This video turned up three days ago at Livejournal’s Vintage Photographs community (and was promptly taken down–it’s not a photograph). I haven’t yet tracked down the source, but it does appear to be footage of turn of the century Manchester and so I thought it should have a home here.
An outstanding title for a remarkable show, and I’ve been watching quite a bit of it lately thanks to YouTube user, DFORCE1969. The show, which originally aired from 1970-1972 on BBC 1, was the brainchild of Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler, the creators of Doctor Who‘s Cybermen. The focus of Doomwatch is, essentially, mad science, and it chronicles the travails of a government scientific agency charged with monitoring potential scientific and technological threats to nature and society. These duties, in turn, make the team equally unpopular with the scientific community, big business, and the very government that is funding them, so that its scientists are perpetually threatened, both physically and existentially, from all sides. Socially conscious, bleak, paranoid, and perpetually ahead of its time, the show not only made an impact on contemporary British programs (Doctor Who, Survivors) but also influenced several later series (The X-Files, Fringe).
Though several episodes are online, I’ve found the audio and video to be out of sync in many. I would recommend starting with these:
There’s also an excellent documentary available.
At the end of Tod Browning’s Freaks (at about 1:03 in the clip below), as the freaks chase down Cleopatra to exact their revenge, there is a particularly creepy scene that shows the armless and legless Human Torso crawling along the muddy ground with a dagger clenched between his teeth.
I always get goosebumps when I see that and can never help wondering what the Torso would look like in action. W.C. Morrow’s short story, “His Unconquerable Enemy” (originally published in the Mar. 11, 1889 issue of The Argonaut), goes a long way toward answering that question. It features an avenger in a similar physical state and a morally bankrupt first-person narrator who may be even scarier. Well worth reading.
Last Halloween, I wrote a post featuring the BBC television adaptation of M.R. James’ “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad”. Last night, I was lucky enough to stumble across its adaptation of his story, “A Warning to the Curious”, and didn’t want to wait until next Halloween to mention it.
Like the other short film, this production was part of the BBC’s “Ghost Story for Christmas” series. It takes more liberties with the plot than “Whistle”, but all of these are dramatically effective and, in conjunction with some striking incidental music, help to create a real atmosphere of menace that persists throughout the entire film.
Here is another short video for this Halloween, based upon Frank Belknap Long’s famous short story “The Hounds of Tindalos”. The story, first published in Weird Tales in 1929, is significant not only for its quality but for being the first to actually add an entity to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Though they had met before through their amateur press connections, Lovecraft and Long became close friends while Lovecraft was living in New York, and Long was a founding member of the Kalem Club, which was the literary circle Lovecraft cultivated during his brief exile from Providence. “The Hounds of Tindalos” is Long’s most famous supernatural tale, and I very much wanted to provide a scan of it. However, it is still under copyright, so I’ve decided to post this video instead.
In the original story, which can still be obtained here, a writer and expert on the occult summons his friend to his apartment in order to take notes for an experiment. The experiment involves ingesting a drug in order to psychically travel through the fourth dimension in order to witness both the beginning and end of time. Needless to say, something goes wrong, the writer is observed, and after being awakened by his friend, the man is pursued by the “hounds” of the title. These can only enter our dimension through the angled intersections of surfaces, but not through curves. The writer’s only hope lies in using papier-mâché to round out the corners of his flat before the hounds can enter.
The animated version is a sort of sequel to the original, in that it presents an investigation into the tragic results of the above experiment and then perpetuates them.
It appears Halloween is creeping up on me again, and it’s high time I posted some seasonal goodies. Last year, I wrote a post about a story many consider to be the greatest ghost tale ever written, M.R. James’ “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad”. The other evening I was lucky enough to stumble across the above adaptation of the story, which first aired on the British TV show, Omnibus, in 1968. Though it’s a bit slow getting started, when the crisis comes about midway through, it is truly disorienting and frightening. This is one of the best film adaptations of James I’ve seen (and I’ve seen Night of the Demon more times than I can count).
Note: Due to the size of the AVI file, it may be better to simply go to the site and download it, rather than dealing with an excessive amount of buffering.
I’m not sure how I managed to overlook this for so long, but there’s been a 10-minute French (?) Green Hornet (Le Frelon Vert—still quite catchy) fan flick available at this site for almost a year. It’s very well produced, if a little Kung-Fu intensive, but I guess that’s forgivable given Bruce Lee’s turn in the classic TV series. They even manage to do a decent job with the theme music (though nothing beats the original). The movie is available in both QuickTime and DivX formats, and there is a “making of” special (in French) available at the site, as well. For purists, episodes of the original radio series are still available at the OTR.Net site.
On July 4th, the Dial B for Burbank site finished its epic, online “The Shadow Knows” documentary, and it is absolutely spectacular. This 10-chapter, 2-hour Quicktime movie traces the character’s entire history in print, radio, and film and pays tribute to Walter B. Gibson (a.k.a. Maxwell Grant) and all of the other artists involved in the Shadow’s creation and evolution. In addition to its professional presentation, the video and audio quality are excellent, and it can be downloaded chapter-by-chapter or as one large 587 MB file.