47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
"Dr Hartnell's House of Horrors",
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase [DVD] (DVD)Neither story's a classic but they both have their moments. Space Museum starts off brilliantly with an excellent concept (well worth revisiting) the tardis crew slip a groove or jump a track in time, arriving in their personal future like ghosts unable to touch or interact with others. This is expertly laid out as they see themselves as exhibits in a Space Museum. Yes I know that's a spoiler but I think that much info would be on the disc cover. Moments like the simple effect of reversing a shot of a glass being dropped so it's jumping back into Vicki's hand somehow works and is creepy. A Dr Whodunnit (sorry)as they must find out how they end up that way & what can be done to avod it is set up as they properly arrive at an earlier time at the episode's end.
There's a backdrop of planet Xeros colonised by the warlike Moroks just to site their forgotten museum. The Moroks have bouffant wigs that would give Pertwee a run for his money & are rather well fed but that may be to convey that they are a race past their prime. Richard Shaw is v good as Lobos giving more than there is in the script. The rebel Xerons look like teenagers in space with mad eyebrows-watch for a young Jeremy Bulloch!
Eps 2-4 what started out so well becomes a run around and the story keeps taking 1 step forward then 1 step back e.g. having usefully established that not knowing what may cause their fate going back to the Tardis is not an option, the fact they don't know if they're avoiding or causing their fate is re-stated too often. Almost like saying the story's all rather pointless. I'm intrigued by Robert Shearman "defending the Museum" among the extras though.
There's fun to be had though as Vicki attempts to lead a revolution, Billy Hartnell impersonates a Dalek + makes a mind probe churn out nonsense and a shock discovery makes Ian believe their fate is coming to pass.
We jump right into the Chase which does exactly what it says on the tin as the Daleks decide once & for all they need to sort this Doctor fellow out and hunt him down in their own time machine which was called a DARDIS in the script (Dalek & Relative Dimensions in Space?)though that was dropped by recording.
The crew become aware of the situation courtesy of a device from the museum which is like 4th dimensional freeview and as well as Dalek plans it screens The Gettysberg Address, Shakespearean secrets and The Beatles doing Ticket to Ride (#1) which causes classic teacher trying to look hip dance moevments from Ian.
They are pursued through a House of Horrors with robots of Frankenstein, Dracula and a woman who shrieks a bit, The Mary Celeste-solving the mystery of course & the Empire State Bulding (before we knew of the Daleks' work with contractors there. Empire State sequence is our 1st glimpse of companion to be Peter Purves-here playing an irritating American tourist who takes the mickey out of the Daleks but they oddly don't exterminate him.
Fans of 60's aliens get a desert planet (it's a Terry Nation script so it's moniker is ARIDus!) with amphibious looking natives (watch for a young Hywel Bennett) and a silly Mire Beast. With their impeccable sense of the dramatic, the Daleks repeat their River Thames stunt rising up out of sand (coughing guts up).
The conclusion takes place on planet Mechanus where ther are carnivorous mushrooms and the Mechanoids which are wonderful spherical servo robots who've developed their own will. They fight the Daleks in a marvellously cut and directed battle that belies the small numbers.
It's all rather silly but better fun than Museum & a shame plans to make a Peter Cushing film of it never got off the ground. The Daleks are fun but almost in self parody mode and hatch a plan to use a robot double of the Doctor. What makes this look such a bad plan is the casting of Non-Hartnell look alike Edmund Warwick as the robot Doctor who doesn't even convince in longshot!
Regulars all get some good stuff to do epecially the departure of Ian & Barbara, plus the introduction of Peter Purves'Steven. Steven Taylor works fine as a bitter astronaut marooned with the Mechanoids- even if he oddly does a Dame Edna Everage voice when calling a Mech "My fat little darling!" Okay something of an exaggeration, but he does deliver the line oddly.
Extras include; for Space Museum, "Defending the Space Museum" is billed as a "robust" defence of the story. This is some strange new usage of "Robust" as Rob Shearman actually says what many reviewers have said; great 1st episode but less good to follow albeit with good moments. He does make an interesting point that this is a story written as a comedy but not directed as one.
"My Grandfather William Hartnell" is a sadly brief interview with Jessica Carney (maybe a future moderator for commentaries?) but a charming piece anyway. Spoof piece "A Holiday for the Doctor" is a fun look at the absences of the Doctor in 60's stories when the lead wanted a break, Ida Green being a great creation. Saving the best til last the commentary with William Russell & Maureen O'Brien, joined by writer Glynn Jones is the most fun Hartnell commentary yet and marks the emergence of a new classic commentary star with Peter Purves moderating. Peter has done his home work and coaxes very funny stories out of them all about Hartnell's line fluffing, old school director Mervyn Pinfield's overuse of 4 shots, how rubbish the Moroks are and info on how the script changed from the original. Peter Purves acts as moderator again with Maureen, William plus director Richard Martin on the Chase and that's in similar vein.
"Cusick in Cardiff" sees the legendary designer visit the home of new Who treated with respect by current design gurus. He's quite pleased with the new Daleks and the Tardis. "Shawcraft the Original Model makers " looks at the builders of early monsters and covers their work pretty well and is marvellously supplemented by vintage colour super 8 film of their studios. , "Last Stop White City" covers Ian & Barbara too quickly to have much detail and there's a sort of 2 part documentary on you know who "Daleks Conquer & Destroy" which is an overview of the Daleks and their appeal and "Daleks Beyond the Screen" considers merchandise & their use in other media. A good look at our favourite monsters with some good interviewees and some Big Finish Audio clips. There are some colour slides too.
A pretty good package for provided you like the 60's stories or are a big fan of the Daleks.
(#1) The Beatles themselves were to have appeared as old men at their 50th reunion concert but Mr. Epstein said no.
(#2) A very funny letter 2 decades ago to DWM asked if due to the spoonerising of Moroks and Xerons as Moron Xeroks (Xerox?)Jones may have a had a problem with photocopiers, perhaps all shall be revealed.
(#3) Jessica C also wrote the Hartnell biography "Who's There?" which I recommend.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jan 2010 18:23:58 GMT
The Chase is the one with the "comedy" Thick Dalek, isn't it?
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2010 12:07:56 GMT
Bob Marlowe says:
Could you be a bit more specific but I think I know what you mean. I've handed back a borrowed VHS copy and cannot go back to check. There's a great deal of dalek comedy here, as I covered briefly in the review they also do a double act with Peter Purves and do a some great physical comedy with the mushrooms.
For all its faults, you gotta love this story!
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2010 21:33:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jan 2010 21:34:09 GMT
Dark Jimbo says:
It's got a Dalek with a comedy speech impediment if that's the one you mean...
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jan 2010 13:22:08 GMT
Armchair Pundit says:
Yes Martin Your right.
Posted on 22 Jan 2010 16:43:26 GMT
Mr S. Anderson says:
Speaking of comedy moments involving Daleks,If my memory serves me correctly there is an "Acorn Antiques" type scene in the House Of Horrors,when the Doctor and Ian are exploring,and in long shot in the darkness you can quite clearly see a Dalek(which was not supposed to be there).Apparently the stage hands moved it there prior to it's initial surprise appearance when it confronts the doc.I know its not meant to be funny,but I can't help laughing.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jan 2010 19:30:34 GMT
Mushrooms? Acorn Antiques? This is starting to look tempting...
Posted on 9 Feb 2010 06:35:13 GMT
There's a bit where a Dalek falls off the ship, and strangely its top half comes off when it hits the water. I'm not sure whether this was meant to be a comedy moment or not.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2010 18:54:50 GMT
Daleks having flip top lids was established in their first story, so it's not that much of a clanger. Davros obviously didn't have a swimming pool in his bunker to test their resistance to such an event.
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