As part of their Gothic season the BBC are repeating their 1977 supernatural drama series tonight, imaginatively titled Supernatural.
A series of independent stories linked by a wonderful premise, in the style of the Amicus portmanteau films. The premise here is a Victorian club called The Club of the Damned, to gain entry a prospective member must tell the members a terrifying tale. If it is not considered scary enough then not only is the prospective refused membership but he is put to death.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sadly the whole thing is rather mediocre, poor direction, stilted dialogue and those very mannered performances that the BBC thought was the way everyone acted who existed before the 20th century.
As was the fashion in the 1970s they published a novelisation (although, as it’s not a novel in the common sense of the word, perhaps a short-storyisation would be a better description?)
Published in 1977 by Fontana, the seven stories are adapted from Robert Muller’s screenplay by a selection of authors, including the prolific Rosemary Timperley who had many stories in the Pan horror anthologies.
Anyway, I pulled the book off my shelf when I saw the tv series was being repeated, it usually lurks in the arse-end of my collection. Here’s the cover, showing the wonderful Billie Whitelaw, who was married to the writer Robert Muller: