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DVD Review: The Quatermass Experiment

This is the very first of the Quatermass stories. It aired on the BBC in July and August of 1953 and introduces us to Professor Quatermass and the adventures of his Experimental Rocket Group.

Unfortunately, only the first two episodes of the original series survive. The DVD features a copy of the script so you can see how this version of Nigel Kneale’s story turned out, but I’ve also watched the Hammer film version that was made a couple of years later.

First, the two television episodes.

Episode 1: Contact Has Been Established

The episode begins with a voice-over announcer informing the viewers …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Five Million Years to Earth

Since I’ve already covered the plot of this story in detail in the 6 episodes of the BBC television version from the 1950s, I won’t go over it again except where there are significant or interesting differences.

This Hammer film version of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit was filmed in 1968. It was revised by Kneale himself to cut it down to less than half its original length, but I don’t think he has anything to do with the new, alternative title that was used in the U.S. However, as nonsensical as Five Million Years to Earth is …read more

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Excerpt from “Cousin Wilfrid”

From The Abrupt Disappearance of Cousin Wilfrid:

On Monday morning while he breakfasted at a little table in the bow window of his room, there was knock at the door. Freddie looked up from his plate of bacon and eggs, wondering who it could be. Billy, who was packing Freddie’s suitcase, left off this task to answer it.

The local constable, Robert Cochrane, stood in the hallway. He looked relieved to see Billy, for the two had been friends from childhood.

“G’morning, Bill. I’d like to speak to your Mr. Freddie, please, if you don’t mind.”

“What’s this about, Rob?” Billy asked.

“It’s that …read more

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DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 5

Episode 5: The Wild Hunt

The story picks up shortly after the end of Part 4, inside the church where the drillman (whose name, by the way is Sladden) collapsed after his mad, possessed, bunny-hop dash from the construction pit. The vicar who found him in the churchyard is looking after him, giving him a huge mug containing just a little cocoa and heaping spoonfuls of sugar.

The man is no longer possessed by the time Quatermass comes to see him, but asking any questions about what happened to him only agitates him again. “They was coming!” he cries out, …read more

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DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 4

Dr. Roney and Barbara Judd gather up the specimens and rush to get them preserved and sent to the institute for study. Now that the sealed forward section of the spaceship has been breached and filthy modern Earth-air has reached them, they are decaying rapidly. The fishy stink causes more nausea.

Quatermass, examining the forward compartment after the previous occupants have been removed, says that the membranes that make up a network inside resemble magnified nerve endings. These too are rapidly decaying. Apart from the membranes and some remnants of colored liquids, there’s no sign of instrumentation or …read more

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Dark Shadows: More Evil Eve

After Adam and the newly created but dressed up for an evening out Eve disappear from the old Collins house, Professor Stokes goes over to the abandoned west wing of Collinwood in hopes of finding them in Adam’s room there. He doesn’t. What he does find is young David Collins; it turns out that the boy had befriended Adam weeks ago although the viewer’s never seen it. David tells the professor that the last time he talked to Adam–presumably before the experiment to give Eve life was underway–that Adam said he was leaving Collinwood and never coming back.

Professor Stokes goes …read more

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DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 3

Episode 3: Imps and Demons

The young soldier who was hysterical at the end of Part 2 is conveyed into the shack that Dr. Roney uses as an office. He’s still in shock over the thing he saw inside the aft compartment of the mysterious object they’re digging up. Dr. Roney gives him some brandy from a flask he keeps “for emergencies” and Quatermass questions him about what it was he saw.

“Little,” the soldier reports. “Like a dwarf. Crooked.”

Roney’s assistant Barbara Judd reads aloud a very similar description of the Hobbs Lane ghost from a 1927 newspaper article. Has …read more

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DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 2

Episode 2: The Ghosts

The story picks up just where it left off at the end of Part 1.

Is the object discovered in the pit of the Hobbs End construction site by Dr. Roney’s archaeological team more than 5 million years old? Preposterous, says Col. Breen. It can’t be very old–the non-metallic surface isn’t even corroded.

Professor Quatermass tries to scratch the surface with the diamond in his ring and finds it’s harder than diamond. While he’s kneeling down, he observes that there are odd projections on the sides of the hull that he guesses were used to hold …read more

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DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 1

I’ve been meaning to review the 1967 Hammer film version of this story, aka Five Million Miles to Earth, since last October; that was the one I grew up with on late-night television and affectionately refer to as Giant Fascist Grasshoppers from Mars. But I’ve just ordered and received the original versions of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass teleplays, which aired on the BBC in the 1950s. I’d never seen more than fragments of them before the package arrived from the UK last week.

Quatermass & the Pit is actually the third in the set; it aired in six episodes from December …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 28

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.

After the last of her party had gone, Mara kicked out her bedroll by the dying fire. She didn’t expect to sleep. How could she with the dawn only a few hours away and Kat still absent?

Oh, she knew where Kat had gone. It wasn’t difficult to see; even the Shieldmaids had guessed. They might laugh, but Mara was troubled. Kat had been out with Frederik before, but never so late.

These past six weeks, the relationship between Kat and Frederik had grown alarmingly intimate. Though they must work together in coordinating the …read more

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DVD Review: Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance

This short feature is an extra on the DVD for Casting the Runes, also made by ITV Yorkshire Television in the 1970s. It is very short, only about 15 minutes, and appears to be part of an educational video for musicians on how to score a television show; it begins with an interview by the composer who wrote the music for it.

After the composer’s introduction, we go to the film and meet Mr. Humphreys as he arrives at the Wilsthorpe rail station. A helpful narrator, reading text from James’s story, informs the viewer that “[Mr.] Humphreys had inherited — …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 27

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.


Six weeks later, the armies of the Northlands began to cross the Shieldwall. They had mobilized with astonishing swiftness; Mara had deployed cohorts of one hundred each at intervals along the border with Arnauld commanding a legion at Delta fortress on the coast and Brachis in command of another in the western mountains, but the main Northlands’ force crossed at the vulnerable point where the Shieldwall was narrowest. Spainfort lay directly south. The invasion of Terrojos would commence at dawn.

So enormous an undertaking was impossible to overlook. Spanish troops had taken up …read more

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Congratulations to Megan Feldman on her new book!

Congrats to Megan Feldman Bettencourt on the publication of Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World. Read the Publisher’s Weekly review and order your copy here: and also check out her site Or just buy it at Amazon.

You all remember Megan’s wonderful story, “Ashes,” in Storylandia, Issue 4. Always nice to see our authors hit the big time.

…read more

Source:: Storylandia


Dark Shadows: Evil Eve

Since she had apparently died after participating in the create-a-girlfriend-for-Adam project, Barnabas is astonished to find Carolyn Stoddard alive and well at Collinwood after all. Carolyn says that she fainted after the experiment and woke up in her own bed; she doesn’t remember anything after being in the basement lab and assumes that Barnabas or Julia Hoffman brought her home.

Barnabas, showing great belief in Julia’s diagnostic skills, is sure that there’s more behind Carolyn’s supposed death and resurrection than that, but doesn’t seem to realize that it’s Nicholas working behind the scenes again. Nicholas does tell Adam this once …read more

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DVD Review: Casting the Runes

Casting the Runes is perhaps M.R. James’s most famous story, certainly his most influential. Its central concept of having a curse you can pass to someone else–or have it rebound back upon you with horrific results–can be seen in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell as well as the recent hit It Follows. The story itself was the basis of a terrific horror film made in the 1950s by Jacques Tourneur titled Curse of the Demon/Night of the Demon, depending on whether you saw the UK or US version.

But that’s not the film I’m going to talk about.

The television …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 26

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.

The Marchion’s frontier manners were more direct than Mara and Kat were used to, but neither took the young man for an ill-bred rustic. Mara quickly grew to like him; the fact that he was a cousin, though this could not be acknowledged, gave him a higher standing in her eyes. It was impossible to think the great-grandson of Denys any less refined than his venerated ancestor. Frederik was open, affable, eager to please. His unguarded remarks were refreshingly different from the obsequies of the men they knew at court. Frederik was …read more

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Dark Shadows: Back to the Bride

Even though he’s forcing Dr. Hoffman et al to make him a new girlfriend, Adam still pines for Carolyn. In his hiding place in the abandoned west wing of Collinwood, his education continues to improve. He’s playing chess now and imagines he’s playing with Carolyn, until he finds out that she doesn’t know how. Nor has she ever read Freud, which he was looking forward to discussing with her. He’s disappointed, but he lends her a book that Professor Stokes gave him; perhaps it will help her understand what’s going on with her mother.

For Elizabeth Collins Stoddard continues to obsess …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 25

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.

They approached the old fortress. The walls were thirty feet tall, huge piles of mortared stone, enormously thick to support their own weight and capable of withstanding the full battery of an invasion. Nearly so broad at the base as they were tall, no catapult nor cannon could knock them down. Though they loomed too near for Mara to examine their configuration and, at any rate, were obscured by the buildings crowded about their base, she thought that the fortress must be star-shaped; each massive wall lay at an acute angle to …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 24

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.

Adyna Alekeep consented reluctantly. She didn’t wish her young daughter to go so far away with the armies, but she acknowledged that Ren was growing into a pretty maiden; some of her customers had begun to pay too much attention to the girl. If the Prince herself should take a kindly interest in Ren’s future, who was she to spoil the opportunity? Both Mara and Captain Alyx promised that Ren would not come to harm. Ren was to be the Prince’s gentyl-maid and page. She wouldn’t see battle.

Though she had no official …read more

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Dark Shadows: Barnabas Collins: Fearless Vampire Hunter

It starts when Angelique bites Joe Haskell’s cousin Tom, who then dies in the hospital after Joe, who has also been bitten and is in thrall to Angelique, leaves the window open so that she can get at Tom a second time. Barnabas, who isn’t a vampire at present, doesn’t know that Angelique is the new vamp in town, but he knows that there is one and that Tom will soon rise from his grave; he tells Willie to sharpen a stake. They head over to the cemetery the evening after the funeral but arrive too late to deal with …read more

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