Saturday, January 05, 2013

Honourable Mentions: Midsomer Murders: Death and the Divas

Midsomer Murders is a long running UK crime series set in a village that must be (pro-rata) the crime capital of the world, given that the series is in its fifteenth season. Death and the Divas was the fourth episode of that season and was directed by Nicholas Laughland. There was, as you can guess, a vampire theme to the crime in this episode – although only the first murder.

As things begin we see a film. The actress, Stella Harris (played young by Georgina Beedle and older by Sinéad Cusack) is walking through mist filled streets. A carriage approaches and the passenger indicates for the carriage to stop. He is the Marquis of Grange and we see, in the living room where the film is being watched, notes being taken by writer Eve Lomax (Sasha Waddell) about the film “A Thirst for Blood”. The notes reveal the film having been made in 1967 and it being Stella Harris’ first film. On the TV the Marquis flashes fang, as an unseen person enters the room – clearly known by Eve – and Eve is murdered.

Stella playing the vampire
The village hall is actually hosting the first Stella Harris film festival – though it shouldn’t take too long as she only made four films. She has just been introduced on stage (though one would have thought she was well known being a village resident) when her sister, Diana Davenport (Harriet Walter), waltzes in and steals the limelight – she is a more famous actress and hasn’t been back to the village, from Hollywood, for forty years – not even for her mother’s funeral. The first film goes on (a Thirst for Blood) and we see Stella’s character turned.

Caroline Munro
At the end of the film one of the viewers, Inspector Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon), is called over to the newly discovered crime scene (just over the village green). The murderer has punctured the jugular with a two pronged implement to make the attack look like a vampire bite. This is the last vampire reference (bar memorabilia seen) as the subsequent murders are based on the other films made by Harris. However I should mention footage of a Mummy themed flick that we get to see footage from, as it has Caroline Munro playing an evil priestess.

There was a reverential look at 60s and 70s British Horror in the storyline but I am unconvinced by the show as a whole – but what do I know, it must be getting something right to get to 15 seasons. The episode's imdb page is here.

No comments: