Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Inimitable, Bestial Visions of Nigel Kneale, 29 April 2009
This review is from: Beasts - The Complete Series [DVD] [1976] (DVD)
Anything from the prolific scriptwriting pen of Nigel Kneale is well worth watching and has a special ambience all of it's own. The magic of Nigel Kneale's work lies in the sheer intelligence and compelling quality of the writing - a special quality clearly lost on a few undiscerning reviewers here. Here we are in the classic territory of the English supernatural tale, brought up-to-date mid 1970s-style and it comes as little surprise that Kneale's stories are invariably of a very high calibre indeed.

It's inspiring to see the raw elements of skilfully written script, stage-style, set-bound acting and thoughtful dialogue interacting to create these marvellously dark worlds with such a weird intensity. Paradoxically the low production values only seem to powerfully enhance the charged atmosphere of these bestial tales of otherness - In fact these strange and uniquely unsettling plays all make for satisfying viewing and linger in the mind long afterward. 'Baby' is really great, a disturbing tale of eldritch powers and ancient witchcraft erupting into the modern world. 'Buddyboy' is bleak viewing indeed, exploring cruel themes of animal and human exploitation and abuse in a quite desolating but incredibly thought-provoking way. The one which really stuck in my mind as a 12 yr old was 'What Big Eyes' which is a classic tale of lycanthropy set in the very unlikely environs of a dingy pet-shop scenario: it seriously frightened me as a boy and I still found it really effective as an adult, an amazing story and quite horrifying in its implications. With Nigel Kneale the real power is in the depth and intelligence of the ideas, characters and settings. Themes of the supernatural, spirits, poltergeist phenomena, eerie elements of folklore, deviated science and strange powers from beyond the familiar human world interweave in Nigel Kneale's 'Beasts' and make it a truly classic series, full of texture, character and atmosphere... it's period fare for sure but so much better than todays bland, inane drivel and dumbed-down commercial dross that it's hardly surprising that quality-starved viewers are relishing these precious DVD releases...great stuff, well worth obtaining!
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