24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Television Series - The Stones with the Eyes,
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This review is from: Escape into Night - The Complete Series (DVD)
I have wanted to see this television series ever since I read the book upon which it is based "Marianne Dreams" by Catherine Storr. There was a film made in the 1980s also based on the book entitled "Paperhouse" which was a very good film but which only took certain elements from the book and made extensive changes to the basic story. The DVD is in black and white but this actually enhances the atmosphere and eeriness of the production.
Following a riding accident (an illness in the book) Marianne is confined to bed for six weeks. After finding a pencil in her grandmother's workbox she draws a house in her sketchbook. She then has a dream in which she finds herself in a desolate landscape with nothing but a sinister house offering a refuge from it. However she is unable to enter the house as there is no door handle and the house appears to be empty. When she wakes she realises that the house she dreamed of is the one she drew in her sketchbook and so she draws a door handle and someone at the window so that she will be able to enter the house.
This is the beginning of a strange dark journey for Marianne. The figure she drew at the window materialises in her dream as a boy named Mark and they have an antagonistic relationship caused by their fear of the surroundings and the fact that Mark is ill and can't walk. As the series continues and Marianne discovers through her home tutor Miss Chesterfield that there is a boy called Mark in the "real" world who is ill her dreams grow more sinister and frightening. One day when she is in a temper Marianne draws stone sentinels with one eye outside the house in her sketchbook and of course they appear in all their grim horror in the dream. The increasingly frightened children must put aside their differences and try to escape from the house before the malevolent stones completely entomb them or break into the house to kill them.
This television series is one of a kind. The atmosphere and sense of pervading evil is reminiscent (to me) of the film "The Innocents" (although the stories are completely different). There are no highly technical special effects but the camerawork, lighting and sets generate extreme menace and create images that stay in the mind. I would recommend this series to anyone, not just for children, as it is a thought provoking and imaginative story and if you bear in mind that it was produced for television in the 1970s you may be amazed at how quickly you can become immersed in the events depicted and also be reminded that gore and sudden shocks are not needed for something to be truly frightening.