Hair-Raising Tale

         Anyone who is a ghost story fan knows about the famous novella by Henry James entitled The Turn of the Screw. Written in 1898, this literary masterpiece has become the definite ghost tale for over a century and a half and was, in James's time, the scariest spiritual account of all time.

         This captivating late-nineteenth-century horror novella begins, interestingly enough, with fireside storytelling in an old, creaky house, whereas Jack Clayton's 1961 film, The Innocents which was based on both the novella and a play by the same name, began with the actual story within the story. Despite the initial enchantment of this tale, one must surely dispute the total validity of the story within the story because of the possibility of reinterpretation by the storytellers. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, the actual story tends to infatuate one so much so that the novella simply cannot be put down until the truth of the narrative is totally unfolded.

         In spite of the reader's stance of the existence of the ghosts, The Turn of the Screw is nonetheless a fascinating and enchanting tale that grabs readers and takes them on a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. I enjoyed this novella immensely as I have many of Henry James's other works and therefore, I recommend it to anyone and everyone who likes attention-grabbing stories. However, the film, directed by Jack Clayton, did not do the masterpiece of James's work justice.

Jami Anthony

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