Was looking up this clip (embedding disabled) for the May Day thread and struck by the similarity in tone between a bunch of these things. Some Avengers episodes share it too, tho they're more on the light-hearted end of it. Maybe sort of the British equivalent to Rod Serling's shtick? But seems very particular to its era -- characterized by spartan production values (which are generally made a virtue of), often a surface sense of middle-class normalcy masking something sinister, and also often a hidden authoritarian and/or supernatural power.
In rewatching some of these things in recent years -- Sapphire and Steel most recently -- I'm surprised by how scary they can be. I was pretty much terrified by S&S and some Dr. Who episodes as a kid, but they still seem pretty creepy to me. Because it's about this pervasive vibe of dread and things-not-being-right, more than overt shocks or scares. And is obviously tied to political/cultural issues of the time.
Anyway. Just curious if there's ever been a good article about it or study of it or anything. Or a name for it. I think I'm going to start calling the feeling it induces "the Uncle Tom Cobleys."
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:17 (twelve years ago) link
Oops, over-ran the thread title. Meant to say Baker-era Dr. Who, obv.
In rewatching some of these things in recent years -- Sapphire and Steel most recently -- I'm surprised by how scary they can be. I was pretty much terrified by S&S and some Dr. Who episodes as a kid, but they still seem pretty creepy to me. Because it's about this pervasive vibe of dread and things-not-being-right, more than overt shocks or scares.
The uncanny or unheimlich?
― emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:27 (twelve years ago) link
It overlaps with a lot of the stuff Ghost Box records are doing. There's a sense that, even if it's not referred to explicitly, there's something elemental and folkloric hidden just beneath the surface of a lot of sixties and seventies television. It's much scarier than effects-heavy horror. Nigel Kneale was the master at exploiting it but Brian Clemens was very good too.
I've seen some good BFI pieces about individual shows but i've not come across a comprehensive overview or name given to the wider concept.
― I LOVE BELARUS (ShariVari), Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:36 (twelve years ago) link
Well, I was thinking of referencing the hauntology phenomenon, but I think the OP is attempting more to consider what the similarity was at the time rather than in modern reception theory. So I'd place it more in the general tradition of the uncanny myself.
― emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 14:39 (twelve years ago) link
The folkloric element is interesting. Obviously The Wicker Man makes that explicit, but some S&S episodes have it (the first one especially, with the nursery rhymes).
And it definitely is a form of uncanniness, but it has what seem to me (from the outside) like specifically British parameters and forms of expression. I can't think of American movies or shows with quite the same feeling -- I think because it so often draws on British history and the subversion or inversion of British cultural norms.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 15:43 (twelve years ago) link
emil.y otm, it's unheimlich/uncanny
think it has a lot to do with the style of these shows, the location work, on 'the prisoner' in particular -- and that wasn't a spartan production
― lloyd banks knew my father (history mayne), Sunday, 1 May 2011 15:57 (twelve years ago) link
Well, much like hauntology, the uncanny often manifests itself in ways which are quite parochial, surely? Not wanting to get all Theory 101 but the 'unheimlich' stemming from 'unhomely' is a fair indicator. That sense of danger must arise from something known but transfigure it into the unknowable. Also, I guess, consider the Uncanny Valley - those figures that most closely resemble the human are the most fearful. Which is a long way of saying that British uncanny will by definition be different from the American uncanny, for our homeliness is different to yours. How that affects your reception is unknowable to me, being from the country under discussion.
But I do agree that there is more to these pieces than just a hand-waving 'oh, it's uncanny'. How to describe it further I'm unsure.
(that took me longer to write than it should have, being a 6-minute xpost)
― emil.y, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:04 (twelve years ago) link
1981 version of Day of the Triffids fits in here I think
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:11 (twelve years ago) link
And I suppose by extension the whole "cosy catastrophe" genre.
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:12 (twelve years ago) link
Ha, maybe John Wyndham is a sort of patron saint of this. I was thinking of Village of the Damned as an early example.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:33 (twelve years ago) link
(which of course has lots of similarities to Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- comparing the two would probably point up some nice differences in postwar British and American anxieties.)
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 16:35 (twelve years ago) link
understand that you guys are talking about british television and culture, but i recently watched a few episodes of the invaders, an american television series from '67/'68 and was struck by the by its pervasive, unheimlich creep. it functioned mostly like a western and seemed to concern one man's attempts to uncover and spread awareness of a secretive alien invasion. an example of post-mccarthyite cold war paranoia taken to psychedelic extremes, old-fashioned in its small town good guy stoicism, but set adrift in an unknowable and morally ambiguous dream world. dug it quite a bit.
that said, it lacks the weirdly mythic/folkloric resonance that seems present in (for instance) the prisoner, the sense that everything you're seeing is an occult parable of a particularly sinister sort.
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 17:57 (twelve years ago) link
Which is a long way of saying that British uncanny will by definition be different from the American uncanny, for our homeliness is different to yours. How that affects your reception is unknowable to me, being from the country under discussion.
Yeah, that's an interesting question. I'm a huge fan of this kind of stuff and immediately knew what the OP was talking about. But I always chalked it up to anglophilia + '70s-philia + radiophonic workshop fandom. But maybe there's something deeper to it that makes it a uniquely British sort of expression and yet for some reason doesn't affect the reception for some Americans.
Part of it may be some kind of weird axis of synergy between cosiness, creepiness, and low production values, where the sort of rough, homemade feel enhances both the cosiness and the creepiness. American TV shows and movies of the era explore some of the same territory but usually in a much slicker way.
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:13 (twelve years ago) link
Just like WK, I'm a huge fan of this as well and thought 'hauntology' immediately (in its un-'lol'-ed, original version, it seems to be made fun of recently, or not taken seriously anymore?).
I do think it goes beyond a mere fondness for sci-fi/occult/bbc radiophonic workshop et al. As a non-English person (though living with an English woman) I've always been attracted to the particular atmosphere of those tv shows and movies (The Witchfinder General, Wicker Man, the superb Stone Tape series etc) and the creepiness for me definitely lies in that in the English shows/movies (part of) the source of the eeriness is left undefined and unexplained. American counterparts have always seemed to rely more on explaining, polishing, rounding off a story nicely.
Image-wise England is way more gritty and raw, too. The landscape and the age-old history it encapsules seeps through any story you set there, whether it's one meant to have that certain 'creepy vibe' or not. It cannot be denied, even if it's not on the surface, it is there. Which is what I endlessly adore about England, too.
― RIP Brodie, aspiring bellhop boy, 4 months old (Le Bateau Ivre), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:30 (twelve years ago) link
Maybe one difference in American and British manifestations is that U.S. paranoia seems to be always about malignant outside forces (invasion of the body snatchers, invaders, etc) where in the U.K. iterations it's often something already-present but hidden or forgotten.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:47 (twelve years ago) link
I love this stuff, but analyzing what I like about it and why in excruciating detail doesn't make me (personally) like it any more. It's part costume party, part ghosts, part human ritual trying in vain to control our violent natural environment and the rest may have something to do with the general aesthetic of the 60s/70s big hair/boobs + gunne sax dresses.
― deez m'uts (La Lechera), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:55 (twelve years ago) link
(interesting that the U.S. doesn't have more of a tradition of ancient-Indian-curse stories --Poltergeist aside I guess. Wonder if that storyline's just too uncomfortable for the culture to handle)
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 18:57 (twelve years ago) link
...U.S. paranoia seems to be always about malignant outside forces (invasion of the body snatchers, invaders, etc) where in the U.K. iterations it's often something already-present but hidden or forgotten.
OTM, especially the "or forgotten" bit
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 19:11 (twelve years ago) link
while i'm OTM-ing, also to le bateau for the similar/different point about landscape and history. american popular imagination, especially during the 60s & 70s when the imprint of the western was still so clear in everything, demands that landscape be seen as devoid as history, as "nature," the undiscovered country. this makes humans and their social spaces a sort of flotsam bobbing around on the surface of landscape, not really woven into it. humans are either with or against nature, but nature's aims are hardly secret.
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Sunday, 1 May 2011 19:17 (twelve years ago) link
They also served:
― Hippocratic Oaf (DavidM), Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:01 (twelve years ago) link
― I have some kind of staph infection, and the only prescription is IALEX (sic), Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:27 (twelve years ago) link
there was also a kind of creepy sub genre for kids in which you could include say:
all terrifying to me at pre teen age. especially The Book Tower.brrr.
― piscesx, Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:32 (twelve years ago) link
Children of the Stones: Like The Wicker Man, but with ancient stone circles... for kids.
― Hippocratic Oaf (DavidM), Sunday, 1 May 2011 20:56 (twelve years ago) link
Image-wise England is way more gritty and raw, too. The landscape and the age-old history it encapsules seeps through any story you set there,
True, which also has a lot to do with the vast bulk of '60s and '70s American film and TV being shot in LA. There's definitely a sort of "sickness beneath the sunshine" vibe to some Hollywood productions that England can never hope to capture. Maybe more American horror would have had a gloomy pagan Lovecraftian feeling if the industry were centered in Boston. Cronenberg may have come the closest to capturing that English feeling in some of his '70s work, since Canada is a lot greyer.
Really? The ancient indian curse seems like such a cliche that it would be impossible to list how many times it was used. But again to the question of geography and architecture, there's something fundamentally different about it due to the lack of permanent native american architecture in the midst of big American cities and suburbs. It's one thing to have some Indian artifact or the land beneath your development be haunted, but it's not quite the same as your local church or pub, or entire village being taken over by a lurking evil.
So, lots of ancient architecture with pagan historical connections within easy filming distance of London, plus wartime experiences of actual invasion combined to create a fertile ground for exploring all sorts of themes of invasion and corruption from both outside and in.
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:10 (twelve years ago) link
As a kid, The Omega Factor used to scare the living shit out of me. My friends and I used to reference bits of it out and it was shorthand for the shitting-your-pants-scary-creeping-through-derelict-house adventures we would occasionally have. Because this was only broadcast in Scotland (to my knowledge) not many people remembered it. A few years ago it came out on DVD and I snapped it up, of course it wasn't a tenth as scary, and it's so damn *slow* and everything in the sets seem to be different shades of brown, but it's still faintly eerie.
Seems like the filter of childhood remeniscence contributes to this feeling, it's always retropective but it's very attractive, for instance when I see those Ghost box covers that Julian House designs I get such a strong notion of school textbooks and suchlike from my own past.
Anyhoo, check out the titles and the relentlessly brown colourscheme
― the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:40 (twelve years ago) link
it's in my wish list, they def broadcast it in England too
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:42 (twelve years ago) link
imo a good part of the creepiness is yr exposure to it a certain point in childhood/young adulthood - the supernatural is a metaphor for the not-quite-fathomed mysteries of sex and mortality that are nagging away in yr head at that point in life. of course those mysteries never quite get fathomed which means that creepiness is always going to hang around
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:45 (twelve years ago) link
there's some old good k-punk posts limning this stuff, aren't they? or maybe it was just a long parenthesis whilst talking about the Fall again. but mentioned the stone tape and the later quatermass.
one wonders if you could include: those creepy public info spots ('apaches' etc); the wicker man; i had a third, but i have forgotten whilst writing this sentence. m.r. james? enh.
― thomp, Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:55 (twelve years ago) link
In a similar vein: never saw the second half of this because my dad sent me to bed on account of it being "a right load of old rubbish". He may well have been right but apparently thanks to the magic of Youtube i can find out.
xp I think the stories of M.R. James play into this but the production values on the stories they filmed make them not quite the same thing maybe?
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 21:58 (twelve years ago) link
xpost - sorry -
oh, my original third was dennis potter
op: 'characterized by spartan production values (which are generally made a virtue of)'
i was just trying to work out whether you could draw a line around the era being talked about in terms of whether the bbc was using video or film but i don't think it quite works
but i think mb. the organising principle is that (if we accept for the moment that a lot of the effect of horror -- well, of this sort of creepiness -- is the whole unheimlich palimpsest thing, the idea that this stuff underwrites quotidian experience) this is a period where people in tv are starting to know how the conventions of tv drama have settled down, and are willing to game them -- tho not to the level of, say, the totally silly baker stories with the candy monster, or of 'ghostwatch'
so the formal characteristics of this particular vibe are on some level identical to their thematic ones, is what lends it its odd power
however i am mostly familiar with this stuff at second hand so i may well be talking out of my arse here
― thomp, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:01 (twelve years ago) link
I've mentioned this before on other threads, but the Open University mnemonic is my all time pant crapping childhood memory and for what reason I still don't know.
― the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:01 (twelve years ago) link
The flatness of 70's video cameras goes a long way towards the vibe imho.
― the crap gig in the sky (MaresNest), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:02 (twelve years ago) link
yeah I thought about Potter, particularly Blue Remembered Hills. Altho he is arguably working in a less explicitly supernatural way - even in something like Brimstone and Treacle - i think he is exploiting similar themes of the uncanny. Rather than Invasion, which the UK didn't really experience during WWII, I wonder how many of the writers were expressing anxieties about displacement, and specifically the displacement of city kids evacuated to a sinister-seeming countryside during the war. as well as the rearrangement of the cities caused by bombing etc.
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:08 (twelve years ago) link
and I suddenly remember Penda's Fen which again is a deal better than the campier end of this stuff but rocks the England's Ancient Evil line to brilliant effect. No DVD apparently and i seem to have agonisingly lost my avi of it but copies are out there i think.
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:20 (twelve years ago) link
and a quick wiki search reveals that it was written by the guy who wrote Artemis 81 and the adaptation of James' "The Ash Tree" so duh
― bell hops (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:22 (twelve years ago) link
Well, a huge part of this aesthetic for me is the use of video for interiors and film for exteriors. When I saw Doctor Who on PBS as a kid that was one of the most immediately jarring and almost distancing elements for me. I obviously didn't know technically why it was happening but I remember that distinct feeling that parts of it felt like some kind of old educational documentary and other parts felt like a really bad public access TV show.
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:28 (twelve years ago) link
Or actually, a soap opera is a better point of reference for that weird live video look.
― wk, Sunday, 1 May 2011 22:30 (twelve years ago) link
If you want something scary from the 1970s, you can't beat public service information films. This still gives me the creeps, 38 years after seeing it for the first time.
― Cluster the boots (Billy Dods), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:05 (twelve years ago) link
I wonder how many of the writers were expressing anxieties about displacement, and specifically the displacement of city kids evacuated to a sinister-seeming countryside during the war. as well as the rearrangement of the cities caused by bombing etc.
Interesting idea. One thing that strikes me is the sinister sort of cuts both ways -- you get this sense of lurking pagan forces, but also the idea that "normal," middle-class postwar life is fundamentally hollow, covering over all this other stuff. Which is just normal suburban anxiety in a way, but takes a different form in a country and culture with so much history (as opposed to American suburban anxiety, where the suburbs are hollow because there's nothing underneath, no history, no anything -- or if there is, it's something recent and specific, like the Amityville Horror).
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:12 (twelve years ago) link
This still gives me the creeps, 38 years after seeing it for the first time.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 1 May 2011 23:14 (twelve years ago) link
but takes a different form in a country and culture with so much history (as opposed to American suburban anxiety, where the suburbs are hollow because there's nothing underneath, no history, no anything -- or if there is, it's something recent and specific, like the Amityville Horror).
yeah, that's what i was getting at earlier. occurred to me when thinking about the 70s-era US boom in occult-themed horror - for example, the brotherhood of satan, which i watched just a few days ago. it's set in a small, isolated town that seems to be collapsing in an orgy of unmotivated violence. turns out that a secret satanic coven is behind things, no surprise, but you never get the sense that the looming evil, however ancient the forces it might draw on, has any real history or deep connection to place. it seems, in fact, more like a foreign invader - or a commie/druggie plot from within, not to put too fine a point on it...
rosemary's baby, perhaps because it was directed by an "old world" european, positively reeks of occult history, but here even history becomes a sort of threat from without. the movie consequently seems like a battle between a placeless and superstitious anciency and the ostensibly rational modern world. to pare it down even further: between corrupt wisdom and innocent naivete, age and youth, europe and america.
upthread, wk says that, "the ancient indian curse seems like such a cliche that it would be impossible to list how many times it was used," but i'm not so sure about that. it's certainly a familiar device, but i'd hardly say that it's dominated the imaginations of american horror filmmakers over the last 50 years. and films like pet sematary and creepshow 2 (both stephen king adaptations, oddly) have often used the idea of the "indian curse" without any perceptible investment in the significance of history or landscape. poltergeist seems more interesting in this regard, given the political implications and the eventual eradication of suburban property as a sort of penitential sacrifice. then there's the shining, which allows any number of readings, but remains maddeningly vague.
i like the idea of an american horror film in which a presence or purpose coded into the landscape, something that predates european settlement, enacts itself in ways that destablize "ordinary" american life. maybe not because the presence/purpose is evil or aggrieved, but simply because its ends are different. there must be examples of this, but i can't think of any offhand...
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Monday, 2 May 2011 06:33 (twelve years ago) link
i dunno. maybe i'm giving pet sematary short shrift. though it's not as direct as poltergeist in its suggestion that american comfort is built on genocide, it does invite similar interpretations. the contemporary nuclear family existing in a state of constant existential peril, threatened from one side by the very things that supply its material comforts (the road with its long-haul trucks), and from the other by a terrifying forest that conceals an explicitly forbidden history, stinking of death.
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Monday, 2 May 2011 06:43 (twelve years ago) link
The Dark and Lonely Water, Billy Dods up here is sending shivers down my spine... Perfect example!
― RIP Brodie, aspiring bellhop boy, 4 months old (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 2 May 2011 07:50 (twelve years ago) link
voiced by donald pleasance too...
― koogs, Monday, 2 May 2011 11:29 (twelve years ago) link
Even Disney got in on this -- Watcher in the Woods is probably the first movie like this that I saw growing up in Ohio. It was really really scary at the time.
Also, The Shining to thread (re: uh oh burial grounds).
Oh, and speaking of Bette Davis, what about The Dark Secret of Harvest Home?! (The book was really good, too btw)
― deez m'uts (La Lechera), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:15 (twelve years ago) link
The cover is pretty cool -- has the same most dreadful sacrifice theme as Wicker Man, only it's set in a quasi Peyton Place sort of atmosphere. The Widow Fortune is sort of like Lord Summerisle, I guess?http://worldsstrongestlibrarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/harvest-home-208x300.jpg
― deez m'uts (La Lechera), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:18 (twelve years ago) link
Haha, we own so many of these things. In fact, just watched Penda's Fen again last night for film club. Such a strange and beautiful film.
I think the Britain = internal/forgotten histories/nature and USA = external/eradicated history/urbanity thing is spot on, actually. I want to agree that the Indian burial ground plot is a very common trope but can't think of many more examples than those already mentioned. I guess America does also have the natural spookiness of vast desert landscapes etc but I'm unsure if that's *uncanny* or something different. I guess it's less centred on the homeliness of the small British island and more on exploration of the unknown?
― emil.y, Monday, 2 May 2011 13:29 (twelve years ago) link
feel like the vibe y'all are talking about got expressed in the US via dystopian future fantasies like phase iv and the like
― don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:44 (twelve years ago) link
for some reason equivalent US examples I can think of are TV movies
dark night of the scarecrowdon't be afraid of the darkcrowhaven farm
― don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 13:48 (twelve years ago) link
thinking of some other "ancient evil" type US films of the 70s
burnt offeringslet's scare jessica to deaththe otherlemora: a child's tale of the supernatural
― don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 14:03 (twelve years ago) link
I saw some of these series in the early 80's, and from the perspective of an Italian 10-yr old they seemed extremely eerie, exotic and mysterious. Sapphire & Steel and Children of the Stones were, for lack of better words, just terrifying, but as pointed out upthread even series like The Avengers seemed to have a certain, not-quite-there aura that was puzzling and fascinating.
How was Tomorrow People? I think I saw it, but I'm not sure about it.
― Marco Damiani, Monday, 2 May 2011 14:34 (twelve years ago) link
that tomorrow people sequence was heavily nostalgic for me but I can't remember a damn thing about the show itself
― don't judge a book by its jpg (Edward III), Monday, 2 May 2011 15:17 (twelve years ago) link
Yeah. I was thinking Westworld, e.g.
― something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Monday, 2 May 2011 15:32 (twelve years ago) link
The closest i can think of from the US might be Twin Peaks. There was a lot of explicit nastiness going on which doesn't necessarily fit easily with the theme but the underlying idea of something ancient and evil in the woods intruding into small-town life has a lot of parallels. It's interesting as i don' think it was ever fixed at a point in history (native American curse, etc). I got the impression it predated that, in a way i'd normally associate with British or European mythology.
― I LOVE BELARUS (ShariVari), Monday, 2 May 2011 16:21 (twelve years ago) link
^ very good call
― normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Monday, 2 May 2011 17:41 (twelve years ago) link
Looking to present a night of creepy-ass UK children's programming from the 70s/80s. Can anybody give me suggestions as to available stuff? This would be much easier if I could just plug a laptop into the video projector, but as it is, I'm stuck with DVDs.
I'm thinking stuff like the Tomorrow People or, if available(probably not), Children of the Stones or The Third Eye.
― Steam Sale Jonesin' (kingfish), Sunday, 8 July 2012 23:14 (eleven years ago) link
― coopflaggypost (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 8 July 2012 23:28 (eleven years ago) link
Ace of Wands
― Bob Six, Sunday, 8 July 2012 23:35 (eleven years ago) link
now on DVD!
― piscesx, Monday, 9 July 2012 01:59 (eleven years ago) link
Looking to present a night of creepy-ass UK children's programming from the 70s/80s.
Where are you doing this because I'll book a plane ticket right now. When they used to show that weird block of UK shows on Nickelodeon it was pretty much my favorite thing on television.
― Amoeba, Fish, Monkey, Shame (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Monday, 9 July 2012 03:22 (eleven years ago) link
Northeast Portland, naturally.
Yeah, Nickelodeon showing these in the early 80s during the Peter Davison era on PBS were a source of immense terror growing up.
― Steam Sale Jonesin' (kingfish), Monday, 9 July 2012 05:04 (eleven years ago) link
children of the stones is (was) out on dvd, i have a copy...
and an amazon search for them turns up a lot of stuff in a similar vein, Shadows, Owl Service, TP, S&S...
― koogs, Monday, 9 July 2012 08:42 (eleven years ago) link
see also the various public information films of the time... BFI have recently put out a dvd...
― koogs, Monday, 9 July 2012 08:43 (eleven years ago) link
"Follow follow follow follow follow woof woof WOOF!Follow that dog, woof woofFollow that dog, woof woofsolving crime is an assetwhich aint too bad for a long eared bassettFollow that dog, woof woofdon't follow that cat, meow meow..."
Cheapest recorded tv theme tune ever?
― Mark G, Monday, 9 July 2012 09:02 (eleven years ago) link
This seems to be a cheap source of public information shorts: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Charley-animated-classics-Information-archives/dp/B0001HK0JI/ref=pd_sim_d_h__1Lonely Water very fitting. Apparently no Apaches on there tho' :(
― woof, Monday, 9 July 2012 10:43 (eleven years ago) link
here's the BFI version, with apaches
― koogs, Monday, 9 July 2012 11:28 (eleven years ago) link
― Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Monday, 9 July 2012 12:25 (eleven years ago) link
I remember that thing! Not particularly strongly but I don't recall being creeped out, although it is fucking weird.
The ugly-wuglies scene in The Enchanted Castle by Elizabeth Nesbit definitely qualifies, although the rest of it is distinctly uncreepy. No videos available.
― ledge, Monday, 9 July 2012 16:42 (eleven years ago) link
The Stone Tape
― DavidM, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 11:09 (eleven years ago) link
My search for ugly wuglies brought me here. Totally agree with that creepy quality that came up in 70s/80s stuff on UK TV. Good call on Nosey Bonk, Ugly Wuglies and Sapphire and Steele.I'd also add to that list:
- the "Boy from Space" episodes on Look and Read- Hickory House. Some kid of possessed house where presenters interacted with an alive elephantine cushion and a mop end with a red nose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu7w0BeZ7IY- the big-eye-browed serial killer narrator on Words and Pictures- Vision On(with Tony Hart/Sylvester Mccoy) - furry alive caterpillar things darting around and a guy with a white-line painter paiting pictures.- Davros from Dr Who - I once had a highly pleasant dream where he was torturing me with hyperdermic needles.- The blonde-mulletted hippie woman off Music Time.
These are probably completely off-topic but creeped me out also:
- Wizbit, though it's later and not quite in the same league as the above stuff. Still the disturbing product of a deranged criminal mind.- The Dick Emery show full stop.- most of the BBC2 Open University stuff I inadvertently stumbled on in the 70s/80s- Horror films I shouldn't have been allowed to watch: The Ghoul, Horror Express, Island of Terror, The House that Bled to Death- The Belfast Gang on Why Don't You(sorry but they just did)
― Geronibload, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 21:23 (ten years ago) link
Oh and I forgot Wurzel Gummedge, though I was never a fan - but the bits I saw were deeply DEEPLY disturbing. Always found it odd any kid could in all honesty enjoy that messed-up horror show.
― Geronibload, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 21:42 (ten years ago) link
~How did I miss this fucking thread? This is totally my thing. Just got the Wicker Man s/t on vinyl and have been rinsing it.
― dog latin, Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:11 (ten years ago) link
What was the kids show with a puppet called Pob who used to blow on the screen?Also, WRT kids TV, Noseybonk from Jigsaw
And a recent honourable mention (even though it's set in Italy) - Berberian Sound Studio
― dog latin, Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:14 (ten years ago) link
oh we mentioned noseybonk.used to scare the shitejesus out of me.
― dog latin, Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:15 (ten years ago) link
What was the kids show with a puppet called Pob who used to blow on the screen?
love this thread.
― So: The Answers (or something), Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:24 (ten years ago) link
"If in my programme you would be,Wind the wool and follow me.Wind it slowly, wind it fast,A secret you will find at last."
I mean, what. the. fuck. If that's not some sort of pagan incantation I don't know.
― dog latin, Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:28 (ten years ago) link
*jimmy saville reference*
― bbag bbag my nebby shot me down (darraghmac), Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:02 (ten years ago) link
A friend of mine posted this sequence from The Boy from Space a couple of days ago on Facebook with the comment "This gave me nightmares as a kid!" Clicking on the link brought back a weird rush of nostalgia mixed with half-remembered terror:
― bizarro gazzara, Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:54 (ten years ago) link
Dammit, buggered the embed there, sorry. It's worth watching!
Good call on the Boy from Space link and Pob.Here's one I forgot. OK so it's way O/T cos it's Spanish, but it is 70s and one of the creepiest things I remember seeing on TV in the 70s.Took me an age to track down cos I only remembered imagery and nothing else. Didn't even realise it was Spanish, then a guy I worked with mentioned his Spanish girlfriend had seen this creepy short ... and I was reunited.It's called La Cabina:
Once again, how did a kid younger than 10 get to watch something like this!?!?!? The TV was my babysitter back then.Oh and while I'm here - - again way O/T - but can anyone remember a film. My memory of it is sketchy but here's what I *think* it was:
- black and white- I'd guess 40s or 50s and British- This is really sketchy but... I think a man looks at a painting of a big manor house, and is transported into the painting/house. He proceeds to encounters the strange residents, including an old guy who captures people and makes them trophies in the same way you'd caprture butterflies - something to do with sticking a pin through their abdomen, paralysing them and mounting them in a case. And he wants to do it to this new guy, but can't remember if he got away or not. Maybe I had to go shopping with my mum to Bishops and missed the end(!)
― Geronibload, Friday, 1 March 2013 01:27 (ten years ago) link
Sincerely sorry but OCD and this thread don't combine well.Some more I thought of more in line with ogirinal theme of this thread:
OK so I was going to add these but I just searched and see they were already mentioned:
Quatermass 1979 Series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_JOM-m5iUYWitchfinder General - film with Vincent Price (I own this on DVD but can't bring myself to watch it again it's *that* ewwwwwww - beautiful cinematography though it has to be said.)Children of the Stones
I think this also qualifies though:The One Game
And these definitely fall under general British weirdness factor:ExcaliburMr PyeDominic HydeThe Phantom Raspbery Blower / The Worm that Turned (both mini-serials that featured in The Two Ronnies)
Amazes me they don't make some cheap wins and replay this stuff from time to time instead of some of the bad new stuff.
― Geronibload, Friday, 1 March 2013 20:22 (ten years ago) link
I am watching The Wicker Man right now after a chance evening conversation about it.
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Friday, 1 March 2013 21:46 (ten years ago) link
― seasonal dog served on a bed of creative latin (dog latin), Saturday, 2 March 2013 12:27 (ten years ago) link
Great posts Geronibload. Will check these
― seasonal dog served on a bed of creative latin (dog latin), Saturday, 2 March 2013 12:41 (ten years ago) link
that creepy gruesome animated sinbad by karel zeman:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_g5Kx7T4o&list=FLnOUBk1MGiej9OQigpX8B9w&index=77with disabled green alcoholic piggyback abuser @ 24 mins
― massaman gai, Saturday, 2 March 2013 15:54 (ten years ago) link
aw poop i was doing my very damnedest NOT to embed that fer cryin out loud !
― massaman gai, Saturday, 2 March 2013 15:56 (ten years ago) link
From the Scarfolk Council blog, which might be of interest to readers of this thread.
Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay."
― bizarro gazzara, Saturday, 2 March 2013 18:25 (ten years ago) link
I looked at that and although I liked a lot of it at times it was trying way too hard.
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:02 (ten years ago) link
Aw, I love it!
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:14 (ten years ago) link
I think calling the guy 'Spangles' in the tourist information poster pushed me over the edge, although I laughed at "so mote it be".
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:27 (ten years ago) link
Nah, I agree with you, aldo. There's some good bits in it, but otherwise... eh.
― emil.y, Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:28 (ten years ago) link
I guess "wacky" doesn't really gel with "creepy".
― emil.y, Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:29 (ten years ago) link
sure it does, it's called the 70s.
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:53 (ten years ago) link
None of the stuff listed here is wacky in that way. Campy, maybe. But not student japes zaniness.
― emil.y, Saturday, 2 March 2013 20:56 (ten years ago) link
the scarfolk blog is totally of a kind with the comedy books from 70s england I remember being all over our house, although yeah it's a different strain than the stuff that's the main focus of this thread. definitely related though.
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:01 (ten years ago) link
Well, yeah! It's riffing on the stuff that is on this thread, totally. But the tonality it chooses sets it up as external to this stuff. It's a parody more than it's a pastiche.
― emil.y, Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:04 (ten years ago) link
It's like Ghost Box (which, although I like in principle I also feel is a bit over-egged) done for comedy by the Charlie Brooker that's completely run out of ideas.
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:08 (ten years ago) link
See, I don't think that GB is over-done. They don't often write massive backstories, their presentation is mostly kept to sound and design, and the stories they have are firmly based in prosaic realism, not zany surreality.
― emil.y, Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:15 (ten years ago) link
See I've tried, but a record like... We Are All Pan's People, for argument's sake, just turned me off.
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:22 (ten years ago) link
I like that Scarfolk blog - the posters are really well done. Great idea.Also, talking of parodies, I assume you've all seen Garth Marenghi's Dark Place? God I loved that show but they only made 6. Definitely an 80s parody though, not 70s, but more importantly it parodies low budget, weird horror - albeit badly acted, produced, directed, ...Parts of it remind me of some of the Hammer stuff, things like The One Game, Dr Who, Children of the Stones, but all ridiculously tongue in cheek. I suppose having lived in Romford helps too!
― Geronibload, Saturday, 2 March 2013 21:52 (ten years ago) link
Garth Marenghi is far closer to the likes of Shaun Hutson and Guy N Smith than this thread imo.
― Troughton-masked Replicant (aldo), Saturday, 2 March 2013 22:04 (ten years ago) link
Oh I don't know ... "characterized by spartan production values (which are generally made a virtue of), often a surface sense of middle-class normalcy masking something sinister, and also often a hidden authoritarian and/or supernatural power."Yeah definite paralells between those authors and the author in the show.
― Geronibload, Saturday, 2 March 2013 22:51 (ten years ago) link
Think I'll build a fire and watch some of these tonight... not much winter left down here, could be the last chance.
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Saturday, 2 March 2013 23:22 (ten years ago) link
'la cabina' is a proper little nightmare, thanks for posting it geronibload.
― So: The Answers (or something), Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:48 (ten years ago) link
Hey So' - yeah I'm sorry about that. Imagine seeing it as a kid though! It's so O/T from the original thread I shouldn't have posted it here really - it just popped into my head while I was thinking of the other stuff.
― Geronibload, Sunday, 3 March 2013 20:06 (ten years ago) link
Just want to call attention to this show, as followers of this thread may dig it:The Returned (French supernatural drama on Channel 4)
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 28 June 2013 09:19 (ten years ago) link
Can't believe no-one on this thread's mentioned The Changes. Super creeped me out as a kid.
― my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Friday, 28 June 2013 09:42 (ten years ago) link
http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/styles/disk-product-image/public/disk/robin-redbreast-dvd.jpg http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/supernatural-1977-001-dvd-pack-shot-212x300.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BMBNJWspL._SY300_.jpg
^ all out at the end of the month, but i've never seen any of them myself. any good?
― gotta lol geir (NickB), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:00 (nine years ago) link
someone tell me that's steven stapleton in robin redbreast
― gotta lol geir (NickB), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:01 (nine years ago) link
Robin Redbreast has not been repeated since 1971, and yet is often recalled by viewers of the time, probably because of its eerie atmosphere, and particularly for its horrifying and surreal finale.
― I like to tackle hard and am crazy (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:06 (nine years ago) link
Not seen any of those, let me know if they're good.
― emil.y, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:07 (nine years ago) link
its eerie atmosphere, and particularly for its horrifying and surreal finale
sounds like my journey to work tbh
― gotta lol geir (NickB), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:08 (nine years ago) link
anyway, if it really hasn't been repeated since 1971 then i'll be surprised if anybody here's seen it. the cover made me want to not read any more of that synopsis tho so i don't spoil it.
― I like to tackle hard and am crazy (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:09 (nine years ago) link
Another couple of things that are coming out as part of this BFI gothic thing are Schalcken the Painter, and Scary Stories ("a collection of creepy kids films from the Children’s Film Foundation featuring The Man from Nowhere, Haunters of the Deep and Out of the Darkness") *blank look*
― gotta lol geir (NickB), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:11 (nine years ago) link
Dead Of Night - The Exorcism is on YouTube.
― Inte Regina Lund eller nån, mitt namn är (ShariVari), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:13 (nine years ago) link
always glad to see this great thread revived!
― Brad C., Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:18 (nine years ago) link
Robin Redbreast is being touted as 'the folk-horror precursor to the Wicker Man'. The alternative cover for it:
― gotta lol geir (NickB), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:19 (nine years ago) link
saw this one recently. kim stanley's face in lighting is v creepy.
― JEFF 22 (Matt P), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:24 (nine years ago) link
I like how http://scarfolk.blogspot.ca/ satirizes these aesthetics and is sometimes legitimately creepy in its own right
― brio, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:48 (nine years ago) link
ha! oh damn - must read whole thread
― brio, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 21:49 (nine years ago) link
I love Seance, Matt P.
― emil.y, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 22:55 (nine years ago) link
Not sure whether this has been mentioned yet but series 3 of the League of Gentlemen is such a rich and under appreciated exercise in this style
― Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 23:39 (nine years ago) link
In other news I've started watching the Children of the Stones and it's great!!
― Pingu Unchained (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 23:42 (nine years ago) link
Since this thread has been bumped, I'd like to put forth an idea of mine for discussion: Am I the only one who sees the movie Hausu (1977) as a Japanese culture-bound manifestation of similar uncanniness?
― Word Salad Username (j.lu), Thursday, 10 October 2013 02:38 (nine years ago) link
Dead Of Night is ok. I had seen the first episode before so skipped it, but from memory it was quite good. The second story is rather uninteresting but Anna Massey is good value in the third.
Struggling with Supernatural. Two episodes in and it's heavy Gothic pastiche with little to recommend it. Maybe it will pick up.
― Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Sunday, 24 November 2013 09:44 (nine years ago) link
In order to pitch in to this excellent thread I can only add that The Omega Factor was not just shown in scotland, though it may have been a northern thing as I was living in Darlington at the time.
Am I wrong to think that some of the uncanniness in the many HTV productions persisted into Robin of Sherwood
― Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Sunday, 24 November 2013 10:04 (nine years ago) link
Ah, glad someone revived this thread, I can never remember what it's called exactly and is difficult to search for. Have bookmarked now.
I too have watched DEAD OF NIGHT this week - appropriate in this DOCTOR WHO anniversary week, as there are some deep old school Who connections (Innes Lloyd, Louis Marks, Robert Holmes). Perhaps the creepiest thing about the three surviving episodes are their opening credits - totally 'hommaged' in BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO - although the first story on the disc, 'The Exorcism', def. has its moments. There's a great dinner party scene where the food and drink suddenly turns inedible: there's a kind of marxist subtext throughout, with past crimes against the poor revenged on today's middle classes (though the only way the underclasses get to speak here is literally through the (possessed) voice of the ruling class). Both 'The Exorcism' and 'The Weeping Woman' (the one w/ Anna Massey) belong to the 'property horror' genre, typified by the later AMITYVILLE HORROR series - nice, middle class houses becomes sites of trauma and oppression.
ROBIN REDBREAST also fits into this genre, while at the same time totally anticipating THE WICKER MAN with its emphasis on an outsider unwittingly drawn into pagan ritual and sacrifice. Bernard Hepton gives a particularly creepy performance as a local history expert ("I'm a reading man") and some of the black and white cinematography is really atmospheric. It's a keeper.
― Ward Fowler, Sunday, 24 November 2013 10:31 (nine years ago) link
I dunno if this is the right place, but god did I enjoy this:
― polyphonic, Tuesday, 3 December 2013 23:53 (nine years ago) link
Wow, saw Robin Redbreast last night and really really enjoyed. The b&w print makes it hard to guess it was from as late as 1970 though. It's been a while since I was on the folk-horror tip but I think I might have to rummage around some more again.
― ineloquentwow (Craigo Boingo), Sunday, 26 January 2014 14:10 (nine years ago) link
Supernatural is mostly great so far (6/8 watched). 'Mr Nightingale' and 'Viktoria' especially.
― Slight damage to cover on top corner (chewed by a kitten) (Craigo Boingo), Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:25 (nine years ago) link
I'm enjoying it a lot, but it's not particularly creepy in the sense of this thread. It's too fun. 'Viktoria' maybe comes closest, and is written by Lake rather than Muller, but even then it's more of a romp.
― emil.y, Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:43 (nine years ago) link
Also, yes, it's period gothic rather than contemporary - most of the things that fit here are contemporaneous w/ the era of broadcast, but permeated with a mystic/mythic ancient type spook.
― emil.y, Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:45 (nine years ago) link
Didn't even know there was a TV version of Red Shift, so v. excited abt that:
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:26 (nine years ago) link
watched Children of the Stones recently on Youtube and loved it so fuckin' much. Had never heard of it before this year. You guys (teh britishes) are lucky to have had such staggeringly strange TV in that decade. Jesus christ I want the soundtrack for CotS so bad! Of course none has ever been released. I ripped the audio from the main title but what I really want is the great choral stuff for when the happy-dayers are in their ritual circles.
― a chap could lose his bearings in weather like this (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 11 June 2014 14:51 (nine years ago) link
The Boy From Space is out there now
― Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Friday, 29 August 2014 00:45 (nine years ago) link
― Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Friday, 29 August 2014 00:46 (nine years ago) link
Also "Red Shift", which is all kinds of bonkers:
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:05 (eight years ago) link
Still not sure if The Prisoner belongs on this thread, and the fact that it's been scarcely discussed suggests other people agree with me.
― ... and a Martin Parr photo essay (Tom D.), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:34 (eight years ago) link
― Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 01:27 (eight years ago) link
this thread hits the spot - in fact I think Ward Fowler recommended it when we met up and were discussing some of this stuff in Glasgow a while back.
some great recommendations here (still haven't seen Robin Redbreast.
I've got a sort of theoretical model which is horribly generalised but goes something like this, so bear with me (er, this turned out to be a long post, sorry):
At the end of the 19th Century there was a schism in horror/ghost writing. Arthur Machen is the key person here, with his mixture of malign pastoral (that is to say it is not edenic or supernal), chthonic malevolent faeries (almost certainly versions of the Celtic so-called 'barrow-folk'), Roman syncretism (displacing chthonic, and 'spiritual'/of the stars), and the tentacle, or black degradation, itself a part of the Neoplatonic chain-of-being expressed by by the Silurian mage, Thomas Vaughan, as I wrote elsewhere:
The 17th century mystic Thomas Vaughan, like Machen a Silurian Welsh, wrote of the chain of being where ‘beneath all degrees of sense there is a certain horrible, inexpressible darkness. The magicians called it tenebrae activae.’ This crudely sentient and primal darkness is like a canker that infects first soul and then flesh. So it is that Helen Vaughan in The Great God Pan, Mrs Black in The Inmost Light, and Francis Leicester in The Novel of the White Powder all end up ‘a dark and putrid mass, seething with corruption and hideous rottenness, neither liquid nor solid, but melting and changing before our eyes, and bubbling with unctuous oily bubbles like boiling pitch.’
^ great chain of being, see base for boiling pitch
The interplay between these is complicated, and it's worth saying that MR James had also had a very effective tentacle in, I think, Count Magnus.
Arthur Machen's important for this genealogy is because the American journalist, Vincent Starrett, who had a fascination with Machen, wrote an article on him, and was friends with HP Lovecraft. It was in this way that the tentacle stretched across the Atlantic, and in HP Lovecraft's hands multiplied into a mythos with, like Machen, separate chthonic and stellar aspects.
Crucially it seems to me are the visual elements of Lovecraft - much English ghost story writing was quite reticent in this respect (MR James in particular nests his horror in shadows or heavily framed narrative/pictorial devices). Machen did visualise, but the moment of revelation was usually also the end of the piece. Lovecraft was all MORE TENTACLES GIVE ME MORE I MUST DESCRIBE THE UNDESCRIBABLE TERROR. Sometimes I feel this is a division between horror and ghost writing, though I'm not sure that's right (horror writing doesn't always heavily visualise). What I *do* think is that heavily visual element in Lovecraft (and subsequently horror writing in general) lent itself extremely well to comic books and film when they came along. It became part of popular culture.
At the same time in the UK, Machen had dropped his malign pastoral, and started concentrating on supernal stuff, Grail legend, still with elements of the little folk, but without the black degradation - he himself wrote 'Here then was my real failure; I translated awe, at worst awfulness, into evil.' Completely RONG of course, but n/m, point is it took him in a different direction that was characteristic of English supernatural writing generally.
I've got loads of gaps here, but as far as I can tell, English supernatural writing was free of visual horror throughout the first half of the 20th Century. The supernatural pastoral strain is extremely strong. Writers like diverse figures like John Betjeman, Denton Welch, the composer John Ireland, Jocelyn Brooke, Michael Powell (P&Pressburger) were influenced and were fans of the uncanny pastoral. Edwardian (and later) children's writing is full of it (E Nesbitt's Psammead is a chthonic fairy, the Hobbits are barrow folk, there's a fuckton of Graal stuff). Walter de la Mare belongs here too. It sat closer to high culture than it did popular culture. The reticence I mentioned earlier means there's a 'writing of unease' or even 'the unpleasant' (such an English word) - Eleanor Smith wrote some good gypsy/circus based stuff, Roald Dahl's short stories probably fit here. There's a very good set of stories by the young Elizabeth Jane Howard (with Robert Aickman) called We Are For the Dark. This is a genre probably best described as the 'macabre'.
I don't think the effect of the two wars can be dismissed here - the First World War, like the Boer war, saw a mass level of death of youth, which resulted in a fuck load of spiritism, table tapping, ghosts summoned up by grieving parents. Reading Edwardian children's fantasy both wars saw a lot of displacement to the countryside (for different reasons - wealthy children moved out 'while Father's away' in the WWI stories, evacuation in WWII obv) which perpetuated the pastoral - rus v urb distinctions.
John Wyndham I feel is essentially pastoral - it was a criticism I think of Brian Aldiss on JW that his novels always basically ended up with a return to a pastoral eden. The village of the Midwich Cuckoos is essential for the claustrophobia, but is also a v English Victorian genre location - I liked clemenza's point above though about US suburbia, which is often available for parables of uniformity, but i think that is different to John Wyndham's use here.
Chocky is the great counter-example.
John Christopher's incredibly bleak and effective The Death of Grass is also an eco/pastoral catastrophe.
In the US, it feels like science, the military, nuclear power, and space exploration are the crucial WWII elements - the stellar and alien precedes space exploration of course, and I'd suggest it's essentially the English druidic/mystical strain (a Romantic crypto-history), filtered through Machen-Lovecraftian monstrosity, with the religious elements removed. It becomes v difficult and probably meaningless to separate out much horror and science-fiction in the US post-war.
there's a quote I picked up the other day, which was originally in The Gentleman's Magazine, which sums up the British status for me:
“In England, everything of unknown origin is instinctively assigned to one of four - Julius Caesar, King Arthur, the Druids or the Devil.”
— TG Bonney - The Gentleman’s Magazine 1866
That was referring to the hazy archaeological theories of stone age monuments and remains, but such theories were extremely strong in late British Romanticism, and persisted culturally, so that you could say that of an awful lot of
The UK television that's mentioned in this thread sits firmly in this strain. Penda's Fen, which I will have to watch again cos it's great - v strong pastoral both musically - Elgar - and spiritually - pagan loca sacra. Nigel Kneale is central here. He introduces US science fiction elements to his horror, pulling together the two lines that had split early on: Quatermass and the Pit is a direct SF interpretation of Machen (separate strands of chthonic little folk and interstellar horror), the final Quatermass picks up on the popular revival of Neolithic monument theorising and adds the Quatermass-UK-tradition of nuclear and radio research to the mix. Extremely effective. See also Children of the Stones and Kneale's The Stone Tape. These are all the elements of that late Victorian Romanticism/archaeological theory, but with the crucial innovation of bringing in science-fiction. This gives brings British horror up-to-date in a way it hadn't really been, and also gives the science-fiction a very British flavour, that I'd located at the centre of this thread.
Kneale's Beasts sits somewhere between those Tales of Unease and traditional horror - Baby is the most remarkable of these imo.
plenty of gaps here: i'm interested in any 'ah no but because' responses. also interested to know about exceptions to early 20th C British horror writing theory, and also more about that yoking together of SCIENCE+ANCIENT HISTORY (or Romantic history - caesar, arthur, druids, devil bit).
Clearly The Avengers and The Prisoner don't fit into this - and I STILL haven't seen Sapphire and Steel, for shame.
― thomp, Sunday, May 1, 2011 9:55 PM (3 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
i need to read these! can you remember where they are?
For what it's worth, I see The Fall along with Nigel Kneale as the other great example of bringing English supernatural writing into modern times - I wrote more about this on The Fall ballot thread.
For the third great post-war figure - JG Ballard - I'd also say much of his writing deals explicitly with versions of pastoral.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:14 (eight years ago) link
let's try that chain of being pic again:
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:15 (eight years ago) link
> The ugly-wuglies scene in The Enchanted Castle by Elizabeth Nesbit definitely qualifies, although the rest of it is distinctly uncreepy. No videos available.
― koogs, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:42 (eight years ago) link
watched some sapphire and steel today. steel's such an arsehole. assignment 2 (the railway station one) is fantastic.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 20:28 (eight years ago) link
Very glad you found this thread Fizzles. I believe that Rob Young is working on a bk about all this kind of tv stuff.
I recently read some Machen for the first time and was struck by how in The White People, the main bulk of the narrative reads like Joycean stream of consciousness, complete with a strong female/erotic narrative pov.
I want to insert into yr history, somewhere, the English working class roughies, tho' I don't really know much anywhere near enough about Penny Dreadfuls etc to offer any kind of content analysis. But somebody like James Herbert seems to me as 'modern' in his way as Ballard. Herbert really brought gore cinema aesthetics - which are of course predicated on SHOWING YOU IT ALL - to the previously rather gentlemanly literary tradition. His early books were published by New English Library and have some of the same sensibility as a 'Richard Allen' - urban, crude, exploitative, some tough goddamm stuff - but also very flash and conceptual, as befitting Herbert's background in advertising. Of course, as he got more respectable and technically more polished, he ending up writing rather ho-hum haunted house stories and the like, but his first four or five books all packed a real punch and are, in their way, inimitable (tho' not, I concede, particularly ineffable - something like The Rats deliberately pisses on the English pastoral tradition, and goes out of its way to avoid shadows, mystery, the spiritual-cosmic.)
This kind of disreputable/cynical/outsiderish attitude is all over the roughest/cheapest English horror movies, from all eras. To mention Michael Powell again, the early Soho-set scenes in Peeping Tom, complete with an appearance from English nudie queen Pamela Green, are Powell kissing off his more whimsical pastoral past in favour of Freud, modernity, inner horror (Anglo-Amalgamated, the studio behind Peeping Tom, also gave us Horrors of the Black Museum and Circus of Horrors, cheapies that capitalised on, but did not emulate, Hammer's fairytale Gothics, which were already looking a little...tame...by 1960, and Psycho/Peeing Tom).
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 21:34 (eight years ago) link
The White People is great - that stream of consciousness side of things is very heavily deployed in the very strange The Hill of Dreams, which is not really horror, but an interior monologue of mental obsession and delirium. I think The White People is considered Machen horror canon though, and I'd forgotten about that main narrative ... it's a diary isn't it? being so fluid and childlike - very effectively so iirc.
James Herbert! yes. I tend to dismiss Clive Barker as 'effectively American' in his manner, but I'd completely forgotten about James Herbert, who is definitely UK/London. Only read the first Rats, and that when I was about 12, so should go back and have a look. Haven't seen Horrors of the Black Museum of Circus of Horrors, but will see if I can seek them out.
mentioning Penny Dreadfuls does make me wonder what was around in the way of horror for station paperbacks at the time of stuff like Bulldog Drummond. Seems hard to imagine there wasn't anything - feels like it might've been Yellow Peril or Rider Haggard stuff.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 22:56 (eight years ago) link
Guy N Smith is, I think, the touchstone for the Richard Allen comparison (acknowledging Crabs probably only became publishable because of Rats). Ramsay Campbell stands fairly tall as the primary Brit involved in tying folk horror and Lovecraftian HORROR <SHUDDER> together, and Colin Wilson's fiction works are definitely in this field - I have a real soft spot for Return of the Lloigor, which plays heavily on the sense of isolation in the 'wrong' community on the Welsh/English border.
Horror seems to have taken a dip in the post-WWI era, or at least not have been pushed into the mass market. Yellow Peril, or at least the expansion of the concept into other 'unexplored' areas seems to have been the main theme and it's probably out of that we see the first reference to Zombies in The Magic Island. They caught on quickly, especially in the US and probably because of their proximity to Haiti (leaving aside the whole aspect of preying on fears that you couldn't know whether the black people around you weren't from there) - so much so that White Zombie was released just three years later.
There's probably a thematic link with the end of the war and just not wanting to read about more people dying - or at least not chaps of the right sort (since the Hodder Yellow Jackets, for example, still had lashings of violence and death for the types that deserved it i.e. furriners)
― the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Thursday, 23 October 2014 08:01 (eight years ago) link
Yep, I wanted to mention ppl like Guy N Smith, Shaun Hutson, Brian Lumley, definitely all modern inheritors of the pulp/station paperback tradition.
Fizz, I wouldn't go out of your way to see Black Museum or Circus of Horrors, unless you have a particular fondness for mildly sensational cheap British horror movies of the late 1950s (personally I like the idea of their post-war flash harry, sexy soho, fly-by-night quality - their marginality to mainstream British cinema - more than I actually like watching the films themselves.)
Another name I was groping for last night - Tod Slaughter, who unites the British horror film with staged, theatrical terror, which also seems key to the visual horror tradition (Stoker working for Henry Irving, the first Universal Dracula and Frankenstein being based on stage adaptations, grand guignol, etc etc)
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 23 October 2014 08:41 (eight years ago) link
I really like Circus of Horrors, but agree with you that it's not necessarily for all and certainly that the idea of it - the "distinctly British seedy vibe" if you will - as much as anything else. It's always the people involved in these sort of things that intrigues me and draws me in (see, for example, Michael Winner's early nudie-cutie work); CoH, for example, has musical work by Tony Hatch and one of the songs ends up on a Heinz album.
I'd argue that Peeping Tom straddles the line between the CREEPY VIBE and the SEEDY VIBE aspects, and probably pushes the line into the latter. It's true that sensationalism is a major trend in some of the progenitors to the CREEPY VIBE material but there's probably a defined split into the pulpier (and therefore seedier) aspects and creepier ones in the early 70s. (? citation needed)
Theory: girl's comics fall into the CREEPY VIBE in a way that boy's comics didn't.
― the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Thursday, 23 October 2014 09:12 (eight years ago) link
Some magnificent stuff on this thread recently - a broiling chthonic upsurge of undead UKILx in itself.
― Stevie T, Thursday, 23 October 2014 16:25 (eight years ago) link
I was just thinking, the obvious antecedent for "The Prisoner" is G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday", right? Which has nothing of the pastoral, really, but it has that dreamlike (sub-titled "A Nightmare"!), somewhat supernatural vibe that makes "The Prisoner" so different from any other spy fiction of that era, which is usually concerned with post-nuclear Cold War reality, be it glamourising (Fleming) or attacking (Greene, Le Carré) it. I think this sort of whimsy (far more benign in Chesterton than in "The Prisoner") can maybe be traced back to the nonsense of Carrol and etc, which provides the connection to the pastoral stuff? Might be wrong.
And as far as things that don't really belong in this thread go, Baker-era "Doctor Who"? What I've seen lines up more with a post-Hammer sensibility of gothic camp than anything else...
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 18:21 (eight years ago) link
I wld also say that visually the Prisoner takes lots of cues from psychedelia/Sgt Pepper, which is obv drenched in Victorian whimsy, and overt references to all the druggy aspects of Alice, so it all fits.
I'm sure aldo and sic know this stuff better than me, but yes, Doctor Who transitioned from Quatermass/Pertwee to Hammer/Baker (tho after a while the Who production team were under pressure from Mary Whitehouse etc to tone down the Gothic/horrific elements.) Dcotor Who goes Gothic at almost exactly the same time that Hammer starts to die away - so another transition, from film to television, from adulthood to childhood.
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 18:35 (eight years ago) link
Stewart Lee's short radio documentary on The Children of the Stones from a few years back is still on iPlayer (seemingly available for eternity)http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n1rbx
― Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 21:39 (eight years ago) link
Found The Stone Tape disappointingly un-unheimlich. 90 minutes of 1970s businessmen in flares shouting at each other, doing comedy Japanese impersonations and assuming all women are fragile creatures on the verge of a breakdown, with two minutes of ultra vague lovecraftian not so horrible horrors at the end.
― Kelly Gang Carey and the Mantels (ledge), Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:29 (eight years ago) link
day of the triffids was good though (bbc4 repeats to tie in with sci fi season)
― koogs, Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:32 (eight years ago) link
Don't think I can agree on The Stone Tape. Although it never breaks out into full-on creepy it does unsettling very well although probably never hitting unheimlich levels. It's definitely a more focused exploration of ideas Kneale probably explores better elsewhere though, I would argue.
Anybody watching C4's recent Gor Blimey Guvnor Wasn't The Seventies Racist And Sexist And That Innit clipfest would have seen the segment on public information films. It sort of centred on Apaches (and showed all four deaths) but also featured Robbie, Kite and The Finishing Line - but no Lonely Water, which is one of my favourites.
― the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:51 (eight years ago) link
Yeah I'll give some other Kneales a fair go, and the Triffids which I vaguely remember from the time.
― Kelly Gang Carey and the Mantels (ledge), Thursday, 27 November 2014 11:52 (eight years ago) link
I rewatched the BBC version of The Invisible Man from 84(?) the other day. The criticisms normally levelled at it are the pacing (which I agree with, there's at least on episode break which seems to be in completely the wrong place) and that it's overly faithful. I'm not sure I can agree with that - Griffin's relationship with Kemp is quite different - but I think it's a lovely curio. I might try and get hold of the 70s David MacCallum version at some point.
I think this weekend is time for the Nightmare Man, a Bob Holmes adaptation of a David Witshire book directed by Douggie Camfield. IIRC the first time I watched it it was 95% titting about on a golf course, so it's probably due a refresh of my memory.
― the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Thursday, 27 November 2014 12:31 (eight years ago) link
My recollection differs slightly! I remember some good *taped sound effects* of alien noises. Remember feeling it was a bit tame ultimately, but that might just have been my bloodthirsty younger self.
ledge I'd definitely check out 'Baby' from Beasts, The Year of the Sex Olympics and Quatermass and the Pit. I like the other Qs as well, but I think that's probably my favourite.
Watching Artemis 81 at the moment. It's not Penda's Fen, but is very enjoyable.
― Fizzles, Thursday, 27 November 2014 14:03 (eight years ago) link
2 quatermass films on this week, also as part of sci fi season.
― koogs, Thursday, 27 November 2014 17:15 (eight years ago) link
The Nightmare Man is pretty good--slow pacing of the era, but some genuinely creepy stuff.
― ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Friday, 28 November 2014 02:03 (eight years ago) link
Can anybody tell me if the BFI 'Out Of The Unknown' box set is worth getting?
― MaresNest, Tuesday, 24 February 2015 21:24 (eight years ago) link
Saw Carol Morley's The Falling tonight, which flirts with a Wicker Man-y, Owl Service-y vibe in places, but doesn't really commit to full-on supernatural otherness. Thought the film, and Tracey Thorn's score, was all too much of a pastiche-y mishmash; it needed a more rigorous mise-en-scene, and a better developed script.
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Monday, 27 April 2015 21:15 (eight years ago) link
not seen yet but am all for film-makers not committing to full-on supernatural otherness
― Pat Condell tha funkee homosapien (Noodle Vague), Monday, 27 April 2015 21:22 (eight years ago) link
Sometimes yeah, a distanced ambiguity is more provoking than the clearcut monster in the closet (eg Rivette); but sometimes it can feel like a fear of genre
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Monday, 27 April 2015 21:46 (eight years ago) link
sure, it's a case by case thing, hadn't seen this pitched as a ghost story tho
― Pat Condell tha funkee homosapien (Noodle Vague), Monday, 27 April 2015 22:11 (eight years ago) link
edge of darkness?
― thoughts you made second posts about (darraghmac), Monday, 27 April 2015 22:20 (eight years ago) link
Edge of Darkness def relevant as a kind of Quatermassy thriller that skirts round concrete sci-fi/supernatural plot elements while retaining lots of generic trappings.
I don't want to spoilerise The Falling - and I can easily imagine ppl getting a lot more out of it than me - but the film's most overtly supernatural moment is featured strongly in the trailer, and it is more witchy/occult than ghostly, tho' that is there too (along w/ lots of other stuff like If... . I also saw Kermode talking it up as a veiled horror film on his BBC film slot, more fool me for watching that, I know I know
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Monday, 27 April 2015 22:31 (eight years ago) link
And Edge of Darkness would have definitely been in there if the original ending had been used.
― as verbose and purple as a Peter Ustinov made of plums (James Morrison), Wednesday, 29 April 2015 06:02 (eight years ago) link
(Main character turns into tree, that is)
yeah def, tho I can't decide if that would have been great or not, possibly youd have to rework it all the way back and make the writers intent a lot more explicit throughout...
― thoughts you made second posts about (darraghmac), Wednesday, 29 April 2015 13:07 (eight years ago) link
Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin is doing an eight-film series about British Folk Horror at the moment, so I'm getting to see some of these on the big screen over the next couple of weeks... tonight was Robin Redbreast, Wednesday is the Wicker Man (I am hoping they got the new print to screen), and in a few weeks is the Stone Tape.
I loved the Adonis/Fisher King stuff, and I thought it was interesting how the birth control and abortion aspects of the plot were so matter-of-fact? Can't remember the last time I've seen a diaphragm actually shown on the screen, if ever. I take it they're not the preferred form of birth control now, but still.
Does Moondial fall into this genre or was it too late in the day? I associate it with Children of the Stones, probably because we watched them together.
― erry red flag (f. hazel), Tuesday, 2 June 2015 06:11 (eight years ago) link
In an old annual my dad owned, there was a picture of Worzel Gummidge lying in a barn full of dummies. I used to find that image so hard to look at. Really terrified me.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 2 June 2015 21:37 (eight years ago) link
the crowman off that was legit crepey
― Frank 4ad (NickB), Tuesday, 2 June 2015 21:58 (eight years ago) link
There was always something a little bit unsettling about Geoffrey Bayldon as an acting presence, even as Catweazle. It's easy to see why he was considered for the lead in Doctor Who when it started.
Speaking of Catweazle, Richard Carpenter is another name which could be mentioned here. As well instilling multiple generations with an instinctive dread of weirdos in long macs via The Boy From Space, his Robin Of Sherwood really played up the folkloric/supernatural aspects of the character in a way that hadn't really been seen before.
Bearing in mind RoS doesn't really fit the criteria of this thread, I'll also mention King Of The Castle, which definitely does.
― Pheeel, Tuesday, 2 June 2015 23:55 (eight years ago) link
His Robin Hood series also introduced the Moor as a member of the Merry Men, as far as I know, which was picked up in pretty much all of the subsequent film/television versions!
― erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 3 June 2015 00:50 (eight years ago) link
Nigel Kneale's Beasts was taken down off YouTube for awhile but all the episodes are up again now from a different user. I have accordingly burned through Baby, Buddyboy, What Big Eyes, & During Barty's Party in the last week or so, along with the similar in spirit Murrain from a different series. What Big Eyes is the only less than great piece among them, otherwise blown away by this stuff. Stone Tape doesn't seem to be around but Sapphire and Steel is so that's up next.
Ps I am American so this is strictly grown up discovery time for me, no uncanny recollections from school days.
― demonic mnevice (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 3 June 2015 22:53 (eight years ago) link
as others have said the stone tape is probably the weakest NK. although it doesn't really belong here if you see Year of the Sex Olympics anywhere, snap it up!
you already know my feelings about Assignment 2 of S&S as one of the finest pieces of TV ever made but it's worth starting from the first (which is also decent if a little silly at times) just to get some badly needed context for the whole S&S shebang.
― Fizzles, Friday, 5 June 2015 05:56 (eight years ago) link
Assignment 3 (SPOILER excepted) is probably my favourite I think, but I could make a case for all of them apart from Assignment 1.
― the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Friday, 5 June 2015 07:06 (eight years ago) link
incidentally, watching Artemis 81 again and it really is excellent. there's a wonky YouTube rip of it. also it's got sting in. but otherwise it's marvellous.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 16 June 2015 22:29 (eight years ago) link
Noticed that on yt, was going to ask about it in this thread!
― demonic mnevice (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 01:35 (eight years ago) link
don't ask me, i was sent to bed and not allowed to watch the second half on the grounds that it was "a right load of old rubbish"
― confessions of hellno (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:39 (eight years ago) link
i saw your post upthread after i posted NV. I'm pleased to say it is definitely a load of old rubbish.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:49 (eight years ago) link
one of the major drawbacks of encroaching senility is when i post the same story to ilx twice :/
― confessions of hellno (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:51 (eight years ago) link
keeps things fresh and helps avoid a pass-agg "as I said upthread".
speaking of senility it's my birthday today and i might treat myself to rudkin's adaptation of the ash tree which i didnt realise was rudkin until i saw your earlier post.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:57 (eight years ago) link
creepy thread to wish it on but marking the passage of time ties in nicely i guess
― confessions of hellno (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:58 (eight years ago) link
perfect thread for it. I'm hoping my incipient decay takes the form of a frail degeneration in the face of some sort of cosmic onslaught from the past.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 06:02 (eight years ago) link
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 08:08 (eight years ago) link
Hey Happy Birthday!
― woof, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 09:42 (eight years ago) link
cheers everyone! no creepy vibe yet, just a day with gf around london, couple of galleries maybe (that thing helen dewitt contributed to) and some wine and food definitely. but who knows what lurks etc
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 10:30 (eight years ago) link
Happy 21st Fizzles!
― feargal czukay (NickB), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:07 (eight years ago) link
If you want a birthday pint I'm not rushing home after work tonight.
― woof, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:39 (eight years ago) link
What's the Helen Dewitt thing? xp
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:41 (eight years ago) link
(If I'm remembering the stone children correctly)
― demonic mnevice (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:42 (eight years ago) link
thanks one and all. am sitting in my garden right now drinking wine so won't make that post-work drink today - but soon, soon.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 17:05 (eight years ago) link
― ledge, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 21:31 (eight years ago) link
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 22:27 (eight years ago) link
― tokyo rosemary, Thursday, 18 June 2015 00:39 (eight years ago) link
― erry red flag (f. hazel), Thursday, 18 June 2015 02:03 (eight years ago) link
apologies for late night poor quality photoshopping
― ledge, Thursday, 18 June 2015 08:25 (eight years ago) link
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 19 June 2015 22:56 (eight years ago) link
The Stone Tape is getting a radio adaptation this Halloween, to be directed by Peter Strickland (mentioned at the end of this article):
― painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture (DavidM), Wednesday, 24 June 2015 11:50 (eight years ago) link
that's great news. every chance he'll do a better job than the original imo. this makes sense in terms of triangulating the PS aesthetic i think.
― Fizzles, Friday, 26 June 2015 00:40 (eight years ago) link
Just got hold of a DVD of The Changes, an old 1970s sci fi for children. It looks fantastic. Can't wait to watch it.
― canoon fooder (dog latin), Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:01 (seven years ago) link
i remember seeing that around my cousin's at the time (was itv iirc, we were a bbc household. no magpie for us...)
― koogs, Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:24 (seven years ago) link
New radio version of The Stone Tape on Friday by Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio).
― suffeeciant attreebution (aldo), Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:26 (seven years ago) link
Thanks for the reminder, aldo. As I said upthread, have a certain amount of expectation this will be better than the original.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 28 October 2015 14:27 (seven years ago) link
It was but I still have reservations. Sound design was superb and genuinely scary, even in not 3D. Horrifying 1970s banter was toned down (I wondered if they were going to give it a modern day setting but I suppose no-one could ever be excited anymore by the prospect of a new recording medium.) The ending still felt weak though and I'm not sure it would have made any sense to anyone who hadn't seen the original.
― ledge, Monday, 2 November 2015 14:14 (seven years ago) link
this seems relevant:
Haunted half-hours – how the BBC made Christmas creepy
― illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 2 November 2015 14:19 (seven years ago) link
there's a 6 disc box of bbc christmas ghost stories, featuring a shedload of MR James and a bunch of stuff i don't remember.
has nobody mentioned the Amazing Mr Blunden?
― koogs, Monday, 2 November 2015 14:37 (seven years ago) link
That BBC box is great.
Stone Tape was really well done but, yes, I think you needed a little familiarity with the original for it to work properly.
― suffeeciant attreebution (aldo), Monday, 2 November 2015 14:43 (seven years ago) link
Saw The Owl Service mentioned as a see also on some page about Penda's Fen so decided to watch it while waiting for the latter to download (still waiting). (I never read the book, always assumed it was owl service like postal service.) For a kid's show it's certainly far out there. The sexual undercurrents are very confusing given that the kids are supposed to be teenagers, they're played by actors in their 20s, and they behave like 12 year olds. The first episode is creepy and weird enough - aided by the fact that the stepmother, theoretically a significant character, is never seen or heard but has her pronouncements issued via other characters - but it soon succumbs to the deathly slowness of yesteryear; aside from occasional plot snippets over half the episodes feel not just dispensable but downright irritating, lovesick teenagers mooning about or being insufferable snobbish pricks. No holds barred for the batshit final episode though: torrential rain and muddy pratfalls, oilskin-clad gurning loony villagers, a darth vader moment, and a climax that seems to foreshadow The Exorcist.
― ledge, Monday, 22 February 2016 09:28 (seven years ago) link
is there somewhere i can download penda's fen online?
started watching the Children's serial 'Box of Delights'. It's weird and unsettling and makes very little sense.
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Monday, 21 March 2016 15:27 (seven years ago) link
I had to torrent it, one seeder.
Box of Delights definitely a favourite of my childhood, I can still remember the theme. One major caveat though which I won't spoil.
― ledge, Monday, 21 March 2016 19:08 (seven years ago) link
I think I got pendas fen by downloading it from YouTube a couple of years ago when there were still iOS apps that'd do that
― scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Monday, 21 March 2016 19:58 (seven years ago) link
Penda's Fen is getting a DVD release in May, if you're willing to wait/would rather obtain it legally.
― emil.y, Monday, 21 March 2016 20:06 (seven years ago) link
Just watched a VHS rip on YouTube last night
― JoeStork, Monday, 21 March 2016 20:15 (seven years ago) link
Another big tick for Box of Delights. It hit me squarely at the right time, when I was six or seven and in the lead in to Christmas. Have a strong sentimental attachment to it, and will still occasionally watch at Christmas. Both that and The Midnight Folk have similar 'anything anywhere' magic - with a very mutable human form and spirit that gives access to a total possible immersion into all corners of nature, time and mythology. It's quite appealing in one way - Raymond Lully escaping Troy but captured by medieval pirates, with Edwardian schoolboy in attednace - but has a knock on effect that the progress of events-in-settings are incoherent, the lack of restriction somehow dispersing a train of emotional investment. That's much less a problem in the TV series though, and the theme music is quite magical, I'm not sure it will ever leave me.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 17:07 (seven years ago) link
never watched it but vividly remember the trailers for it (and even then i thought the sfx were shonky looking)
"Come, be a beast with me in my wild wood..."
wouldn't get away with that today...
― koogs, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 17:26 (seven years ago) link
Just looked up the main title music. Fantastic. It's taken from A Carol Symphony by a composer named Hely-Hutchinson (looks like there is a recording on Naxos)
― scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 23 March 2016 17:43 (seven years ago) link
oh ok. that's interesting! will seek out. it's so totally bound up with childhood that I'm incapble of fair critical assessment, which is always quite an enjoyable state.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 23:13 (seven years ago) link
It's The First Noel, right? I thought everyone knew that tune?
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Wednesday, 23 March 2016 23:20 (seven years ago) link
yes, but it's incorporated into a slightly sinister even sour sounding theme, which is what I'm assuming Jon is referring to.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 23 March 2016 23:35 (seven years ago) link
Yes it's some time before the first Noel really emerges and I like that opening material quite a lot
― scarcity festival (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 24 March 2016 00:32 (seven years ago) link
It's quite interesting how that music modulates into the carol, yeah.
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:32 (seven years ago) link
What is the show that's being referenced as 'Tlentifini Maarhaysu' on Look Around You? I definitely remember a show like this being broadcast a little bit before the children's programmes came on during the 80s, and I thought it might be Box of Delights, but now I don't think so...
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:34 (seven years ago) link
It's the title sequence from an old BBC2 documentary strand "The World About Us."
It's quite disturbing how much the obnoxious posh lad in the Owl Service resembles a young David Cameron, although appropriate given the class-heavy overtones of the story.
― Pheeel, Thursday, 24 March 2016 10:09 (seven years ago) link
I do love a heavily processed flute, I must say...
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Thursday, 24 March 2016 10:34 (seven years ago) link
For those interested in this sort of thing, I can recommend the Facebook group 'Folk Horror Revival'
― draxx them sklounst (dog latin), Thursday, 24 March 2016 12:35 (seven years ago) link
Woke up this morning with an image in my mind from what I think was a TV show of this ilk. Two or three or four sinister figures loom supernaturally large over a landscape, peering down at our plucky protagonists. Large heads in the sky at the top of the screen, dark robes fading down to the horizon. Any ideas?
― I've had Eno, ugh (ledge), Thursday, 5 May 2016 08:16 (seven years ago) link
― TARANTINO! (dog latin), Thursday, 5 May 2016 09:04 (seven years ago) link
Sort of, the figures a bit more spread across the top half with the normal world down in the bottom half.
― I've had Eno, ugh (ledge), Thursday, 5 May 2016 09:54 (seven years ago) link
don't know.. sorry.
incidentally, you can now watch full episodes of Jigsaw on Youtube, if you dare
― TARANTINO! (dog latin), Thursday, 5 May 2016 10:03 (seven years ago) link
Looks like the BFI are putting out a DVD of Pendra's Fen eighteen days from today, which I'm excited about because I've never seen it (and indeed only know of it because of the raving of ILXors).
― Tim, Thursday, 5 May 2016 10:43 (seven years ago) link
yeah i'm looking forward to that too.
i went through a huge huge 'weird 70s britain/folk horror' phase a few weeks ago and binged on films and even music, but ended up genuinely freaking myself out.
― TARANTINO! (dog latin), Thursday, 5 May 2016 10:50 (seven years ago) link
thought this thread bump would be for the radiohead trumptonshire wicker man remake...
― koogs, Thursday, 5 May 2016 10:53 (seven years ago) link
Penda's Fen also included in mouthwatering box set of complete TV works of Alan Clarke
― some men just want to watch the world Bern (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 5 May 2016 12:35 (seven years ago) link
Been watching the Witches and the Grinnygog on YouTube this past week (link to episode one), which is a very relaxing sort of uncanny. Patricia Hayes does a great job as Miss Bendybones, and it also has a great theme song! Love the interplay in the handful of scenes between the churchman and witch, reminds me of the Dark is Rising.
― erry red flag (f. hazel), Saturday, 3 September 2016 05:02 (seven years ago) link
I am reading Thomas Tryon's novel Harvest Home, which was being written about the same time the wicker man was being filmed, and is maybe the only example of American Pastoral Uncanny of that era (for sure an influence on children of the corn). Really good stuff.
― I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Friday, 9 September 2016 15:46 (seven years ago) link
In this instance, do read the comments afterward. There's a good one.
― I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Friday, 9 September 2016 15:47 (seven years ago) link
loooooove harvest homethe widow fortune will stay with you forever!!
just saw thomas tryon as an actor in the book of ruth (don't ask why i was watching that)
― weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 9 September 2016 20:36 (seven years ago) link
I love Harvest Home!
If I ever ended up someplace like Cornwall Coombe or Summerisle, I think I would just go with it. Like, sign me up to be the Corn Maiden!
― tokyo rosemary, Friday, 9 September 2016 20:55 (seven years ago) link
too late for me, lolmaybe i can get in on the action as one of the cooperating crones
― weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 9 September 2016 21:07 (seven years ago) link
Ha, yeah, I don't think I was successful in the maiden or mother phase, so here's hoping cronedom works out for me.
― tokyo rosemary, Friday, 9 September 2016 21:24 (seven years ago) link
― I wish you could see my home. It's... it's so... exciting (Jon not Jon), Friday, 9 September 2016 23:28 (seven years ago) link
I went to a used book sale today and found THE CRONE'S BOOK OF WISDOM ha ha ha.
― tokyo rosemary, Sunday, 11 September 2016 17:15 (seven years ago) link
Really enjoyed Penda's Fen. It's so unusual to see television so dense with those kind of references. I wonder how many people watching that on first broadcast could piece much of that together?
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 September 2016 22:51 (seven years ago) link
So I just finished watching the Owl Service and while it was quite compelling I must admit I have no idea what the hell was going on during the final two episodes. This, much moreso than a Doctor Who episode from the same era, really feels like something from half a century ago.
I think there were a lot of social cues in the story that everyone was reacting to that just went right past me? Or maybe it was just, as noted upthread, that their approach to depicting teenagers was to average out twentysomething actors with preteen behavior.
And they kept showing that shot of the stepson in short shorts bouncing a ball menacingly against a tree in every recap and it cracked me up every time.
― erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 19 October 2016 02:34 (six years ago) link
Fans of this thread should check out the 'Folk Horror Revival' Facebook Group, and also the blog writing of this guy Howard Ingham who's been writing about everything from The VVitch to the Wickerman to Look Around You to Watership Down and many other obscure films and shows of this kind
― Shat Parp (dog latin), Friday, 14 July 2017 08:51 (six years ago) link
Hey thanks for that! I've followed the Huantological Society blog but it seems to have gone tumblr only (and I don't do tumblr)
― Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 14 July 2017 09:59 (six years ago) link
I'm in the Folk Horror Revival group, sadly it has sort of rendered the creepy and unheimlich mundane to me. But that's facebook for you.
Bought Penda's Fen a few days ago, can't wait to watch :D
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 14 July 2017 10:32 (six years ago) link
Should also consider following Scarred For Life on twitter and buying his self-published book:
― Thomas Gabriel Fischer does not endorse (aldo), Friday, 14 July 2017 11:04 (six years ago) link
I loved Paciorek's Beautiful Grotesque blog, it opened my eyes to a lot of amazing art. It's a shame this folk horror thing is mostly happening on facebook because I don't go there.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 July 2017 11:07 (six years ago) link
we don't have a thread on children of the stones, do we?
recommended it yesterday and started watching it on youtube. it is fucking terrifying, it's also hilarious.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 13 November 2017 13:15 (five years ago) link
wow, i've never heard of this. the theme music alone scared the shit out of me there.
― Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Monday, 13 November 2017 13:27 (five years ago) link
some suggestions also on this thread: I was trying to find a copy of the Sight & Sound article on FILMS OF OLD WEIRD BRITAIN but all I found was this poxy list
― mark s, Monday, 13 November 2017 13:28 (five years ago) link
Bit of crossover from ILG, but We Happy Few is a early access video game (from Quebec developers) that attempts to recreate the vibe of The Prisoner in a number of ways.
― Sanpaku, Monday, 13 November 2017 13:30 (five years ago) link
I really REALLY want clean mp3s of the title theme and any of the choral cues from children of the stones. Some of the most striking scoring I’ve ever heard
― harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 13 November 2017 13:43 (five years ago) link
I watched COTS a year or two ago, loved it. Then went to Avebury and met the stars of the show :)
― imago, Monday, 13 November 2017 13:45 (five years ago) link
there's some (too much?) detail of the music on wikipedia page for the composer
― koogs, Monday, 13 November 2017 13:57 (five years ago) link
Ha I was reading that old weird Britain thread earlier this year(?) when I was looking for any discussion on akenfield
― The Suite Life of Jack and Wendy (wins), Monday, 13 November 2017 14:00 (five years ago) link
i still have this thing on my to read pile:
― plp will eat itself (NickB), Monday, 13 November 2017 14:04 (five years ago) link
it is so odd. the whole thing is just marvellous - the beautiful shots above the town in the intro. bbc had so much money and freedom back then.
the bit in the first episode where the old woman appears on the road is scary but also like i was doubled over laughing at it. also when the balding tory landlord bloke just appears in the house as if from nowhere.
― Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 13 November 2017 14:06 (five years ago) link
Happy days. I think I'm going to watch this again, perfect time of the year too. Must've been ten years. Marvellous series.
This is worth while imo, doc from BBC Radio4.
Theme song here. "The music was composed by Sidney Sager who used the Ambrosian Singers to chant in accordance with the megalithic rituals referred to in the story."
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 November 2017 15:10 (five years ago) link
Children of the Stones an HTV rather than a BBC production.
This (different) BFI list tries to expand - or settle - the folk horror canon a little:
― Ward Fowler, Monday, 13 November 2017 15:21 (five years ago) link
Timely thread revival, we've just been watching Sapphire and Steel this week. Never seen Children of the Stones, I'll have to see if I can find it.
― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 13 November 2017 15:21 (five years ago) link
Also reading some of those folk horror links makes me think Twin Peaks fits more easily there than anywhere else, genre-wise.
― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 13 November 2017 19:04 (five years ago) link
i always say twin peaks is the first time the US caught up in the folk horror arms race, TP is profoundly FH imo but in a deeply american way
― harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 13 November 2017 19:05 (five years ago) link
I never really considered that idea but I think the noir elements are much stronger, particularly in the third season. Strange to think of folk horror noir.
X-Files had a fair amount of country settings.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 20:07 (five years ago) link
Noir is an urban version of the unheimlich, I reckon
― the intentional phallusy (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 November 2017 20:26 (five years ago) link
Yeah I mean Twin Peaks ultimately comes back to the woods and the trees. Not explicitly pagan, but I think you could make a good case for Weird elements in it.
― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 13 November 2017 21:18 (five years ago) link
Twin Peaks obv isn't like UK "folk horror" at all; it's American. I get the enthusiastic instigation to pass it off or file it under English 70s folk/horror/hauntology, or have it relate to it, but it's still miles away. I mean really, the only thing in common is "weird". Which is not enough to make a connection between the two imo. I love TP, love 70s freaky horrorhaunty English series even more, and they circle around each other in some ways, sometimes, but both are very much products of their country of origin; ie inherently different.
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 November 2017 21:35 (five years ago) link
A lot of olden American folk horror is very close to the British folk horror feel though.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 21:49 (five years ago) link
xp that's what i was saying. it is deeply american folk horror. pastoral uncanny if you like. it's not like uk folk horror!
― harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 13 November 2017 21:53 (five years ago) link
Then I got you! :)
Disagree with Robert Adam Gilmour entirely. They are so far removed from each other aesthetically, roots-wise, storytelling-wise. Everything wise tbh.
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 November 2017 21:56 (five years ago) link
The Vvitch feels kind of British to me and a lot of 1700s-1800s American ghost stories do too. Maybe I'm mostly thinking of writers from aristocracy who lived a lot like European aristocrats.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 22:03 (five years ago) link
I guess the aristocratic stuff isn't really folk horror.
Sleepy Hollow is based on European legends.
Trying to think of more old American folk horror but blanking.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 22:36 (five years ago) link
You're trying too hard. No harm in acknowledging UK and US ghost stories have different origins.
― Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 November 2017 22:38 (five years ago) link
I can think of legends like bigfoot, Jersey Devil and stuff like that but not a lot of stories right now.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 13 November 2017 22:54 (five years ago) link
i'm with LBI here I think. wrote a far too lengthy thing upthread on where i think the US and UK traditions go post 19th century (so doesn't include the older stuff you mention, Robert).
I think that some of the creepy folk pastoral horror vibe is a response to a fear of nuclear war and in a wider sense of military science. the return to primitivism, or a resurgence of primitavist power that stone circles imply is - well one reading of it is - the implication of society having to start again from scratch.
that's very present in the last quatermass with its stone circles, decayed society, and movement of people trying to unlearn words because that's where the bad stuff started creeping in. you see a bit of it in penda's fen. as well, with the porton down references.
a related reading is of course that there was a strong stranding in 60s and 70s counterculture of being at one with nature, through crafting and cultivating, and not abusing it with technology.
in other words these are very late forms of romanticism.
there's also the whole chariots of the gods reading of alien or mystical power and knowledge present in the henges and circles and ley lines of britain. teasing out these strands would require some time and care - does stone circle/science/alien stuff share the same influences as the malign pastoral folk of the wicker man to take one example.
― Fizzles, Monday, 13 November 2017 23:01 (five years ago) link
I inclined to think a lot of folk-horror both romanticises feminism and nature cults, and abhors them.
Obv the circles of skyclad (or nearly so) druidic priestesses are motivated by the exploitation market, but a lot of the neopagan literature I came across in the early 90s (it was a short lived relationship, with a coed who bought candles in bulk) is very feminist, very pro- exposure, and deals endlessly with the historical oppression of witches.
― Sanpaku, Monday, 13 November 2017 23:26 (five years ago) link
I inclined to think a lot of folk-horror both romanticises feminism and nature cults, and abhors them. Obv the circles of skyclad (or nearly so) druidic priestesses are motivated by the exploitation market, but a lot of the neopagan literature I came across in the early 90s (it was a short lived relationship, with a coed who bought candles in bulk) is very feminist, very pro- exposure, and deals endlessly with the historical oppression of witches.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:28 (five years ago) link
again one of the reasons penda’s fen is so good is its play with this trope of innocence and sexual awakening through landscape. jocelyn brooke is also v representative in the image of a drawn sword and the dog at clambercrown but i’m back on my hobby horse again and off topic.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:30 (five years ago) link
don't know if this ever got linked but there's some interesting stuff in this robert macfarlane piece:
― plp will eat itself (NickB), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:38 (five years ago) link
Fizzles pls ride horse freely itt
― harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:46 (five years ago) link
the BBC's film of A View from a Hill should still be on iPlayer for a couple of weeks. it's a good one imo, nicely told.
― the intentional phallusy (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 14 November 2017 13:48 (five years ago) link
it has taken me 32 years to see penda's fen. obviously it is the best thing ever made
― imago, Monday, 13 May 2019 21:23 (four years ago) link
all the pep talks are the best pep talks in moving picture history
― imago, Monday, 13 May 2019 21:24 (four years ago) link
It is grand.
― Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 16 May 2019 10:25 (four years ago) link
so elegant how the protagonist's initially self-denying radicalisation is slowly channeled into something positive and ultimately salvation
― imago, Thursday, 16 May 2019 11:07 (four years ago) link
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0398561/Anthology series of scary stories for children. 1975 - 1978.
i don't remember this but Talking Pictures TV is currently showing them.
― koogs, Monday, 10 June 2019 09:01 (four years ago) link
i watched Robin Redbreast the other day, which was excellent. The subject matter, especially after the Wicker Man (three years later), is highly familiar now, and was in the water then, but execution, script and performances are all really good. there’s enough opacity about the malign forces to ensure it’s distributed into a generalised sense of unease. (so much about these sorts of sensations feel analogous to a hangover - a hangover in the countryside - why are they looking at me like that? what if the phone line gets cut/network drops out? what does that pebble on the windowsill mean? *oh god a fucking *bird** etc). particular shout out to central performances metropolitan scriptwriter character, recently split from her partner, and her obtuse, effective, and omniscient cottage housekeeper.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 06:21 (four years ago) link
Bernard Hepton is particularly good in it.
Rob is an almost perfect cipher of stereotypical masculinity, with his karate and ss obsessions, not equalled until Pex turns up in Paradise Towers.
― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:57 (four years ago) link
not equalled until Pex turns up in Paradise Towers
now that phrase surprised me
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:28 (four years ago) link
For me he's the best character - the Kangs are more than a bit disco dad, the Rezzies are the closest High Rise archetype, but Pex is tremendously well written. He does what he's supposed to do, against a behavioural code that never really existed but everyone of course remembers, and had a proper heroic journey. (The scene where he bends the light to impress Mel is her best scene imo.)
― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:44 (four years ago) link
And Rob/Edgar is the same. He's studied the war because it's the right, manly thing to do of the time and is supposed to feel upset that he couldn't do his part (as the likes of Bernard Hepton presumably did). But despite this he's slightly more interested in the Germans to fulfil the 'girls love a bad boy' trope (and as a sidebar, giving a bit a lie to the punk/greaser 'shock the older generation' notion).
Karate was a desperately exotic and of its time way of keeping fit, which would attract the metropolitan woman to him because she would realise he wasn't just a country bumpkin but up with trends, like her.
― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 14:50 (four years ago) link
I need to watch both again and compare! Pretty sure I have the Paradise Towers DVD.
― the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 15:39 (four years ago) link
not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere but a Robert Holmes science fiction / dark scots island community radio series Aliens in the Mind, from 1977, with Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, is being repeated on Radio 4. Catch up here.
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 21:49 (four years ago) link
If you don't want to wait, or you're not in the UK, the whole thing is here: https://archive.org/details/rhaitm
― And according to some websites, there were “sexcapades.” (James Morrison), Thursday, 13 June 2019 00:41 (four years ago) link
tbf BBC radio is available globally for free on web or app, and listening to things on non-bootleg send the message that you would like to hear more things like that
― quelle sprocket damage (sic), Thursday, 13 June 2019 04:03 (four years ago) link
otoh i couldn’t sleep last night and was able to listen to episode 2 - thx james! (of course, you’re right, sic - and radio 4 extra is their archive mining channel so probably lots of good stuff in there)
― Fizzles, Thursday, 13 June 2019 05:26 (four years ago) link
― imago, Monday, May 13, 2019 10:23 PM (one month ago)
Yeah. I loved it from the first time I saw it, but over time it has cemented itself as one of my all-time favourites. I still find new elements to think about whenever I watch it.
― emil.y, Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:00 (four years ago) link
I listened to Aliens In The Mind just now (on BBC Sounds like a good citizen) and yeah it's good, a somewhat generic this thread thing but the performances pull it off. Loved the Boys Own vibe. Vincent Price not very convincing as a yank but that just adds to the charm.
― Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 13 June 2019 22:17 (four years ago) link
I listened to /Aliens In The Mind/ just now (on BBC Sounds like a good citizen) and yeah it's good, a somewhat generic this thread thing but the performances pull it off. Loved the Boys Own vibe. Vincent Price not very convincing as a yank but that just adds to the charm.
― Fizzles, Friday, 14 June 2019 06:01 (four years ago) link
i mean its not a masterpiece or anything obv but v enjoyable. as always with these things the soundscape is excellent too. actually that goes for penda’s fen as well. you wonder how much television also lost when it lost deep and inventive radio drama expertise.
― Fizzles, Friday, 14 June 2019 06:03 (four years ago) link
Vincent Price not very convincing as a yank
Haven't listened to this yet, but - Vincent Price was American? Do you mean Cushing?
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 14 June 2019 07:46 (four years ago) link
Learn something new every day! Don't I feel the fool now.
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 14 June 2019 08:16 (four years ago) link
iirc he had a strong Mississippi accent when he started and sort of anglicised as he went on, so it did end up as a kind of unique, ultra-theatrical mid-Atlantic mishmash.
― ShariVari, Friday, 14 June 2019 08:25 (four years ago) link
Yeah, I feel like maybe in this he's dropping the mid-Atlantic to seem more american? But I've shown my ineptitude at identifying accents already so shouldn't chance it.
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 14 June 2019 09:55 (four years ago) link
i did know he was american but going to double down by saying his voice sounds quite wobbly, but maybe that’s just next to cushing.
― Fizzles, Sunday, 16 June 2019 05:54 (four years ago) link
Just spotted the Box of Delights chat upthread. My 4 year-old watched it at Christmas. Not sure if that was a good call or not but he seemed to enjoy it.
― kinder, Sunday, 16 June 2019 21:45 (four years ago) link
Am currently enjoying this highly entertaining romp through 'the flip side of British film and television', including many obscurities and oddities that are relevant to our interests here:
― Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 12:44 (four years ago) link
Got that on my wishlist but haven't pulled the trigger yet.
The chapters on TV and PIFs in this are gold:
― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 12:50 (four years ago) link
Those of you in the UK may be interested to know that Sapphire and Steel is being broadcast on Forces TV (Freeview 96) tonight at 11
― hip posts without flaggadocio (Noodle Vague), Monday, 1 June 2020 21:41 (three years ago) link
Good spot. 2 episodes, nightly.
(I should watch the DVDs again)
― koogs, Tuesday, 2 June 2020 20:41 (three years ago) link
Hold on, I don't get channel 96, wtf?
― Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 20:42 (three years ago) link
the distinctly british CREEPY VIBE of realising you don’t get channel 96
― french flaps, sparkly letters, all the bells and whistles (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 20:45 (three years ago) link
Might need a retune but I've got a friend with an old Freeview box who doesn't get all the high numbers.
Don't think I've watched them since first broadcast, not quite as creepy as they were when I was a kid but bless them, they try. And for all its daftness it at least zips along.
― hip posts without flaggadocio (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 21:06 (three years ago) link
I think different regions get different channels, Scotland does anyway.
― Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 21:08 (three years ago) link
Yeah that was my other thought, there's a regional slot at number 7 but I doubt it's the only one
― hip posts without flaggadocio (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 21:21 (three years ago) link
(Only noticed this was on cos I watch PBS a fair bit)
― hip posts without flaggadocio (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 June 2020 21:22 (three years ago) link
Forces TV is odd but sometimes useful. They showed the entirety of Space 1999 recently and most of UFO alongside Goodnight Sweetheart and Get Some In. Now it's all Bless This House and the Dukes Of Hazard with Weapons Of War.
― koogs, Tuesday, 2 June 2020 22:40 (three years ago) link
I always felt like I'd missed out by not having seen S&S as a kid. Saw it later in life and still thought it was brilliant, for all its flaws.
If your Freeview doesn't go that high and you need to see it, they're all up on youtube iirc
― Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 3 June 2020 07:06 (three years ago) link
Is it called Forces TV to support are troops
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 3 June 2020 09:38 (three years ago) link
― hip posts without flaggadocio (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 3 June 2020 09:41 (three years ago) link
S&S is also available on Amazon Prime
― Brad C., Wednesday, 3 June 2020 16:17 (three years ago) link
TPTV has been repeating Quatermass, the tv series, which is probably thread adjacent. featuring Toyah, pre singing career(?) (actually, i think it finished last night)
my DVDs of sapphire and steel have been spoiled by sunlight getting into the transparent cases and one episode of assignment 1 and one of assignment 6 won't play. so i'm hoping to fill the gap with the Forces TV broadcasts. currently halfway through Assignment 2.
― koogs, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 11:57 (three years ago) link
Toyah, pre singing career(?) (actually, i think it finished last night)
Largely finished by 1986 IIRC.
― Noel Emits, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 12:57 (three years ago) link
QuatermassOriginal release 24 October – 14 November 1979
but i now realise that was a joke 8)
she's been in news lately iirc. did a lockdown thing with mr fripp?
― koogs, Wednesday, 10 June 2020 13:25 (three years ago) link
Assignment 3 of Sapphire and Steel (which started last night) is the one i remember making my mum watch (it was on at 7pm on itv, a summer replacement for Emmerdale). she wasn't impressed. it seems like a change of direction - is more sci-fi than the previous two.
― koogs, Thursday, 11 June 2020 11:39 (three years ago) link
Forces TV needed re-tuning today. Hopefully it's done and tonight's episodes will record.
Assignment 4, man with no face, okAssignment 5, tea party in the 1930s not so great
Assignment 6 starts tonight and I remember it as creepy more than anything. 3 still my favourite
― koogs, Monday, 22 June 2020 21:46 (three years ago) link
This seems to be the closest thing we have to a folk horror thread, so I just wanted to mention that I watched most of the Punchdrunk 12-hour livestreamed episode of The Third Day w/Jude Law yesterday. Incredible stuff, can still be watched on the Sky TV facebook page I think.
― joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 10:43 (two years ago) link
I wondered what the story was on that when I passed by it and saw that it did seem to be 12 hours long.I was on the way to something else as I stepped through the channels.Hadn't realised the tv show itself was on a channel I got
― Stevolende, Sunday, 4 October 2020 17:16 (two years ago) link
Stumbled across it and looked up what was going on
Enjoyed what I had on, cos I love slow TV, don't think I'm bothered about catching up with another Wicker Man retread tbh
― 1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:18 (two years ago) link
Don't want to spoil it for you or anyone else who might be thinking of dipping their toes in, but I will say that the basic premise is v different from The Wicker Man.
― joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:35 (two years ago) link
yeah that wasn't fully serious tbh but i'm guessing the filmed eps are not quite as strange a proposition as yesterday's programme?
― 1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 4 October 2020 18:52 (two years ago) link
I haven't seen those yet tbh, I'm playing catch-up as usual!
― joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Sunday, 4 October 2020 19:00 (two years ago) link
what a stupid question
― 1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Monday, 5 October 2020 15:58 (two years ago) link
Listened to half of the BBC radio adaptation of Children of the Stones, I think they've done it really well. The whole 'investigative journalist podcast within a podcast' thing is definitely overplayed but so far not hampering my enjoyment. You can find it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08sy3qx
― emil.y, Tuesday, 13 October 2020 22:02 (two years ago) link
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 10:28 (two years ago) link
Made in 2018, repeated today so up for replay for 28 days: a radio adaptation of a twice-lost* 1963 Nigel Kneale TV play, The Road. While the programme itself was wiped, the original 1963 sound effects tape was unearthed by Radiophonic Workshop flame-keeper Mark Ayres, and used in this production.
* it was remade in Australia a year later, and also not archived.
― Un-fooled and placid (sic), Monday, 26 October 2020 08:55 (two years ago) link
I watched 4 of the non-12-hour-episodes of The Third Day and thought it was okay. The first couple felt oddly like a indie video game - following your Jude Law avatar around as he finds a clue inside a box, overhears a conversation, etc etc. Not much thrill power & didn't hit my pleasure centres at the spots it seemed to be aiming for - folklore/ritual uncanny & lingering images.
I don't have any great enthusiasm for finishing watching it but I probably will. tbh the 12-hour thing sounds more interesting.
Also finally watched the Mackenzie Crook Wurzel Gummidge & thought of this thread. I liked it better than almost anything roughly in the zone for a while, I think because it feels like it enjoys the countryside & enjoys telling a story more than it likes the creepy vibe, ie too many of these things reach for the vibe first and don't take a bit of time hanging out, enjoying the landscape (like they are more interested in the Wicker Man than the world). Refreshing to see the creepiness embedded in pleasure-in-nature (& it helps that it's actual kids/family TV, & so has to be relatively straightforward).
― woof, Monday, 26 October 2020 11:47 (two years ago) link
The long performance was wonderful just for existing
― Notes on "Scamp" (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 October 2020 11:53 (two years ago) link
curiously, Sapphire and Steel is being shown on two different freeview channels at the moment. ForcesTV has been showing it daily with a 6-episode omnibus on saturdays and LondonLive has been showing it in it's 19:00 slot, which is around the time i remember it being on originally, the summer replacement for emmerdale.
i've also just finished reading The Owl Service, the tv series of which would fit here, but i have no memory of it.
― koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 15:48 (two years ago) link
I rewatched the owl service within the last year, and still can't remember anything...
― Bidh boladh a' mhairbh de 'n láimh fhalaimh (dowd), Friday, 5 February 2021 15:52 (two years ago) link
there is some discussion upthread.
― ledge, Friday, 5 February 2021 16:04 (two years ago) link
The Owl Service is brilliant. It does get pretty dark and sexual for a children's TV programme though - I went in expecting more of a Children of the Stones "v spooky but family friendly" vibe and remember being really surprised by it.
― emil.y, Friday, 5 February 2021 16:08 (two years ago) link
the titles are amazing though, aren't they?
― fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Friday, 5 February 2021 16:18 (two years ago) link
I don't get ForcesTV on Freeview?
― Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:38 (two years ago) link
You should from the December retune I think. It's way up in the 90s channels - 96?
― Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:40 (two years ago) link
96, yes. i think about half my devices get it, half don't. helps if the weather's good when you retune 8)
it's on Multiplex com7 - ARQC - Arqiva C which says"Broadcasting to 20.6m UK homes from 30 masts (77%)"same mux as bbc4hd and bbcnewshd
― koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:08 (two years ago) link
I don't get ForcesTV in Glasgow. Or London Live, obv
The last time I read The Owl Service, the use of the word 'n*g-n*g' (as a childish insult) screamed out at me - I wonder if it's been removed for more recent editions. It's pretty much the only blemish in the bk, and the TV series is a dece attempt at it.
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:27 (two years ago) link
wasn't in my version (50th anniversary, pullman intro)
― koogs, Friday, 5 February 2021 18:41 (two years ago) link
i love the Owl Service but I don't think I've seen the show.
― Party With A Jagger Ban (dog latin), Friday, 5 February 2021 18:43 (two years ago) link
if anyone's interested in this stuff and you're on Facebook, join the Folk Horror Revival group
Retuned. Still no Forces TV.
― Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 19:34 (two years ago) link
your tv knows you didn't clap for major tom
― Dusty Benelux (jim in vancouver), Friday, 5 February 2021 19:34 (two years ago) link
Who says I didn't?
― Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Friday, 5 February 2021 20:05 (two years ago) link
not our words, the words of Forces TV
― Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Friday, 5 February 2021 20:20 (two years ago) link
I assumed Forces TV was endless repeats of Soldier Soldier and Get Some In!, but it's hard to discern a military theme (or any entertainment value) in Sapphire & Steel.
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 5 February 2021 23:52 (two years ago) link
it's all things like Robin's Nest and Bless This House, Sikes, Dukes of Hazzard, Chips. they've showed Space 1999 and UFO before now. it's an odd mix.
― koogs, Saturday, 6 February 2021 03:02 (two years ago) link
also a lot of Leni Riefenstahl movies
― Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 6 February 2021 04:36 (two years ago) link
Royal It's a Knockout.
― Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 February 2021 13:46 (two years ago) link
The Blue Light on it? Dont think I get this channel either
― or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:06 (two years ago) link
Xp re riefenstahl
― or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:07 (two years ago) link
No I was just drunkenly calling soldiers nazi sympathisers, Forces TV would never show anything as aesthetic as a Riefenstahl movie but if you want to watch 237 episodes of Never The Twain bob's your uncle
― Scampi reggae party (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:14 (two years ago) link
Leni Riefenstahl's Royal It's a Knockout is a big favourite with our boys.
― Waterloo Subset (Tom D.), Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:15 (two years ago) link
I definitely catch sight of Bless This House and George and Mildred when I flick through Freeview of a morning, I think they're on ITV4 too - along with things like The Sweeney and The Avengers (often the Diana Rigg colour episodes). I miss the Kojak repeats, which seem to have dried up at the moment.
― Ward Fowler, Saturday, 6 February 2021 14:29 (two years ago) link
Oh haha, bit slow today xp
― or something, Saturday, 6 February 2021 15:18 (two years ago) link
> The Avengers (often the Diana Rigg colour episodes)
it was actually the emma peel / tara king handover episode on friday.
emma peel is, i recently realised, outside my 'half age plus seven' range now.
― koogs, Saturday, 6 February 2021 15:41 (two years ago) link
This YouTube channel seems to have quite a few video obscurities that are of interest to this thread. I came to it by looking for - and finding – the 80s TV adaptation of Robert Aickman's brilliant short story 'The Hospice'. It doesn't really capture the original's queasily dark laughter at the hell of English cuisine and hospitality, but it's pretty faithful to the text and def has its moments:
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 February 2021 14:50 (two years ago) link
oooh thanks for the heads-up
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 February 2021 16:15 (two years ago) link
I treated myself to a couple of 80s kids shows that are minor players in this/Scarred For Life scene in the recent Network sale.
King of the Castle is very Baker & Martin, with a surreal version of a boy's life after moving to a tower block where there are bullies and the workshy nature of his jazz musician dad jars against his 'ideas above his station' (which seem to amount to singing in a choir), all played out in a broken lift shaft and/or medieval tower. Talfryn Thomas and Milton Jones as the main players should tell you a lot about it.
Raven is bang in this territory, or Alan Garner land, with Phil Daniels as someone who may or may not be King Arthur reborn investigating and trying to stop nuclear waste being dumped in a cave system mapped to the zodiac while letching after Debbie Out Of EastEnders. It's definitely missing something, hence the relative obscurity, but worth the limited runtime.
The Clifton House Mystery, I hate to say, doesn't actually have that much going for it except when Peter Sallies turns up. For fans of This Sort Of Thing it's utterly predictable - and fails to go The House That Bled To Death when given the opportunity, probably because of being screened in the middle of the afternoon. The girl of the children is sidelined in favour of briefcase wanker Justin Bennett Out Of Grange Hill but most annoying of all THE HOUSE IS CLEARLY IN HOTWELLS AND NOT CLIFTON.
Into The Labyrinth was the most fun of all though, at least for the first two seasons with Ron Moody - although the third lets the wonderful Pamela Salem chew the scenery without competition. A sort of Quantum Leap performed as a pantomime, the kids go on a fetch quest while the adults dress up in period costumes and Rep-approved regional accents as they pretend to be ignorant of the plot. There's a genuinely amazing episode where Moody is Holmes and Salem is an 'actress' in Victorian London that's more camp than Duncan Norvelle slap fighting with Charlie Hawtrey. I'm not convinced it's for everyone though...
― Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 19 February 2021 16:51 (two years ago) link
i am still haunted by a barely remembered scene from King of the Castle which i can't elaborate on right now probly cos it's Friday pub time but there's a weird incestual scene that burned into my head at time of broadcast, couldn't even remember what the show was called for decades after
― The Scampo Fell to Earth (Noodle Vague), Friday, 19 February 2021 17:54 (two years ago) link
There was a sampling platter of these shows on my DVD of Children Of The Stones. Months later I saw a kid proclaim themselves king of the castle and was like "oh fuck they're still at it".
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 22 February 2021 11:51 (two years ago) link
From the author of Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music comes a riveting journey into the psyche of Britain through its golden age of television and film.Growing up in the 1970s, Rob Young’s main storyteller was the wooden box with the glass window in the corner of the family living room, otherwise known as the TV set. Before the age of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, YouTube and commercial streaming services, watching television was a vastly different experience. You switched on, you sat back and you watched. There was no pause or fast-forward button.The cross-genre feast of moving pictures produced in Britain between the late 1950s and late 1980s – from Quatermass and Tom Jones to The Wicker Man and Brideshead Revisited, from A Canterbury Tale and The Go-Between to Bagpuss and Children of the Stones, and from John Betjeman’s travelogues to ghost stories at Christmas – contributed to a national conversation and collective memory. British-made sci-fi, folk horror, period drama and televisual grand tours played out tensions between the past and the present, dramatised the fractures and injustices in society and acted as a portal for magical and ghostly visions.
Growing up in the 1970s, Rob Young’s main storyteller was the wooden box with the glass window in the corner of the family living room, otherwise known as the TV set. Before the age of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, YouTube and commercial streaming services, watching television was a vastly different experience. You switched on, you sat back and you watched. There was no pause or fast-forward button.
The cross-genre feast of moving pictures produced in Britain between the late 1950s and late 1980s – from Quatermass and Tom Jones to The Wicker Man and Brideshead Revisited, from A Canterbury Tale and The Go-Between to Bagpuss and Children of the Stones, and from John Betjeman’s travelogues to ghost stories at Christmas – contributed to a national conversation and collective memory. British-made sci-fi, folk horror, period drama and televisual grand tours played out tensions between the past and the present, dramatised the fractures and injustices in society and acted as a portal for magical and ghostly visions.
― Number None, Friday, 30 July 2021 21:29 (two years ago) link
Dunno, I'm going to be overly skeptical from the start and say I've read a lot of these (not least Johnny Mains' excellent Scarred For Life). It's bait for me so I'll probably still get it but..
― Well *I* know who he is (aldo), Friday, 30 July 2021 23:42 (two years ago) link
A Canterbury Tale is 1944-ish so maybe somebody could've done some research
― i wish i had cuck feet (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 31 July 2021 00:08 (two years ago) link
Hopefully book is more accurate than blurb.
― Two Severins Clash (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 31 July 2021 11:59 (two years ago) link
I had ordered and just received Scarred for Life volumes 1 & 2, and...dear god, I somehow failed to notice the page count on these things. They're massive! Something like 1300 pages between the two of them? I'll be exploring their riches for some time to come.
― Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 20:35 (two years ago) link
Also vol 2 is part 1 of vol 2, he realised there was too much for one volume.
Do not go on Network dvd after reading the TV sections, especially when they have a sale on.
― Long enough attention span for a Stephen Bissette blu-ray extra (aldo), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 21:34 (two years ago) link
I've been hip-deep in the first book for weeks now. Soooo many public information films watched, soooo many shows added to the must-see list.
I just tonight found an American analogue that ticks many of the boxes and must've absolutely traumatized a lot of '70s youngsters on our end of the ocean:
(I've watched a lot of In Search Of and it's mostly very dated and mildly ooky cheese but this is a rare instance where they likely succeeded in freaking young viewers out.)
― Gimme some skin! Because I don't have any skin. (Old Lunch), Monday, 18 October 2021 01:12 (one year ago) link
I only had vague memories so it took me a while to find, but it seems the 70s version of The Phoenix and the Carpet was verily terrifying
― Kim, Monday, 18 October 2021 13:20 (one year ago) link
starts on Forces TV (ch96) on monday. i don't remember anything about it, only that it gets recommended on amazon when you buy things like tomorrow people and children of the stones.
― koogs, Saturday, 23 October 2021 15:15 (one year ago) link
i remember being v into it as a kid and i think i read the novelization at least once, i never remember to tune in to Forces TV consistently tho
― maybe these baps are legends (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 23 October 2021 15:20 (one year ago) link
Been watching all of the Quatermass TV series with a friend, just finished the last season, and jeeeesus. So much better than the Hammer films. That last one is a fantastic blend of apocalyptic dystopia, sci-fi and folk horror, and surprisingly bleak.
― emil.y, Friday, 1 April 2022 16:23 (one year ago) link
that last one is one of my v favourites. but yes, an incredible set of tv series.
― Fizzles, Friday, 1 April 2022 17:02 (one year ago) link
Do you mean the last one made in the late 70s? Not seen it but always been curious about that one.
― Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 1 April 2022 18:48 (one year ago) link
Yep, Quatermass IV. It is brilliant, I highly recommend it.
― emil.y, Friday, 1 April 2022 18:54 (one year ago) link
(with added toyah)
― koogs, Friday, 1 April 2022 18:57 (one year ago) link
Is that only on DVD? I see that some of the episodes are on YouTube
It was on my old Netflix DVD queue for several years, but never materialized
― Andy the Grasshopper, Friday, 1 April 2022 19:24 (one year ago) link
it is also, for any fall fans, where the LAY LAY LAY LAY intro to Lay of the Land comes from. i think it may be my favourite of the quatermass series too. brings together a lot of pastoral and science fiction elements. also has simon maccorkindale bawling all his lines at point blank range to his interlocutors ofc.
― Fizzles, Monday, 4 April 2022 17:00 (one year ago) link
There's a Region B Blu-Ray of Quatermass IV that includes the chopped down 'TV movie' version:
I'm coming down to London in a couple of weeks for this Nigel Kneale centenary celebration:
― Ward Fowler, Monday, 4 April 2022 18:19 (one year ago) link
heh - wrong link!
― Ward Fowler, Monday, 4 April 2022 18:20 (one year ago) link
Yeah I scored that blu at a second hand store recently - but was assuming Andy meant "DVD only" as in "not streaming anywhere".
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 5 April 2022 09:50 (one year ago) link
I watched Quatermass and the Pit yesterday (the original serial). I knew the bit about finding the insectoids in the ship but I thought that was the climax of the whole thing, not the cliffhanger of the middle episode - possibly I watched that episode when it was shown by itself in 1986 - so that was a surprise. The top brass being the bad guys was also unexpected.
Started on IV and wow this is a different thing altogether, heavy Riddley Walker vibes - a book I found hugely depressing.
― ledge, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 12:43 (one year ago) link
The initial entry into the Academy might be the hardest part? Or at least the most chaotic (that outdoor area with all the skeletons and dogs).
There's a Region B Blu-Ray of Quatermass IV that includes the chopped down 'TV movie' version:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47546/the-listeners🕸I'm coming down to London in a couple of weeks for this Nigel Kneale centenary celebration:https://www.nigelknealecentenary.com🕸/
― Fizzles, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 14:11 (one year ago) link
This YT channel is a good little resource for obscure TV from past decades, found some mad Canadian sci-fi series with Kier Dullea.
― Maresn3st, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 14:19 (one year ago) link
Okay fuckit, it's called - 50's Sleaze, 60's Ease & 70's Cheese From London
― Maresn3st, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 14:20 (one year ago) link
That's a shame Fizzles, would've been v cool to see you there. You don't mention The Stone Tape in your note, which is possibly my favourite because it really does foreground folk tradition v modern technology so well, and Jane Asher being there to introduce it on the Saturday was enough to sell me a ticket.
BFI are just about to reissue his 1984 adaptation on disc:
And I keep meaning to pick up The Crunch disc from Network, which rounds up three different one-offs:
― Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 14:34 (one year ago) link
It occurred to me today that Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End (1953) has a couple of elements seen in Quatermasses Pit & IV - racial memory of demonic looking aliens, and a kind of alien induced mass hypnosis of children.Also was surprised to see the figure in The Pit with sixfold symmetry (sevenfold in the film) described as a pentacle - then was delighted to learn (via Wikipedia) that traditionally a pentacle can be any kind of magical symbol and is probably etymologically related to pendant (and [pit and the] pendulum!) , not greek penta/5.
― ledge, Wednesday, 6 April 2022 20:25 (one year ago) link
I was going to say 'The Crunch is excellent although you probably don't need' then reminding myself what's on it I remembered all three are great in their own way. The Gentlemen's club one is the most predictable, the gentrification one the most contrived but they're all very watchable.
The Stone Tape is probably my favourite Kneale and The Witches is his best adaptation.
― Long enough attention span for a Stephen Bissette blu-ray extra (aldo), Wednesday, 6 April 2022 22:15 (one year ago) link
Quatermass IV is easily findable on archive.org, as is Quatermass and the Pit. Otherwise finding some of this stuff to stream, legally or otherwise, is annoyingly difficult, I would have thought that some of the ones released on DVD in the last few years (Penda's Fen, Robin Redbreast) might be available somewhere but apparently not.
― ledge, Thursday, 7 April 2022 13:00 (one year ago) link
The Stone Tape is of course also a parable about the superiority of physical media.
― Ward Fowler, Thursday, 7 April 2022 14:06 (one year ago) link
Ha! Maybe he was bitter at the loss of the first Quatermass serial.
― ledge, Thursday, 7 April 2022 14:22 (one year ago) link
One final Quatermass IV thing - watch out for a poor extra getting seriously knocked over by the van when they try to escape the stone circle in Ep 1, 47 minutes in.
― ledge, Thursday, 7 April 2022 14:36 (one year ago) link
_Is that only on DVD? I see that some of the episodes are on YouTube_Quatermass IV is easily findable on archive.org, as is Quatermass and the Pit. Otherwise finding some of this stuff to stream, legally or otherwise, is annoyingly difficult, I would have thought that some of the ones released on DVD in the last few years (Penda's Fen, Robin Redbreast) might be available somewhere but apparently not.
― Fizzles, Thursday, 7 April 2022 16:15 (one year ago) link
And I think Artemis 81 is available in its entirety on youtube? yep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rn7LmYfiD8
― Fizzles, Thursday, 7 April 2022 16:17 (one year ago) link
Ah right, I did look on the BFI site - definitely not available there - and I tried to look on Amazon but for some reason it's not easy to search these things if you're not signed up. Penda's Fen may be available on Britbox via Amazon but I couldn't confirm this either.
― ledge, Thursday, 7 April 2022 16:21 (one year ago) link
it does puzzle me that they think people will sign up before they can see what they're signing up for.
i can only find britbox US links, nothing in the UK. as you said it was reissued a couple of years ago, i think mine was £5 from fopp. (just don't ask me where it is)
― koogs, Thursday, 7 April 2022 16:31 (one year ago) link
pendas fen isn’t available there afaict. odd about robin redbreast, it comes up when i search but… i’m not sure if it’s *actually* via the BFI catalogue or just a general “available to buy” thing. anyway still amazes me how patchily available a lot of these things are. and yes, got The Stone Tape on dvd - it’s v strong in terms of the themes, though for some reason it didn’t quite do it for me overall. maybe a rewatch is due.
― Fizzles, Thursday, 7 April 2022 16:35 (one year ago) link
that last bit a belated response to ward fowler!
The Stone Tape is verrry hammy in places, more so than the usual amount of charming ham you get with most of these pieces. But the good bits make it incredibly special, imo.
― emil.y, Thursday, 7 April 2022 17:07 (one year ago) link
I was looking at a blog that focuses on this kind of thing but with a broader remit - http://www.wyrdbritain.co.uk/ - and found two shows I'd never heard of before: Leap in the Dark (BBC) and Shades of Darkness (ITV), the former featuring Russell Hoban and Alan Garner as writers, the latter dramatising classic tales and probably more straightforwardly supernatural than the stuff in this thread. Perhaps forgotten for good reason, certainly I'm not particularly keen to give them a go, but maybe of interest to others here.
― ledge, Thursday, 7 April 2022 17:49 (one year ago) link
Hoban and Garner??? OK, am intrigued.
― Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 8 April 2022 02:26 (one year ago) link
Here's a more helpful link: http://www.wyrdbritain.co.uk/search/label/Leap%20in%20the%20Dark
― ledge, Friday, 8 April 2022 07:22 (one year ago) link
the Hoban and Garner episodes are on youtube
― Number None, Friday, 8 April 2022 08:34 (one year ago) link
Artemis 81, um, not for me. Far far too deeply embedded in its niche, too ponderous and obscure and too much unsaid for my liking - of course what is left unsaid can be a major aspect of this genre and what can seem to one person vague or empty can to another seem loaded with implicit or potential meaning. I did lol when i was wondering what, if anything, it all meant, and Harlax said "a story is a sequence of fictitious events! how can it mean?" - and then Gwen proceeded on a long expository speech explaining precisely what it meant - well, one aspect of it anyway.
The strange city probably the best bit, though unfortunately too dark in the youtube version. Reminiscent of Lanark I think, though it's a long time since I read that. Note that if you do watch the youtube version, there's a somewhat important scene missing at 1:54, which can be found on another full version on youtube in even worse quality.)
― ledge, Friday, 8 April 2022 13:06 (one year ago) link
I watched the first half of Artemis 81 at original broadcast but it annoyed the fuck out of my dad, o got sent to bed and I've never watched the second half
I mean he was probably otm but this is my memory
― a spectre is haunting your mom (Noodle Vague), Friday, 8 April 2022 21:01 (one year ago) link
quatermass xperiment on tptv tonight
― koogs, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 18:00 (one year ago) link
i liked artemis 81 but it is ponderous af. the simultaneous suicides is a good sinister opening, and the alternate city also good. there are many laboured bits and im not sure it really makes any sense but the whole thing seems so wild as a thing to get from mind to screen im delighted it exists.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 18:49 (one year ago) link
Yes, any air of mystery it has for me is nothing to do with the content and all to do with "how did this ever get made?", and though I didn't particularly enjoy it I don't mean that at all disparagingly.When I get back from hols I'll start on the other Nigel Kneales on youtube, and see about getting hold of Robin Redbreast, and Penda's Fen for a second viewing.
― ledge, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 19:24 (one year ago) link
I enjoyed it at the time, my mate was over (I guess his family wasn't going to watch it), my mum (fairs fair it's her house) and maybe my sister..
I don't remember much of it, there was a foreign town which was supposedly hell or purgatory or some such, although it looked like Prague or some such..
I've not seen it since, and I don't remember seeing it available on video or dvd etc. Unless it's just you lot have good memories!
― Mark G, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 19:43 (one year ago) link
Oh there it is, upthread on YouTube!
― Mark G, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 19:45 (one year ago) link
I watched Penda's Fen for the first time last night. It's weird how certain obsessions can revolve around a text you've not read or a film you've not seen and this is right up there for that - a kind of ur-text for landscape mysticism or whatever you might want to call it. What a beautifully strange film. This is undoubtedly recency bias but I've convinced myself the landscape shots in Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir are homages to Penda's Fen. Something in the hovering stillness, the interaction with the voiceovers.
One person I've not seen mentioned here is Derek Jarman. Something about the way he shot landscape and blended ideas of disobedience, oppression and that sense of the ungovernable chimes with Penda (and Hogg, who worked for Jarman in the 80s). I first saw his A Journey to Avebury in a gallery and couldn't take my eyes of it. It's stayed with me and I can't really say why.
― Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Tuesday, 19 April 2022 10:16 (one year ago) link
Just in case anyone was still thinking of attending the Nigel Kneale fest on Saturday, it's apparently sold out now.
― Ward Fowler, Thursday, 21 April 2022 18:44 (one year ago) link
Watched By Our Selves yesterday, which sort of fits here. It's an Andrew Kotting film from 2015, tracing one of his and Iain Sinclair's obsessions: John Clare's escape from the asylum in Epping Forest and his subsequent four-day odyssey back to Helpston to find the love of his life, Mary Joyce (who'd been dead three years, incidentally). It's black and white, features a silent moon-faced Toby Jones as Clare on his hopeless walk, and also Jones' dad - who played Clare in a TV play in the early 70s - reading some of Clare's accounts of the walk. It does start to feel its 80 minutes by the end but it has something about it. It's on Amazon Prime if that's your thing.
― Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 24 April 2022 10:39 (one year ago) link
Did anyone go to the Kneale thing in the end? Any good?
― Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 24 April 2022 10:40 (one year ago) link
By Our Selves sounds good, will steal
― Number One shlong in Devon (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 24 April 2022 10:54 (one year ago) link
I think I should give that a go too.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 24 April 2022 11:48 (one year ago) link
rewatched penda's fen ahead of listening to the Uncanny Hour podcast thing that robin ince does (or maybe did, i an over a year behind). still don't know what to think (and it was £6 rather than 5 from fopp but was a blu ray)
― koogs, Sunday, 24 April 2022 23:16 (one year ago) link
I did and it was good. Well organised etc. I think for a lot of the attendees, myself included, it was the first affair of this kind they'd been to since lockdown so the overall vibe was friendly, positive, upbeat. A celebration of Kneale rather than a rigorous critical interrogation, although most of the speakers had good things to say and there some genuinely funny moments. I learned some things I didn't know before (a lost tv one-off called Chopper with Patrick Troughton and an evil motorbike; Kneale working on a TV adaptation of Brian Aldiss's Non-Stop!) The lost radio play reading wasn't the absolute worst of its kind I'd seen, but it went on too long and was undermiked (the main technical flaw of the day).
I knew all the films/ tv progs on the bill, although it was nice to see them on a big screen. Larger projection did really reveal the limitations of BBC budgets. The special effects in the Stone Tape are just really shoddy, even for the time.
I was utterly ambushed by unexpected emotion when they introduced Jane Asher with a clip from the first Quatermass movie - I'd totally forgotten that she was the little girl who gets her dolly broken by the space man-monster, very nearly 70 years ago. It's all about time, innit.
― Ward Fowler, Monday, 25 April 2022 22:58 (one year ago) link
I watched By Our Selves. I only really enjoyed the documentary bits, most everything else seemed a tad sterile to me. I knew nothing about John Clare so I would have enjoyed a straight documentary more. I'm curious about the director's other film This Filthy Earth.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 26 April 2022 17:18 (one year ago) link
Cool little BBC feature on Quartermass:
― Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 28 April 2022 17:08 (one year ago) link
oh, i have a question.
what if anything does this have to do with ^ that quatermass? is there a wider meaning of the name?
― koogs, Thursday, 28 April 2022 17:47 (one year ago) link
Kneale got Quatermass from the phone book - one of the researchers at that centenary thing said they'd even tracked down the particular phone book in question, with a Mrs Quatermass listed.
Don't know how Dockstader came by that name tho
― Ward Fowler, Thursday, 28 April 2022 17:53 (one year ago) link
Going to do The Edge of Darkness here, even though it doesn't fit for a number of reasons – it doesn't have the CREEPY VIBE and it's from 1985. tho I think it's closer to the type than it looks on first inspection. Apologies, I couldn't be bothered to work round SPOILERS, so all spoilers I guess. You should watch this though. It's incredible.
BOB. PECK.The line from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy about Jim Prideaux being made 'by the same firm that did Stonehenge' applies perfectly to Bob Peck. He seems bigger even than Joe Don Baker, which if you've seen Charley Varrick sounds like a hell of a statement. Wikipedia tells me he's actually an inch shorter at 6'1". still, Bob Peck looks he doesn't need to move for anyone and this makes his placidity potent and his portrayal of grief feel subterranean, a huge, implacable motive force. He's very still. This is all very important for his symbolic role, I think. The direction and editing show his mild eyes noticing everything. Other people spar off him, weighing him up with uncertain glances, unclear about his meaning and purpose.
The Sources of InformationThis is very noticeable watching it now. It's in a middle place between computer databases and everything still being on a hard copy somewhere. Phone calls still needed. Having to go to places to collect information. It made me wonder how modern writers manage to move their characters about at all. What is the motivation to move someone from one place to another when an awful lot of essential information can be garnered online. It becomes more esoteric. Less about necessity.
This is from a time just before that conundrum is posed, so that phone calls and rendezvous and travel are all required. People may not be contactable when you need them. How Craven navigates the world of information is interesting. Detection doesn't happen as such – he is just *driven* (as Jedburgh says of him in the final episode) to acquire whatever he needs to get to the centre of the web. Craven finds recordings, notes, interrogates, interviews, a computer database, he uses psychic contact with his dead daughter, Emma, and talks to himself, he exists in a web of surveillance, data security and information secrecy, odd secret service functions. Colleagues consider him on the edge of sanity – one version of the 'edge of darkness' at play – and he himself wonders what territories he is walking in, especially when he loses the link with his Emma. It is becomes increasingly clear his role as a policeman is becoming entirely absorbed by an emotional quest. Quest? Yes, the motives behind the drive are sexualised, animistic, mythic, arthurian.
SexualisationHis daughter, the absence of the mother, there's something going on here. You notice it in the car in the first episode - it's not entirely clear whether she's his daughter or his young girlfriend. It's in the notorious and powerful episode where he sniffs his dead daughter's dildo, working his way round her bedroom, trying to find, recover, feel her presence.
then there's his very peculiar interrogation technique, of one of the pair who was involved in her death, in the hospital where the mother died. He whispers tenderly and softly to the unconscious terrorist, near death, comforting and sensuously courting him, in order to get the information he needs.
So much!It's super super dense, the writing, the direction, the acting - it all contains so much. the politics of energy and post-industrial environment, nature v humankind, a psychological portrait of grief, a nuclear era psychomachia - these themes in particular link this to something like Penda's Fen or Quatermass – all connected with Thatcherism, London, mining, masculinity. High relevant to emusk for example. But also the faces in this are alive with abrasive interaction, power plays, sizing each other up. There's an extremely memorable moment where we cut from Jedburgh (Joe Don Baker) in a combat jacket, running around in crisis mode, to him standing, cheerfully grinng, raising a stetson to a sworn enemy flying in from the States. People are not what they seem and are willing to play parts in the dance that's taking place. ie this programme doesn't take its viewers for fools, thank god.
As a by the bye – there's nothing like this era tv ('70s, '80s) for better conveying a grey London in the rain.
psycho psycho machia
so yeah about that. Jedburgh is basically Christianity; that's fairly heavily trailed. He is of course an extraordinary character – Chestertonian in his Christian exuberance to do good, a rather militant good, and to live life and kill enemy. He is clearly co-opted by state authority in the beginning, but recognises this and breaks from it into a sort of Manichean entity, driven to bring about Armageddon. Holding up the plutonium in his extended hands in the form of a cross at the conference. Craven is, as Jedburgh himself says, 'freeze-dried from some earlier epoch'. His an animistic world, variously portrayed as a tree and a stag. He represents the earth, and the Gaia theory, and survival beyond nuclear war. Pastoral v Nuclear makes it very much of that period of drama. And It's interesting to see this conversation – of nature being part of and surviving within the ambit of human's capitalistic behaviour – worked through by The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing.
How the show contains all this in an integrated way is something else that adds to its density, makes it potent like v good whisky.
i haven't seen the hollywood remake, though i'd like to, once i've rewatched this a couple of times.
― Fizzles, Sunday, 27 November 2022 16:55 (ten months ago) link
Thanks Fizzles, a perceptive and insightful post as always! No it doesn't have the creepy vibe that this thread is all about but I think it's adjacent. The creepiness of the shows in this thread is obviously supernatural, whereas edge of darkness is trading on the very real idea of nuclear terror, which it does it subtly and creepily (the occasional shots of trains of nuclear waste rattling through the night) as well as much more explicitly (sluicing the tunnels with radioactive water, the dead body in the radiation suit at the hot cell). And not to throw the net of creepiness too wide but there's the idea of higher powers (governmental or extra governmental) always watching even when you don't know it - AZURE!
I have to say Jedburgh = Christianity passed me by on my previous viewings, if I rewatch I'll look out for it. I guess I would have characterised him as chaotic neutral.
I have no interest in seeing mel gibson's remake.
― ledge, Monday, 28 November 2022 08:54 (ten months ago) link
i do think there's an explicitly supernatural element, but yes, this is firmly in the nuclear space. there's a few things that cause me to locate it perhaps more closely to the vibe that might seem appropriate, but they're all fairly subliminal.
- the spring magically appearing where his daughter dies (Jedburgh quotes Hamlet when he sees it: 'Oh Jepthah, Judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou' which suggests biblical allusion on his part, but it can also be read as a sacred grove). - the figuring of craven out of policeman into an avatar of nature, and his final mystical transformation into a stag (it's how he's last seen, and we only hear how he just disappears at the same time as a distant cry) - the daughter as just on the edge of psychic projection and autonomous ghost- christianity v nature worship allegory (if you do watch it again i'm interested in your thoughts – there are various key moments throughout, the co-opting and working with the state in the first place, but becoming a radical millenarian by an end seems to me deliberately allegorical)
i guess you could see it as a reverse of penda's fen, where nuclear and military appropriation and potential destruction of the land are a meaningful backdrop to the supernatural events. in this it's the reverse, the supernatural is a deep, unemphasised background to the nuclear and energy political thriller.
― Fizzles, Monday, 28 November 2022 09:19 (ten months ago) link
TKM should overruled Peck and turned him into a tree, as intended.
― Piedie Gimbel, Monday, 28 November 2022 10:59 (ten months ago) link
I've never seen The Edge of Darkness
― Oh wouldn't it be rubbery? (Tom D.), Monday, 28 November 2022 11:52 (ten months ago) link
Genuinely one of the greatest TV series ever, real justification-of-the-form stuff. I cannot imagine the circumstances which would lead to me watching an American remake.
― Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Monday, 5 December 2022 05:44 (nine months ago) link
There is something both supernaturally and actually-in-reality terrifying about dying of radiation poisoning (it’s invisible! but it kills you grotesquely). Proper horror
― Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 5 December 2022 12:09 (nine months ago) link
And obvs the Clapton/Kamen score is an incredible bullseye use of their limited ranges
― Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 5 December 2022 12:11 (nine months ago) link
Okay watching Mike Hodges' The Tyrant King on youtube (thanks Soref for the recommendation) and it has a distinctly creepy UK vibe - I think this would have disturbed me as a kid, especially with the Pink Floyd freakout jams.. it's not very supernatural (so far) but has sinister adults chasing children all over London
― Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 22 December 2022 00:49 (nine months ago) link
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 17 March 2023 06:25 (six months ago) link
(I recently rewatched EoD and discovered a rich vein of screencaps)
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 17 March 2023 06:27 (six months ago) link
Fizzles' analysis above deserves more space. I didn't pick up on Jedburgh = Christianity either, but admittedly I'm biased by the American style of Atomic Christianity/apocalyptic which would have told the story from Joe Don Baker's p.o.v. or something.
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 17 March 2023 07:11 (six months ago) link
Anyway, back to pining away for the lost recordings of the original A For Andromeda
― Elvis Telecom, Friday, 17 March 2023 07:12 (six months ago) link
one of my friends recommended me two books called "Scarred For Life" by Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence, i've found them to be genuinely excellent considerations of all aspects of this kind of thing
― Kate (rushomancy), Friday, 17 March 2023 14:43 (six months ago) link
Thread revival made me look up Sapphire and Steel and damn, is it as great as it sounds?
There was a vibe so many of these programs had which tripped me out when I’d catch them as a kid. For some reason my local PBS station (iirc) would air Blake’s 7 late at night and the atmosphere and style of it just felt very creepy and odd to me. I don’t know how creepy it actually is, this was something I was watching as a 9 or 10 yr old in the mid eighties.
― omar little, Friday, 17 March 2023 15:58 (six months ago) link
sapphire and steel is a very slow by 2023 standards. it's also made all the weirder when you consider it went out at prime time early evening back when there were only 3 TV channels available.
and the various cases are wildly different
― koogs, Friday, 17 March 2023 16:36 (six months ago) link
Sapphire and Steel is slow and of its time, yes, but it's wonderfully weird and entertaining. If you don't like the first episode, you can safely bail on the rest.
― Brad C., Friday, 17 March 2023 16:41 (six months ago) link
I would actually say that if you don't like the first episode, try going straight to the second season. The first season is good fun but a bit shonky, the second season is amazing imo. I can't remember quite how much you need to watch to get the 'lore' of the show, but I think you can do it this way without missing too much.
― emil.y, Friday, 17 March 2023 16:50 (six months ago) link
Just finished EoD. Extraordinary - thanks for highlighting it!
― kinder, Friday, 17 March 2023 17:40 (six months ago) link
on reflection I think emil.y is right ... S1 of S&S is scary but has two cute kids getting lots of screen time; many would prefer the child-free horror of S2
― Brad C., Friday, 17 March 2023 18:05 (six months ago) link
Lots of quibbles about stuff but I would simply like to say I watched the first 2 stories at time of broadcast and the second one was the one that stuck
― satori enabler (Noodle Vague), Friday, 17 March 2023 20:00 (six months ago) link
second one is extraordinary i think. it’s worth watching the first just to experience how deep and hard the second one goes. it’s pretty long.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 19:43 (six months ago) link
I often wonder if this is why Space: 1999 failed to catch on. Lew Grade's business model involved selling UK shows to the US audience, which worked with The Saint and Danger Man because despite starring British actors and being written by British people everybody knew the brief. Meanwhile Gerry Anderson wanted to get into live action.
So his first show was UFO, which was a weird mixture of dayglow wigs and downbeat plots where the heroes always lost. And the Space: 1999, which had some awesome spaceships but every episode consisted of Martin Landau looking worried and Barry Morse looking worried and at the end of Landau would look at the camera and say "there's no hope for any of us, or for the people watching at home, because it's 1975 and there's just no hope, no hope at all".
Every single episode. They just couldn't suppress their Britishness. The Britishness leaked through. To this day I haven't seen Moonbase 3 but from what I've read it was much the same but without even aliens. Like Star Cops but ultra-70s.
― Ashley Pomeroy, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:13 (six months ago) link
I remember reading about a show called The Nightmare Man, which had Celia Imrie, and was one of those six-part one-offs made by the BBC. But with four parts. Adapted by Robert Holmes from a novel and shot on location with murky, creepy videotape:https://www.thisishorror.co.uk/a-halloween-blast-from-the-past-the-nightmare-man/
I would have been five when it was on TV so my parents would not have let me watch it. I wasn't allowed to watch The Day of the Triffids either, although it was apparently marketed as action-packed fun for the family (with a Radio Times cover). Apart from the shot-on-video-in-the-rain look I think the complete lack of irony, the utter seriousness of it all, was the key thing that made shows like that work. The portentousness. And in the case of Sapphire and Steel, the measured pace.
Taggart. I remember that being unusually grim as well. It wasn't sci-fi or fantasy, or even set in an alternative world, but it was nastier than other detective shows.
I remember being aware of Edge of Darkness. It was apparently repeated on BBC1 almost immediately after it was broadcast on BBC2, which didn't happen often. I would have caught a repeat in the 1990s, by which time it was famous. I remember that beyond the subtext it also worked as a pacy action thriller - it felt cinematic in a way that stood out. I still remember the cliffhanger where Craven tries to find a working telephone. Wasn't the evil corporation's goal a space station?
― Ashley Pomeroy, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:24 (six months ago) link
The Nightmare Man is v good tho i recall being slightly underwhelmed. Got it on dvd somewhere, years since i watched it. Will dig it out and have another watch.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:31 (six months ago) link
otm about the seriousness of it all. that isn’t a mode or tone you get so much These Days.
― Fizzles, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:32 (six months ago) link
And! While I'm hyperactive I remember that Whoops Apocalypse - the TV show - was utterly unfunny but had a grim, almost joyless air to it. And given the casual racism and toplessness it now feels like an artefact from an alien planet:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mwWhWtvJAw
Off the top of my head the ending was played completely straight as well, with Barry Morse - again - doing some acting. There was a film but it was basically slapstick.
― Ashley Pomeroy, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 21:32 (six months ago) link
second series of space 1999 was rejigged for an American audience - swapping out grumpy Barry Morse for the shape-shifting woman, slightly lighter, more romance.
first season is better imo
― koogs, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 22:08 (six months ago) link
(did they ever explain where Barry Morse went?)
― koogs, Tuesday, 21 March 2023 22:09 (six months ago) link
Back to Canada I assume.
― Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 22:30 (six months ago) link
Ok, I've never had any desire to watch this before but now I'm sold!
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 11:20 (six months ago) link
Barbara Bain looks worried too.
― Maggot Bairn (Tom D.), Wednesday, 22 March 2023 11:43 (six months ago) link
'Black Sun' is my Space 1999 Series One go-to, absolutely batshit and bleak, until this brilliant 2001-style third act.
― MaresNest, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 11:45 (six months ago) link
Really nice spooky feel to several season 1 eps in Space: 1999; there's the episode where Big Jim Sullivan is playing a coral sitar recital for the team, and that music underpins the rest of the show. Lots of ultra-wide angles, shadows and voids, and age-inappropriate scares. In season 2, the ambient lighting and colour palette get brighter, Maya solves everything by turning into an insect or whatever, and they all have a good laugh in the epilogue at Tony Anholt's homebrew. Not good!
― Michael Jones, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 11:50 (six months ago) link
I'd have sold a kidney to own this. pic.twitter.com/NxmJUHQKWh— Scarred for Life (@ScarredForLife2) March 20, 2023
― koogs, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 13:46 (six months ago) link
^ all three of them looking worried
― koogs, Wednesday, 22 March 2023 13:51 (six months ago) link
lol yes I love how despite all the attempts at HEY KIDS TOYS advertising that clip still feels bleak a f
― Daniel_Rf, Friday, 24 March 2023 12:24 (six months ago) link
Space 1999 is a good call, I can't think of too many contemporaneous U.S. shows that had something of that sinister vibe but that one did.
― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Friday, 24 March 2023 13:49 (six months ago) link
I watched the movie The Wonder (currently on Netflix) the other night on a giant TV with motion smoothing turned on, and the digital made it look very much like a low budget 70s or 80s BBC production. I thought it really added something, so if you're thinking about watching the movie, I recommend seeing it that way if possible.
― but also fuck you (unperson), Saturday, 25 March 2023 20:46 (six months ago) link
Any good cultural studies type writing on the British archetype of the guy who knows more than everyone else and is a total asshole about it? Sherlock Holmes, old school Who, Saphire & Steel...
― Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 25 March 2023 21:32 (six months ago) link
Henry Higgins …
― a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 26 March 2023 01:59 (six months ago) link
finally trudging through The Omega Factor after being unimpressed with the first couple of eps when i first bought the DVDs years ago - it is pretty thin gruel, really terrible writing and blah characters - Louise Jameson's presence and outfits probably the high point - there SHOULD be an excellent show here, secret govt department investigating paranormal goings-on in 1979 ought to be a fuckin cracker but it just doesn't work, what a shame
― meat and two vdgg (emsworth), Wednesday, 5 July 2023 01:40 (two months ago) link