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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic Tom Baker story, 27 Mar 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - Horror of Fang Rock [1977] [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
After being effectively reintroduced to vintage 'Doctor Who' when I picked up the excellent 'The Brain of Morbius' DVD almost on a whim a couple of months ago, I keenly bought more vintage 'Who' DVDs, of which 'Horror of Fang Rock' was one.

Seeing as '...Fang Rock' was actually a last minute replacement story (the originally planned script, which would eventually become 'State of Decay' in 1980, involved vampires, but was aborted due to feelings it would clash with the Beeb's production of 'Dracula'), it actually ends up as a really good 1970s-era story, with only Part 3 feeling slightly stretched.

While no doubt too slow for young audiences accustomed to watered down single "fifty minutes and it's over" modern 'Who' stories, I love these vintage tales for allowing more depth, and think that (generally) multi-part episodes work much better for this.

The alien of the story is the jelly-like Rutan (of which we see only one); these are actually (otherwise unseen) enemies of the Sontarans, although you do not need to be familiar with any of the Sontaran episodes to enjoy 'Fang Rock'.
Naturally, coming from the tight budget, pre-CGI days of 1970s BBC, the Rutan looks very primitive by today's standards; the (many) sequences of it squelching up the lighthouse stairs are certainly a bit dodgy, but at the same time, it is not the worst '70s-era realisation of a monster, not by a long shot. Besides, as with all good vintage 'Who', the story is strong enough carry the weaker effects off.

The sound, considering it's from ancient 1970s mono, is extremely clear. The picture is mostly good, though I did notice some camera interference during Part 2, present on the original, which is still evident.

The one thing I was a little let down with regarding the DVD, was the features. Not with the quality of the features that ARE included, but typical 'Who' DVD releases at least feature a retrospective look back at the making of the particular story, but there is no such feature with 'Fang Rock'.
We do get a nice (and deserving) 36 minute feature looking at the extensive work of story writer Terrance Dicks, though it only makes brief inclusion of 'Fang Rock'.
The other main feature is with Paddy Russell, show runner for several 'Who' stories. This one goes into a bit more depth regarding 'Fang Rock', and interestingly she considers it a rather weak story.

While these two features are nice, I did feel they could have been easily at home on any number of other vintage 'Who' DVDs. The third main feature is an Antiques Roadshow-style short looking at some of the merchandise, made in 1993. This sounded very promising, but at just 4 minutes, I found it to be to be pointlessly short, and - with no direct connection to 'Fang Rock' - it seems to be included just as a filler.

There is the standard in-episode trivia track, which I always love, and audio commentary (which as per usual I've yet to listen to), but the only other feature is a bog-standard picture gallery. Bearing in mind some of the wonderful features on other 'Who' DVDs, I felt a bit let down by the ones of this release.

But all-in-all, this is a great 'Who' story. I'm not qute giving it a perfect 5 mostly due to the unusually disappointing extras, but even so, if you are a vintage 'Who' fan, I recommend 'Horror of Fang Rock' for your collection.
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