavish. – TV Tonight

Set in 1886 in the Victorian era.

the-mystery-of-a-hansom-cab-stillCourtesy of Burberry Productions

Starring John Waters, Jessica De Gouw, Oliver Ackland.

Available on DVD.

Not rated (but not too frightening, maybe equivalent to TV-14.)


night-of-the-hunter-dvdThe Night of the Hunter (1955)

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he’d stolen in a robbery.

The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil.

Charles Laughton’s “The Night of the Hunter” (1955) is one of the greatest of all American films…an expressionistic oddity, telling its chilling story through visual fantasy. People don’t know how to categorize it, so they leave it off their lists. Yet what a compelling, frightening and beautiful film it is! And how well it has survived its period. – Roger Ebert

Set in the 1930s during the Great Depresion.

night-of-the-hunter-stillCourtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Billy Chapin, Lillian Gish, Peter Graves.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Not rated but aside from a couple of somewhat graphic scenes, this is old-fashioned and thoughtful fright at its best.


pp-zombies-dvdPride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.

Set in the early 1800s.

Starring Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance, Lena Heady.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated PG-13

Pride Prejudice ZombiesCourtesy of Cross Creek Pictures

Note: Perhaps this one isn’t exactly chilling, but is the perfect Halloween watch for lovers of Jane Austen who haven’t seen it yet.


the-reflecting-skinThe Reflecting Skin (1990)

Growing up in the 1950s in small-town Idaho, 8-year-old Seth and his friends play a prank on the town recluse, a widow named Dolphin Blue. When his friends start disappearing, Seth becomes convinced Dolphin is a vampire, stealing the souls of the neighborhood children one by one. After his brother, Cameron, returns home and takes a liking to Dolphin, Seth feels it’s up to him to save Cameron from his friends’ fate.

The Reflecting Skin is British director Philip Ridley’s fascinating and very strange investigation into the horrors of childhood innocence and fantasy. It is not surprising that writer/director Philip Ridley has also published books for children, since watching The Reflecting Skin is a lot like reading a young adult novel, albeit a horrific one. Presented from a child’s strangely warped point-of-view, this film should be appreciated by anyone looking for films far outside the mainstream.

No film has so fully explored the horrific possibilities of this place as The Reflecting Skin by Philip Ridley. The obscure 1990 feature takes the prairie gothic aesthetic made famous in paintings by the likes of Edward Hopper (House by the Railroad, 1925) and Andrew Wyeth (Christina’s World, 1948) and renders it into a surreal world where delirium is the inevitable harvest of a place sowed with predators, cruelty, and the grotesque. – Filmmaker Magazine

Set in the Postwar era in the early 1950s.

the-reflecting-skin-stillCourtesy of British Screen Productions

Starring Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Cooper.

Available on DVD.

Rated R


rowing-with-the-windRowing With the Wind (1988)

At a villa overlooking Lake Geneva in the idyllic summer of 1816, Lord Byron (Hugh Grant) suggests that each of his friends write a story of horrors. Young Mary Wollstonecraft (Lizzy McInnerny) is inspired to begin her novel “Frankenstein.” But as the lives of her new husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley (Valentine Pelka), and her stepsister, Claire Clairmont (Elizabeth Hurley), who has had Lord Byron’s child, fall apart, Mary begins to imagine that the monster she created is behind their troubles.

The events that led Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write her horror masterpiece Frankenstein provide the basis of this haunting, romantic drama. The story opens aboard a beat up schooner as it carefully makes its way through a massive broken ice pack near the North Pole. There Shelley writes her fantastic tale and reminisces about the events of the previous summer when she was courted by the poetic Percy Byshe Shelley. They elope and go to Switzerland where they become friends with dashing Lord Byron and his companion Dr. Polidori. Shelley’s sister Claire accompanies them and gets romantically entangled with Byron. The group subsequently spends some idyllic almost hedonistic weeks at Byron’s villa. Over the next few years, strange, tragic and troubling events occur and whenever they do, Shelley sees her monster lurking in the shadows.

Set in 1816 in the Georgian era.

Starring Hugh Grant, Lizzy McInnerny, Valentine Pelka, Elizabeth Hurley, José Luis Gómez.

Available on DVD.

Rated R


abominable-brideSherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016) BBC

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the acclaimed modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. But now, our heroes find themselves in 1890s London. Beloved characters Mary Morstan, Inspector Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson also turn up at 221b Baker Street.

Shown on PBS Masterpiece.

Set in the Victorian era and the present day.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman,

Sherlock-Abominable-Bride Courtesy of BBC

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated TV-14


sleepy-hollow-dvdSleepy Hollow (1999)

Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of three people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman. Faithful to the dreamy custom-bound world that Irving paints in his story, the film mixes horror, fantasy and romance and features an extraordinary cast of characters that dabble in the supernatural.

This is among other things an absolutely lovely film, with production design, art direction and cinematography that create a distinctive place for the imagination. This is the best-looking horror film since Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” What it depends upon is Burton’s gift for bizarre and eccentric special effects, and a superb performance by Johnny Depp, who discards everything we may ever have learned or thought about Ichabod Crane and starts from scratch. – Roger Ebert

Set in 1799 in the Georgian era.

sleepy-hollow-stillCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated R


the-thirteenth-taleThe Thirteenth Tale (2013)

The Thirteenth Tale is a haunting psychological mystery, adapted by Oscar winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton from Diane Setterfield’s bestselling novel. Biographer Margaret Lea (Olivia Colman – Broadchurch) is summoned to the Yorkshire home of reclusive, dying novelist Vida Winter (Vanessa Redgrave – Atonement) who has handpicked Margaret to write her biography. Though initially hesitant, as Vida has a reputation for distorting facts in interviews, Margaret becomes fascinated by her previously untold story. As the novelist recounts her dark and disturbing childhood, Margaret is compelled to finally face the trauma of her own past. But as time runs out, Margaret, desperate to hear the end of Vida’s story, begins to wonder if she is hearing the confessions of a murderer.

Shown on BBC.

Set in the Postwar era and present day.

thirteenth-tale-bbcCourtesy of Heyday Films

Starring Steven Mackintosh, Robert Pugh, Vanessa Redgrave, Janet Amsden, Alice Barlow.

Available on DVD. (For those of you with multi-region players.)

Not rated but more psychologically involving than anything else.

Note: At the time of this writing, The Thirteenth Tale is available to watch for free on YouTube. It appears to be a legal upload, or Willow and Thatch would not share it. If you know otherwise, be in touch.


white-ribbonThe White Ribbon (2009)

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

In this German town, there is a need to solve the puzzle. Random wicked acts create disorder and erode the people’s faith that life makes sense. The suspicion that the known facts cannot be made to add up is as disturbing as if the earth gave way beneath our feet. – Roger Ebert

Mr. Haneke, born in 1942 and perhaps the most lauded living European filmmaker with a surname other than Dardenne, traffics in shock and terror, but in a cerebral, systematic way. His films rarely foreshadow their jolts or speed up their plots to generate suspense, but rather proceed, with almost meditative calm, to weave a cocoon of dread around intimations of mystery and implications of violence. The effect is something like a ghost story, the horror of which is at once elusive and pervasive. – New York Times

Set in the Edwardian era from 1913 to the outbreak of World War I.

white-ribbon-stillCourtesy Films du Losange

Starring Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur, Ursina Lardi, Fion Mutert, Michael Kranz.
In German with English subtitles.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated R


witchfinder-general-dvdThe Witchfinder General / The Conqueror Worm (1968)

By consensus, Vincent Price’s finest performance among his gallery of horror-movie rogues comes in Witchfinder General. Price plays Matthew Hopkins, a sadistic 17th-century “witchfinder” who uses barbaric methods to identify (and invariably execute) supposed witches. Witchfinder is also the best film by the talented and ill-fated director Michael Reeves, who was only 24 when he shot the movie (and was ) blessed with a great feeling for English landscapes and an eye for blackly telling details (peasants roasting potatoes in the ashes of a burned witch. The most vivid thing about Witchfinder General is the way it explicitly links paranoia and witch-hunting to misogyny, and how female sexual energy is seen by the ruling order as a threat. The final sequence is perhaps the most harrowing fade-out of any Sixties horror picture, and offers no comforting resolution.

A corrupt opportunist commits brutal crimes in the name of God and country in this atmospheric period horror tale. In 17th century England, as a people’s uprising threatens Lord Cromwell’s rule, superstition still rules the land, and the Royalists use this to their advantage by inaugurating a reign of terror in the name of wiping out alleged witches and agents of the dark arts. Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) has been appointed “witchfinder” by Puritan Royalists, and with the help of his thuggish assistant Stearne (Robert Russell), Hopkins travels from town to town, brutally interrogating those accused of witchcraft and using fire, drowning, and torture to extract “confessions” from the accused. – Mark Deming, Rovi

This is not the kind of horror that comes from cobwebs and creaky doors. Its horrors are all too human and impossible to cast off with a simple fade out. – PopMatters

Set in the 17th century.

witchfinder-general-still

Starring Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Heath, Robert Russell.

Available on DVD.

Not rated.


woman-in-black-dvdThe Woman in Black (2012)

A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer whose grief has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric. But upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret. Although the townspeople try to keep Kipps from learning their tragic history, he soon discovers that the house belonging to his client is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to find someone and something she lost… and no one, not even the children, are safe from her vengeance.

Authentically enigmatic, finely understated and efficiently chilling return to classic horror. -Ted Fry

Set in 1889 in the Victorian era and in the Edwardian era.

woman-in-black-stillCourtesy of Cross Creek Pictures

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Emma Shorey, Molly Harmon, Ellisa Walker-Reid, Sophie Stuckey, Misha Handley, Jessica Raine, Roger Allam.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.

Rated PG-13

Note: There is also The Woman in Black (1989) starring Adrian Rawlins, Bernard Hepton, David Daker and Pauline Moran.



If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also want to see 15 Haunting Period Dramas for Halloween, and be sure to visit The Period Films List, for less frightening, ghoulish costume dramas, all sorted by era. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the way, see An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, and Best Period Dramas: Christmas Classics. And the post about the upcoming (in the US) Dickensian, is here.

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