1 9 8 0 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
This 13-part anthology of spine-shiverers was produced for ITV by cult horror flick company, Hammer Films. Those taking the helm included such Hammer veteran directors as Don Sharp – maker of the classic The Brides of Fu Manchu – and Peter Sasdy.
Production of the series was quick – the scripts were written in a shorter time than was desirable and each of the 13 episodes was shot in two weeks, totalling approximately six months of filming.
Some of this took place in the grounds of Hampden House itself (Hammer’s new headquarters in Buckinghamshire), much of the rest of it was done in the local area, in particular, the nearby church and the village of Great Missenden.
Subject matter covered all the usual suspects – voodoo, cannibalism, witchcraft, devil worship, werewolves, body snatchers – with the overall result being decently shocking.
The series was originally screened just after the 9 pm watershed to accommodate its often-gruesome content and occasional flashes of nudity, and the high gore quotient can still shock today: hands are severed and faces blown off, while animals have a particularly bad time of it: crows are beheaded, cats immolated on window panes, rabbits disembowelled and tigers electrocuted.
A follow-on collection of Hitchcock-style thrillers appeared in 1984 as Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense.
Soundtrack composer David Winter (Jon Finch) finds a strange young woman hiding in the barn of his isolated farmhouse and ends up getting all hot under the collar for Lucinda, a lusty time-travelling 17th-century witch played by Patricia Quinn (Magenta of Rocky Horror fame – In the nude no less).
Events in the farmhouse build to a terrifying climax threatening not only David’s marriage to Mary (Prunella Gee) but also his sanity as the witch takes possession of him.
THE 13TH REUNION
When Ruth Cairns (Julia Foster) is assigned by her newspaper to do a story on a dubious slimming clinic, events soon take a sinister turn.
First, her boyfriend crashes his car on a straight road, killing himself. Then his corpse disappears. Is it the work of body snatchers and, if so, why?
Ruth treads a trail of terror before she comes face to face with the horrifying truth.
Sir Humphrey Chesterton
Norman Shenley (Denholm Elliot) is an estate agent slowly being driven mad by dreams and supernatural happenings which he believes are in his imagination but are actually being engineered by his secretary and her boyfriend.
Features some rather grisly deaths – “you shouldn’t have done it, Mr Shenley”.
Young James (Matthew Blakstad), newly adopted by do-gooders Laurie (Barbara Kellerman) and Terence (Gary Bond) Morton (a botanist), finds a strange poem in an old exercise book. With it, he unleashes a terrifying presence as the dead William Morton (Christopher Reilly) seeks his revenge. Filmed on location in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
THE HOUSE THAT BLED TO DEATH
Number 42 Colman Road looks a very ordinary house when William (Nicholas Ball) and Emma (Rachael Davis) Peters and their little girl Sophie (Emma Ridley) move in. But Number 42 has a gruesome history.
It seems as though the house is trying to relive its past – complete with a particularly bloody murder.
A. J. Powers
Sarah (Angela Bruce) has a carved figure from Africa she calls Charlie Boy. But the statue is more than a wooden statue with a funny face.
Charlie Boy has strange powers from his tribal past; powers which are easy to invoke but very much more difficult to stop when things start going wrong.
Features a cameo role from Janet Fielding (Tegan in Doctor Who).
Janet Clare Fielding
THE SILENT SCREAM
When habitual criminal Chuck Spillers (Brian Cox) leaves jail, he is befriended by Martin Blueck (Peter Cushing), a prison visitor.
Blueck has his own, strange reasons for offering Chuck a job – reasons which involve a unique collection of wild animals that Blueck keeps at the rear of his innocent-looking pet shop.
One of the best-remembered Hammer productions.
Detective Inspector Aldridge
CHILDREN OF THE FULL MOON
Tom (Christopher Cazenove) and Sarah (Celia Gregory) Martin are on a West Country holiday when their car mysteriously goes out of control on a remote road. They are taken in by a woman (Diana Dors) who lives with numerous children in a lonely house in the forest.
The alarming events of the night and a dream about werewolves are explained away. But they have a lasting effect on Sarah . . .
The tale of a beautiful countess from Carpathia whose pet eagle tore out her lovers’ hearts is just an ancient myth? or is it?
It seems that no man is safe when a series of gruesome murders in modern-day London brings the legend horrifically to life – and death.
Featured Suzanne Danielle and Sian Phillips, along with a then-unknown Pierce Brosnan (pictured above with Suzanne Danielle) credited as ‘Last Victim’.
GUARDIAN OF THE ABYSS
For centuries, evil men and women have tried to raise the archdemon Choronzon, Guardian of the Abyss. Many have died in the attempt. Others have lost their reason.
Then a chance purchase by antique dealer Michael Roberts (Ray Lonnen) brings him into terrifying contact with the Unknown.
VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE
A night intruder terrorises Penny (Kathryn Leigh Scott) in her lonely cottage. She kills him with a shotgun, her boyfriend (Simon MacCorkindale) buries the body in the woods and they try to forget it ever happened.
But Penny finds the terror is only just beginning – the dead man refuses to stay in his grave.
Kathryn Leigh Scott
TWO FACES OF EVIL
A family’s car crashes after they pick up a hitchhiker in a yellow raincoat and he attacks the husband with a claw finger.
The husband, Martin (Gary Raymond) returns home but seems to be a completely different person. He can’t talk and he rings a little bell for attention. But if Martin is not Janet’s (Anna Calder-Marshall) husband, who – or what – could he be?
THE MARK OF SATAN
Edwyn (Peter McEnery) lives a nightmare, convinced that the forces of evil are conspiring against him. Everywhere he sees threats and the devil’s mark – the number 666.
As the pressure increases, he seeks escape – but that calls for increasingly desperate measures. including trying to drill a hole into his head.