Sunday, 13 June 2021

Feet Foremost

Wyrd Britain reviews Shades of Darkness Feet Foremost.
'Shades of Darkness' was a mid 1980s series for Granada TV that presented adaptations of unsettling tales by authors  - some famous names (Agatha Christie) and some less so (May Sinclair) -  this particular episode is based on the short story of the same name by L.P. Hartley originally published in 1931 in his collection 'The Killing Bottle'.

The story here revolves around a house haunted by the vengeful ghost of a young woman murdered by her violent husband whose revenge involved possessing the bodies of those she asks to carry her across the threshold of the house and in whose corpse she leaves again in the manner suggested by the title.

Carol Royle in Shades of Darkness Feet Foremost.
Carol Royle gives a predominantly strong performance in the lead and Peter Machin is entertainingly manic as her doomed fiance, there's a fun and barbed performance from Heather Chasen and Ken Kitson (Last of the Summer Wine's 'P.C. Cooper') is the de rigeur rake leaning local with the all the information on the legend of the ghost, Lady Elinor (played by Samantha Gates who, trivia fans may like to note, was one of the two children on the cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Houses of the Holy' album).  

Directed with a fairly gentle hand by Gordon Flemyng (director of both Peter Cushing Dr. Who movies) from a script by Alan Plater, who also adapted May Sinclair's 'The Intercessor' for the same series, this is a less satisfying story than that other that never quite manages to be spooky and has a spectacularly unlikely conclusion.  It is though eminently watchable and, like the rest of the series, an always welcome stab at producing sympathetic adaptations of golden age supernatural tales in the vein of the BBC's M.R. James adaptations at a time when they weren't being made.

Oh and cat lovers please consider yourselves warned.


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