A story by Sheridan LeFanu, one of the great horror writers of all time, starring Peter O'Toole, one of the great actors of our time, seems like a perfect combination. What I hadn't allowed for was the distinctive look of late 1980s television drama. That early VHS, rather fuzzy, slightly wobbly look. The direction also seems very much of its time. I suspect the director may have been somewhat in awe of Peter O'Toole (and who in their right mind wouldn't be?), as the actor gets away with some outrageous hamming and sounds more than a little tipsy at times. Of course, since the character he plays is a drunk and an opium addict, O'Toole's inebriated demeanour may simply be a brilliant piece of method acting. And it has to be said that O'Toole does ham quite beautifully. Jane Lapotaire as a sort of evil French Mary Poppins also does her fair share of scenery-chewing and eye-rolling, as do the rest of the cast. Then again, given the nature of the subject ... young girl shut in big scary house full of possibly mad people ... a good helping of melodramatic ham is pretty much unavoidable, probably even essential. So, it's entertaining in its way, and O'Toole is always good value, but it's very much of its time and that time is, unfortunately, not so much the historical era in which it is set as the 1980s in which it was made. Still, if you can get it cheap enough, it passes three hours in a reasonably entertaining way and, for all its faults, is still better than most of the rubbish currently running on UK TV.