Wednesday 15 March 2023

The Black Tomb

Wyrd Britain reviews 'The Black Tomb' from the ITV series 'World's Beyond' starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.

We've featured several episodes from the mid 1980s ITV series 'World's Beyond' on Wyrd Britain before one of which, 'Home', featured the unlikely casting of 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest's' Nurse Ratched, Louise Fletcher. This episode, the fifth in the series, features the equally unlikely casting of Eli Wallach of 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly' as acting teacher Charles Burgess alongside his real world wife Anne Jackson as Marian, an actress struggling to come to terms with her declining career, holidaying in England where they discover a strange black tomb belonging to the former, unlamented, lord of the manor and Marian is stalked by a masked and cloaked figure.

With a flat and obvious script by Marc Alexander purportedly based on a story from the archives of the Society for Psychical Research from which he entirely fails to ring any sort of spookiness and some truly dire acting from the principal cast save perhaps John Vine as the Vicar and Derek Benfield (Frank Skinner in 'Timeslip') as the Doctor this is a dreadful piece of old tat. That said though it's an interesting curio of the time it was made within the slight revival of spooky anthology television in the middle of the 1980s alongside other series such as the supernatural classics plundering 'Shades of Darkness', the, apparently mostly lost and Robert Aickman focused, 'Night Voices' (of which only 'The Hospice' seems to remain) and 'Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense' but it is by far the weakest of them all and provides little more than an opportunity to idle away 24 minutes in the company of some unlikely stars.


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