Winston Essex (Sebastian Cabot) lives at Mansfield House; a home and resort. Mansfield House is the perfect place for guests to visit and escape from life or perhaps just stop in when passing by. In each episode, we are greeted with the presence of Winston Essex as he walks around his large home while holding a cigar in his hand. He breaks the fourth wall at the start of each episode, looking into the camera and speaking to the audience to give us a taste of what’s to come. You see, Winston is a man who is quite familiar with many tales and stories from the guests who have previously visited his large guest house.
For this review, I must confess to all my readers that I personally wasn’t too familiar with Ghost Story aka Circle Of Fear as a series. This is mostly because it aired on TV long before I was even born. But thanks to the Australian Distributor ViaVision Entertainment, the entire series has been released on Bluray and DVD for the first time and remastered into HD along with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Track. The aspect ratio of 4:3 also remains the same.
The Box Set release includes all 22 stories, plus the original feature-length pilot and a special feature including William Castle’s Ghost Story – Audio Tracks from the original store LP.
Winston Essex (Sebastian Cabot)
If you’re not familiar with the series (like I was to start with), Ghost Story was produced by horror movie maestro William Castle (The Tingler) and was written by Richard Matheson (Duel). But in essence, Ghost Story is simply an anthology of many tales. Each episode tells a different story meaning you don’t have to watch the episodes chronologically. Depending on your mood, you are welcome to mix up the order and pick a mystery that suits your evening. But each episode promises to show characters confronted by supernatural elements. Each episode also includes aspects of drama, horror and mystery. I was surprised to see many well-known celebrities making appearances, including Martin Sheen, Meg Foster, Jodie Foster, Jason Robards, Janet Leigh, Helen Hayes, Gena Rowlands and many more!
While watching the very first episode, I was utterly impressed with the visuals. Considering this series aired on TV during the 70s the picture quality is clean and impressive. While the soundtrack specifications may sound disappointing on paper I was surprised to find how much strength the audio still had, particularly when it came to creepy sound effects and uncomfortable music. I also found each story and plot to be creative. Filming was also excellent, especially as filmmakers had to be creative without being able to fall back on CGI effects.
Overall, Ghost Story is a tremendous series of drama, horror and mystery. To see this classic TV series remastered on Blu-ray was an unforgettable experience. Each episode is full of creativity, and considering this series was created in the 70s, I’m surprised at how well the majority of these episodes hold up in the story department. Horror fanatics should most certainly check this series out if you dare!
Ghost Story aka Circle OF Fear (1972 – 1973) is Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
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Review Written by Peter Walkden