Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Honourable Mention: Doctor Who: Journey into Terror

I have featured plenty of Doctor Who episodes on the blog, however this is by far the earliest being part of season 2 of the original Doctor Who and featuring William Hartnell as the Doctor. Directed by Richard Martin and airing in 1965, this was an episode in a 6 episode sequence called the Chase.

The Chase was bizarre in the humour it added into the series. We had stammering daleks who had trouble adding up, for instance, and a *comedic* Alabama resident in New York that was more Beverly Hillbillies than anything else.

the tardis
The basic premise was that the Doctor and his companions, Vicki (Maureen O'Brien), Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), were being pursued by daleks who had created their own time machine that could track the Tardis. In this episode they land in what looks like a gothic monstrosity of a castle. We get a moment with a very crap bat and Vicki suggests it might be a vampire but the Doctor says nonsense, they are South American and the architecture looks European (referencing, of course, the natural bat).

Malcolm Rogers as Dracula
The women are too nervous to explore and so the Doctor and Ian go off alone – eventually finding themselves face to face with Frankenstein’s monster (John Maxim, Dracula, Prince of Darkness). Meanwhile, downstairs, Vicki and Barbara are approached by a man who states that he is Dracula (Malcolm Rogers, the Blood Beast Terror) – he vanishes almost as quickly as he appeared.

the monster
Of course the daleks show up and we get the joy of seeing the Frankenstein Monster grappling with a dalek and Dracula being shot at, to no avail… except they aren’t real. The Doctor has a theory that they have landed outside of time and space and that the place is a construct born of the fears from the minds of humanity. Ian thinks there is a simpler solution and there is – it is a haunted house attraction and the monsters are (I guess) animatronic. It is nice to see the Doctor being wrong, even if he never gets to know this.

Dracula meets a dalek
The monsters are on set so fleetingly that I felt an Honourable Mention was the way forward on this. Plus the episode is actually part of a larger sequence and really shouldn’t be watched in isolation (and the sequence is the form of the DVD release). So, an animatronic vampire but it does have Dracula vs a dalek.

The episode's imdb page is here.

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