SPOLIER ALERT: Clearly I’ve found the name of the film, but there are still mysteries to be solved!


BACK when I was at primary school during the 1980s, the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) used to screen a kids ghost mystery thriller repeatedly during the school holidays.
The film was about some children who go to live in Yorkshire and come across the ghosts of children who died in the Bubonic Plague. I also remember that we also saw it on a school excursion to the Geelong Performing Arts Centre.
My sisters and I thought it was fantastic and there were a couple of silly quotes that we used to recite all the time and cack ourselves in amusement. One was: “You killed them, you killed them all?” and “What would you do if you saw a ghost? I’d do the same as you, I’d wet me knickers!”.
But don’t let the laughs fool you. The film was atmospheric, spooky and very scary in parts. Ghost films made for children have the potential to be great – especially those made in the UK during the 1970s.
Restricted by what they could show due to age restrictions, the film makers had to rely on the story to keep the audience interesting rather than splashing around blood and guts.
I would love to see this film again, but as you have probably realised, I don’t know the name of the movie.
So today I am starting a campaign to find these films.
I have no idea what the film was called or where I can find a copy. I don’t know any of the actors and I am probably not even remembering half the plot correctly.
There is this film and another TV show, that was particularly spooky and had an effect on me too, that I would like to find. Here are brief summaries you might recognise:
THE FILM is about the kids who go to Yorkshire and come across ghosts of children who died during the Bubonic Plague. It might also involve time travel, but I think I am mixing that up with The Amazing Mister Blunden (1972) which is an amazing spooky film and one I should re-view for The Spooky Isles one day. There was definitely a bit in the film I remember with the kids seeing things happening the past from the plague days.
THE TELEVISION show episode is about a jar which was covered in a mosiac. The mosiac had an Egyptian or Greek princess or something like on it. The story behind it was the princess went blind looking at the sun. So every time someone moved the jar towards the wall, some mysterious force would turn it back towards the light.It think the mosiac might have been made with broken plates, which had some link to evil. I think it was one of a number of episodes in a kids spooky series, that was screened on school holidays.
So if recognises any of these shows, or in fact, know of any great 1970s British ghost stories television shows for kids, please send me aa comment. I am desperate to find these films and find out what they were really about. And if I can’t find them, it would be great to find some other ones to fill the void that I have been missing.


UPDATE 31st January 2012: Since posting this, I have had a few messages and have been told it is “Out of the Darkness” which more than rings a bell. Today, I thought about searching You Tube and this came up, which is great! I definitely remember the mist scene and the boy saying: “Don’t leave me!” in his northern accent. The scene is still sends a shiver up my spine. Now all I have to do is try and find a copy of the whole film!



David Saunderson
Leave a replyComments (13)
  1. Sarah Carolan 20 January 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Could the film be Out Of The Darkness from the Children’s Film Foundation? http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/store/movies/title/0,,2180776,00.html
    Seems slightly similar in plot. Hope this helps

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    • David Saunderson 20 January 2012 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Sarah. Someone just told me on Twitter but good on you for telling me. I now need to find a copy 🙂

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  2. Anthony Cowin 24 January 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Another good one I remember and in fact bought on DVD to show to my own kids is ‘The Clifton House Mystery”. This truly moved me as a child and when the ghosts started appearing while watching the DVD I was right back there again.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clifton-House-Mystery-Complete-DVD/dp/B002ZJ1JP4

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    • David Saunderson 24 January 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Tony, that sounds like a good one and you are lucky you can actually buy it. The one I want I don’t think is on DVD. 🙂

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  3. Mischa 9 February 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Does it contain scenes with a clock and a door at the end of a hallway? Children singing ringa-ringa-roses? Sends bloody shivers done my spine again and gives me goosebumps just writing down the question… I remember that from my childhood. Ruined a fair number of nights sleep…
    Love to see it again though… 😉

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    • David Saunderson 9 February 2013 at 11:22 pm

      I’m not sure if it has that in the film. But children singing nursery rhymes in spooky films is using pretty creepy. I am still looking for the film – I hope someone releases it one day 🙂

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  4. Mischa 9 February 2013 at 11:45 pm

    In that case, that’s one you reminded me of…
    Perhaps you can help me then… 😉
    I saw it mid eighties and it was about children living in a house in which they were told not to go near a door at the end of a hallway. Of course, the kids did and they could hear other children sing ringa ringa roses at the other side. There was a scene with a clock face that ticked over ever slower untill it stopped. (hence the link with time travel…)
    Hope the experts can help….

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    • David Saunderson 10 February 2013 at 12:00 am

      Don’t know it but I possibly did see it – it sounds pretty cool and creepy!

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  5. Dave Sharpe 23 October 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Mischa, the programme you’re referring to is the first episode (‘Escape through a crack in time’) of short lived early eighties creepy Sci-fi ‘Sapphire and Steel’ starring Joanna Lumley and David MacCallum which showed on ITV in the UK.

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  6. Dean Anthony 14 December 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I have been searching for ”Out of the Darkness” for a very long time too, David Saunderson. I finally got lucky today by coming to this page and seeing your comments. You can purchase a DVD on Amazon called ”Childrens Film Foundation Collection: Scary Stories” which has the film we have been looking for along with two other films. I’m so pleased I have found this and have just purchased it myself. Hope this helps!

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  7. Dean Anthony 15 December 2014 at 8:41 pm

    You’re more than welcome, David.

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  8. sasafras 24 October 2016 at 4:25 am

    I too have been searching for this! Thanks goodness I didnt imagine it. I remember a scene where the main character is trapped in a cave or ruin at the end, and glo stick light-and I think see’s the boy a final time. Man the English kids shows were awesome!! Tripods is another one I loved as a kid in the 80s 🙂

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