Saturday, March 10, 2007

Don Taylor's The Exorcism

What is the most frightening television programme you have ever seen?

For me it is probably the episode of Sexton Blake in which the hypodermic-wielding villain measured Tinker for his coffin while he was still alive. Mind you, I may have been as young as seven when I saw it.

After that. it is undoubtedly a play I remember from the early 1970s. Two wealthy couples were spending Christmas in a country cottage - the second home of one of them. Gradually they become aware that they are trapped in the building and the red wine they are drinking has turned to blood.

Then one of the women goes into a trance and channels the spirit of a peasant woman who starved to death there a century or more ago. With her dying breath she cursed the rich and called upon the stones of the cottage to avenge her.

The programme ended with a news bulletin about a bizarre tragedy in which four people had been found starved to death seated around a table on which a large meal was set out...

This morning - having bought a book of Raymond Williams's television reviews from the early 1970s - I discovered what it was.

It was The Exorcism, written by Don Taylor and broadcast in 1972. I was only 12 then, but I am sure it would still terrify me today.


Anonymous said...

I remember that programme very well - older than you, but still scared and spooked.

Anonymous said...

I was traumatised by 'Whistle and I'll come to you'. For months afterwards, if my sister (with whom I used to share a room)was away, I'd leave the light on so I could keep an eye on her bed...

As for Hitchcock's 'Psycho', even if I'm alone in the house I still lock the door when I'm in the shower!

Anonymous said...

Same era - a "Rivals of Sherlock Holmes" - something about a horse appearing before a wedding! Gives me the shivers now