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Hammer House of Horror - The Thirteenth Reunion

episode 2

UK 1980
produced by
Roy Skeggs, Brian Lawrence (executive), David Reid (executive) for Chips Productions, Cinema Arts International, Hammer/ITC
directed by Peter Sasdy
starring Julia Foster, Dinah Sheridan, Richard Pearson, Norman Bird, George Innes, James Cosmo, Warren Clarke, Gerard Kelly, Michael Latimer, Barbara Keogh, Paula Jacobs, Roger Ostime, Peter Dean, Louis Mansi, Kevin Stoney
written by Jeremy Burnham, music by John McCabe, musical supervision by Philip Martell

TV-series
Hammer House of Horror

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Journalist Ruth (Julia Foster) is assigned to go undercover to uncover the sometimes questionable methods of the "Think Thin" fatfigher clinic - something she finds a bit humiliating because she's rather fond of her few extra pounds (and it aren't many, even). Well, at least at the clinic, she meets Ben (Warren Clarke), a man about her age who's single like her, and before you know it the two of them have their first date ... but when Ben drives home from the date, he has a car accident and dies.

At Ben's wake, Ruth meets Andrew (Gerard Kelly), the funeral home's assistant who convinces her there's something fishy about Ben's death, and when they that night break into the funeral home, they find there's no body in the coffin. Later they find the body in the morgue though, and Ruth follows it back to Chesterton's (Richard Pearson) clinic, where Ruth soon has herself admitted. She later find's Ben's body transferred to Chesterton's private home - and when she breaks in, Chesterton catches her and ... invites her to dinner. In fact, he has arranged a reunion dinnerparty for his friends, all survivors of a planecrash - who only managed to stay alive until they were found by turning to cannibalism. So that means the dinner they are going to get is ... ouch!

 

The premise of this episode is simply excellent, pretty much as macabre as it is mean. The execution: Not so much. Basically, too much time is spent on pointless supporting characters and subplots, for the most part, the macabre elements are few and far between, the direction is often clumsy and seems to avoid suspense at all costs (especially in the scenes where Ruth follows the hearse in which Ben's corpse is carried by car in plain sight and nobody at all seems to notice), and the punchline seems to announce itself miles ahead and is then extended way beyond breaking point.

That's not to say the whole thing is totally without merit, cast, certain narrative elements and especially the macabre premise are all pretty great - it's just an story that never fully lives up to its promise.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD