Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NOSTALGIC 80s: HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR-VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE


For a long time, at least until the late 90s, Nigerian Television was under the British invasion (Doctor Who, Mind Your Language, 'Allo 'Allo, Some Mothers Do 'Ave Them, Rent-A-Ghost, Robin Hood of Sherwood, The Invisible Man, Armchair Thriller etc.) and the German invasion (Derrick, The Investigator, Tele Match, Peter's Toy Box etc.), with a sprinkling of American T.V shows and cartoons. But I felt when it came to T.V; British Television really ruled and now that we are bombarded with the Mexican and Indian invasion (Telenovelas), I find myself missing a lot of the British stuff we had on our screens a long time ago.
And this is a question mostly for Nigerian viewers... who actually remembers the 80's British anthology series...  Hammer House of Horror?
Yes it was horror and yes it was definitely  not something parents today would allow their children to watch before bedtime. As a child I was scared yet rather interested in this series. Why? 
Pushing the scary aspect aside, I was always curious to see how each episode would end. Being an anthology, each episode was a different story and a story one just yearned to see the end of.
This series aired on LTV and somehow I managed to catch a few episodes. I'll start with the one I mostly remember...


                                                    VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE

One night, a woman shoots a man who tried to rape her in the face.

 The following morning, her husband comes home to find blood stains in the house and Penny hysterically tells Harry what happened. He finds the man's corpse outside in the woods and tells her the man was Charles Willoughby; a business associate. Penny insists they call the police but Harry pointed out that while she may not be arrested for using an unregistered gun, she might be sent back to a psychiatric facility- as Penny had a history of mental illness. She doesn't want to go through that ordeal again, hence Charles is buried, his car dunked into the lake and they keep their mouths shut.


But Penny kept seeing Charles' ghost leering at her; through her bedroom window, appearing as a waiter who served her a drink at a party (causing her to scream hysterically and carried out by Harry), she saw him again glaring at her from a car. Poor Penny lives in constant fear and takes a bit more of her medication than she should; more so after a policeman comes to their house, looking for Charles.

A friend of theirs-Margaret- is a medium and she conducts a seance; where Charles is summoned from the grave and told to leave Penny alone. But Charles malevolently insisted he wanted revenge and both woman collapse.
Margaret suggested a stronger medium; a male medium who would carry out what needed to be done... for a large fee and being a well off woman, Penny agreed to pay it; anything to get the malevolent sceptre off her back and leave her in peace. On the appointed evening, Margaret arrives with the man.

The seance begins... the Indian medium summons Charles who demands to know why he's being disturbed again. The medium demands that he leaves Penny in peace but again Charles' spirit is adamant... he wants revenge and he will get revenge on Penny. Terrified to the core, Penny screams and runs into her bedroom.
Harry breaks down the door only to face a grisly sight- Penny on the floor, her neck bleeding. Out of sheer desperation, the poor woman had commited suicide.

However... after the ambulance takes Penny's body away, what do the viewers see?
Harry bursting out laughing and twirling Margaret around; the 'Indian Medium' taking off his sunglasses, beard and turban... not only had he posed as a medium but was the same man who had posed as a policeman! And worse... much worse... there was Charles in a tracksuit with fake blood on his forehead... alive and kicking and pouring out champagne!
What was that all about???!
As the evil group unpack Penny's money and celebrate, we find out...
Penny was a wealthy woman. Harry and Margaret had a thing going on but if Harry divorced Penny, he got nothing. And as poor Penny was a former mental patient, the plan was to render her permanently insane and sent back to the mental facility and he and his mistress would enjoy her money with no interference.  The gun she had used on Charles (who was actively in on the plan) was loaded with blanks and he had been wearing fake blood and appearing her and there to frighten her even more. The unexpected plus-which none of them were sorry about- was Penny killing herself.
But as they laugh and toast one another, the lights go out...

And it was their turn to be terrified because the ghost, the real ghost of the woman they had wronged appeared through the windows and spoke...

                                                          I will be revenged

Pointing at the pile of money they more or less stole from her, the whole thing caught fire, no longer of use to them.



They could only stare helplessly as she repeated with ominous glee;

                                                     I will be revenged!


What started out as a malicious prank to render an innocent woman insane and steal her money brought damning consequences; a suicide, resulting from a real visitor from the grave. In a real life situation, what on earth would the culprits do after being faced by a vengeful spirit?
They would probably  cover their faces and moan, "Had I known..."

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