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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    I'm trying to track down a deeply scary TV play that I saw as a youngster - possibly the very late 50's or early 60's. I could be wrong, but it may have been one in a series of TV chillers (along the lines of MENACE - although it wasn't this series).

    A repressed, withdrawn young man is haunted by his childhood fears that when he was alone at home - at night - the furniture in his bedroom would come 'alive'; that it would move of its own accord with evil intent.

    A young girl takes an interest in him - and a potential romance begins to develop, but ....

    Well, he ends up nailing/crucifying her to a wooden table - the last shot in the play, as the camera moves in on him cowering (like the scared boy he was) in a corner.

    I was utterly convinced that the actor was Colin Jeavons - but nothing on IMDB suggests anything remotely like the above.

    Does this ring a bell with anyone?

    Stephen Laws
    www.stephenlaws.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Stephen, I've had no luck finding a play that matches your description, having read a number of previews - and reviews - from that era. If this was from a series, could it have been Tales of Mystery (hosted by John Laurie)? You may find this link helpful:


    Good luck. Hope the writing is going well.

    Cornershop

  3. #3
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    I doubt it was Tales Of Mystery. They were all based on Algernon Blackwood stories and the plot doesn't sound like one of his.

  4. #4
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    Hi -

    No it definitely wasn't the John Laurie TALES OF MYSTERY (of which I have powerful childhood memories - not least the truly terrifying episode: 'The Doll').

    On the writing front, I'm pleased to announce that my short story collection THE MIDNIGHT MAN is now available from Samhain Press as a large format paperback and an ebook.

    Stephen Laws
    www.stephenlaws.com

  5. #5
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    Can I propose Brian Hayles' "The Initiate", shown as part of BBC's Wednesday Night Thriller strand on 15/09/1965?

    Colin Jeavons stars along with Derek Francis and Frances White.

    The Daily Mirror describes it as "A man is obsessed by a nightmare" while TV.com says "Poor Albert has been ruined by years spent under the influence of a domineering mother. Hardly able to leave his home, he is obsessed by a recurrent nightmare that dates back to a childhood misdemeanour. A wanderer, Corbey, recognises that Albert's secret fear presents an opportunity."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Laws View Post
    Hi -No it definitely wasn't the John Laurie TALES OF MYSTERY (of which I have powerful childhood memories - not least the truly terrifying episode: 'The Doll').
    Wow! I don't think I've encountered anyone who remembers that series (now all lost of course).
    I'm a huge fan of Algernon Blackwood and I'd appreciate any further reminiscences. I would imagine his stories were difficult to adapt, given that the key element in his work is the subtle evocation of weird atmosphere.
    I wish his work was being filmed today but it would take an inspired director to do it justice.

  7. #7
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    Hi -

    First of all, many thanks Simon! I think you may well have hit the nail on the head by suggesting that the play I'm thinking of might be 'The Initiate'. I'm hoping that it isn't 'lost', because I'd love to see this again. Great detective work - thanks!

    Robin - 'The Doll' is imprinted on my mind as being one of the scariest childhood viewing memories ever. I was 11 years old at the time. The sound of that rag doll 'yimmer-yammering' and dancing at the bottom of the child's bed - The mother grabbing it and smashing its porcelain face with the heel of her shoe - and then it flying up from the floor into the face of the father. The memory still gives me chills. I was so looking forward to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - believing that it might have some of the atmosphere of Blackwood's outdoor/macabre story 'The Willows' or 'The Wendigo'. How wrong I was on that score!

    Stephen Laws
    www.stephenlaws.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Brilliant work, Simon. That must be it. Bad News I'm afraid, Stephen. LostShows reports that it's "missing"
    so we shall have to make do with the original Radio Times preview. Hope this brings back more memories:


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Laws View Post
    Robin - 'The Doll' is imprinted on my mind as being one of the scariest childhood viewing memories ever. I was 11 years old at the time. The sound of that rag doll 'yimmer-yammering' and dancing at the bottom of the child's bed - The mother grabbing it and smashing its porcelain face with the heel of her shoe - and then it flying up from the floor into the face of the father. The memory still gives me chills. I was so looking forward to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - believing that it might have some of the atmosphere of Blackwood's outdoor/macabre story 'The Willows' or 'The Wendigo'. How wrong I was on that score!
    Thanks for the reply. It's such a shame that Blackwood is totally ignored by the TV and film world nowadays. The BBC seem to think that M. R. James was the be-all and end-all of the ghost story so we're getting THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH and a third documentary about James this Christmas. Not bad things in themselves of course but there's so much that we're missing out on.
    But perhaps it would have taken a director like Tarkovsky or Herzog to do justice to Blackwood's nature stories...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: England jaycad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
    Thanks for the reply. It's such a shame that Blackwood is totally ignored by the TV and film world nowadays. The BBC seem to think that M. R. James was the be-all and end-all of the ghost story so we're getting THE TRACTATE MIDDOTH and a third documentary about James this Christmas. Not bad things in themselves of course but there's so much that we're missing out on.
    But perhaps it would have taken a director like Tarkovsky or Herzog to do justice to Blackwood's nature stories...
    I'd like to see an adaptation of 'The Willows' but I'd imagine that pyschological horror would be difficult to portray in an hour or under. Oliver Onions,E.F.Benson and,strangely,Edgar Allan Poe are due (decent) adaptations also.

  11. #11
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    I think that you could achieve the atmosphere of 'The Willows' on television. I'm thinking of similar 'atmospheres' to the effect achieved in the wooded copse from A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS. The feeling that not only is there something out there in the trees, but that even the trees themselves might be alive. The story centres on a canoe trip, so I think there's a great opportunity here. I'd be happy to adapt it myself if anyone out there is reading ...

    Stephen Laws
    www.stephenlaws.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Laws View Post
    I think that you could achieve the atmosphere of 'The Willows' on television. I'm thinking of similar 'atmospheres' to the effect achieved in the wooded copse from A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS. The feeling that not only is there something out there in the trees, but that even the trees themselves might be alive. The story centres on a canoe trip, so I think there's a great opportunity here. I'd be happy to adapt it myself if anyone out there is reading ...

    Stephen Laws
    www.stephenlaws.com
    Spot on! A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS is my favourite of all the James adaptations.

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