OCT16 – 2016

A PAIR OF CREEPY NIGEL KNEALE TELLY TREATS!

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Writing up HALLOWEEN 3 yesterday got me thinking about the writer of the original script, the legendary British screenwriter Nigel Kneale. He took his name off the project after Dino De Laurentiis made too many changes to the story, taking out a lot of the psychological horror and replacing it with robots and gore. As much as I love H3 in all its shaggy glory, I’ve always hoped one day to read Kneale’s original draft, which I’m sure kicks ass.

quatermass-and-the-pit

I’m not going to do a huge history of Mr. Kneale here, except to say that he is credited by many media scholars as one of the first writers to fully grasp the cinematic potential of television. He brought adult science fiction and horror to mainstream audiences with his extremely popular Quatermass stories, serialized on BBC in the 50s and 60s, and later turned into theatrical films by Hammer Studios. QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (called in the USA: FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH) is one of my all-time favorite movies, and a perfect melding of science fiction, action, and horror elements. Yum!

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He wrote the script for the BBC television adaptation of Susan Hill’s THE WOMAN IN BLACK, for Pete’s sake!

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Even his family is awesome: his wife Judith Kerr is a beloved writer and illustrator, most famously of the MOG stories, while his son Matthew is an award-winning novelist and his daughter Tacy is a special effects artist.

But, instead of getting carried away with Nigel Kneale history stuff, I just want to lay a couple little television shows on you. Both written by Kneale, in full=on folk horror mode, and both really good and creepy. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest you feast your eyeballs right away…
BABY

From Kneale’s 1976 horror anthology show BEASTS. A young couple move into an old cottage in the country and discover a mummified “something” in one of the walls…

 
MURRAIN

Kneale wrote this episode of the ITV show AGAINST THE CROWD. A young veterinarian is disgusted by a group of superstitious farmers who believe a witch has cursed their village…

***

—BPL

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