Extras - Uncle Montague

Uncle Montague

Where does Uncle Montague come from? Well, his name is a direct reference to Montague Rhodes James, whose classic ghost stories are such an inspiration. M.R. James was a respected historian and was Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, and later Eton, as well as being Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. I have loved his stories ever since I watched the BBC TV adaptations that were aired at Christmas over a few years in the 1970s when I was a teenager. M.R. James
wrote many of his stories as a Christmas entertainment for friends,
which he read aloud to them in his rooms at Kinds.

But I don’t think I had the real M.R. James in mind as a model for
Uncle Montague. I think I was probably seeing one of the greats from
the world of horror cinema: someone like Peter Cushing or
Christopher Lee, Vincent Price or Boris Karloff.

Uncle Montague’s whistle is a deliberate nod towards M.R. James’
Whistle and I’ll Come to You which was brilliantly filmed for the
BBC in 1968 and is still available as a DVD.

The quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a favourite from one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite poets, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Uncle Montague has links with the Ancient Mariner in that they were both compelled to tell their stories as a kind of penance. I am not sure I am cursed, but all writers worth their salt would recognise that
compulsion to tell stories. Writing is obsessive.

M.R. James quotes that same section of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in Casting the Runes, which was made into a fantastic (except for the demon at the end) movie called Night of the Demon. Mary Shelley also quotes it in Chapter 5 of Frankenstein.

Uncle Montague

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