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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Halloween Special - The Witches’ Prison

This Halloween Channel 4’s True Horror is back.  The BAFTA nominated producers of ‘TheEnfield Haunting’ will take you again into the heart of a terrifying true horror story…

The Witches’ Prison is True Horror’s Halloween Special.  Directed by award winning director Amanda Boyle (Skins) with a stand out haunting central performance by Michelle Ryan (Doctor Who) and a soundtrack by Jack Matthias (Glue) which is crackling with tension, ‘The Witches’ Prison’ is an eerie, personal and visually stunning dramatized documentary telling the chilling true horror story of a single mother’s battle to protect herself and her defenceless baby boy from a haunted house with a tormented past.

Successful saleswoman Vanessa Mitchell buys a house which is rumoured to be a former Witches’ prison in St. Osyth, Essex, the village she grew up in. ‘The Cage’ is a cute Tudor cottage but as soon as Vanessa and flatmate Nicole move in, they witness increasingly strange events. Flying objects, mysterious pools of blood and an invisible entity that rattles doors and pushes people downstairs are enough to spook anyone.

As friends and housemates are gradually scared away, Vanessa is left virtually alone. Before she finds that, to her astonishment, she is five and a half months pregnant.

Increasingly isolated and oppressed as a working, single-mother in a house besieged by paranormal activity, Vanessa vows to let nothing hurt her new-born child. But can either of them survive the increasingly vicious attacks they endure?

Modern themes of post-natal depression and isolation after child birth resonate with the dark history and cruel treatment of 16th century so-called witches: - this episode is a distinctively female one. Boldly directed by director Amanda Boyle whose previous work has been award winning commercials, shorts, art films and distinctive TV drama (credits include Gina McKee’s Care for Sky Arts along with Channel 4’s much loved Skins and Misfits).

This episode showcases the superb Michelle Ryan. Launched on the BBC soap opera EastEnders as the legendary Zoe Slater before being cast in the USA in the Bionic Woman, Ryan’s work has spanned television, film and theatre with recent highlights - co-staring with Will Young in Rufus Norris’ theatre production of Cabaret, playing Lady Christina de Souza in Dr. Who and more recently Danny Huston’s directorial film debut The Last Photograph.

Other cast includes: Kellie Shirley (Idris Elba’s The Long Run) and Stephen Leask (School of Rock).

“In a sub-genre of horror that tends to be dominated by increasingly formulaic (and franchise-based) American chillers like INSIDIOUS or THE CONJURING “universe”, one of the most satisfying things about the well-crafted TRUE HORROR is that it’s a very British series going to great lengths to be truly frightening.

Amanda Boyle’s The Witches’ Prison” generates plenty of shivers from scenes of heroine Michelle Ryan striving to protect her new-born from an increasingly prominent force of evil and doesn’t over-expose its central source of fright.  It is unashamedly dedicated to scaring seven shades of shite out of the unwary viewer. In that regard, it succeeds admirably – all the while capturing that fine balance of everyday British banality and outlandish paranormal activity.”

The Witches’ Prison this Halloween on Channel 4.

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