Skipping several “lost” adventures my next Who-tale is DOCTOR WHO: The Ark, a good adventure in which the Doctor, Steven and new companion Dodo arrive on a generation ship carrying humanity and the alien Monoids to a distant planet; the ship is human-built and the Monoids are space refugees allowed aboard as a slave class. In the first two episodes, the Doctor fights a plague unleashed on the germ-free ship by Dodo’s cold; in the second two, the TARDIS returns to the Ark to discover the Monoids have risen up, enslaved the humans and now plot to wipe them out once the ship lands. This was a good, clever one, though Dodo lacks Vicki’s personality and brains (being a contemporary young woman is pretty much her only noteworthy trait). “You have given too many orders and delivered them unwisely.”
The second season of SAPPHIRE AND STEEL worked much better than the first (which I thought I’d reviewed earlier but apparently I didn’t) as an aging ghost-hunter finds David McCallum’s Steel and Joanna Lumley’s Sapphire showing up at an abandoned radio station—just in time to witness a growing number of dead soldiers assembling. This is much more eerie and unsettling than the first but the ending is very awkward—while it’s ruthless enough to drive home these two protagonists play hardball, I’m not sure how it solves the problem of this sinister force. Still, I’ll be watching more. “They didn’t try to kill us—they encouraged us to die.”
Continuing with my Hammer collection, THE GORGON (1964) amounts to a werewolf movie with a different monster, though it’s certainly an enjoyable film, as doctor Peter Cushing and inspector Patrick Troughton struggle to cover up the truth that a terrifying monster keep materializing under the full moon and killing the locals; after one of his friends dies, Christopher Lee begins investigating and learns the truth. Using a gorgon in a German village, though, requires more explanation than they ever give; they also confuse the names of the Gorgons with those of the Furies. “Let me ask you one more question—have you ever heard of Megaera?”
SCREAM OF FEAR (1964) has Susan Strassburg visiting her father’s mansion after a crippling accident, meeting her step-mother for the first time and trying to convince her (and doctor Christopher Lee) that she’s not just imagining her father’s corpse popping up all over the place. One of those that loses a lot of impact if you know the twist, but it’s still very well executed.