ANDREW GARVEY reviews Children of the Full Moon, the eighth episode in Hammer House of Horror TV Series
Title: Children of the Full Moon
First televised: November 1st 1980
Director: Tom Clegg
Screenplay: Murray Smith
Starring: Christopher Cazenove, Celia Gregory, Diana Dors and Robert Urquhart.
Plot: On their way to visit friends, jet-setting lawyer Tom and his wife Sarah Martin experience some especially worrying car trouble and find themselves guests of the unusual Mrs Ardoy and her gang of children.
Where Have I Seen Them Before? Christopher Cazenove appeared in Pathfinders with Robert Urquhardt but is most famous for his 1986/87 appearances as Ben Carrington in glitzy American soap opera Dynasty. Celia Gregory was best known for her stage work and played smaller roles in many TV dramas in the 1970s and ‘80s. Billed as England’s Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors was a superstar in the 1950s and 1960s, known for her cabaret performances, TV and film roles and very colourful personal life, gleefully chronicled by the tabloid press. In 1962 she starred in the Sorceror’s Aprentice, an infamous episode of US network TV hit Alfred Hitchcock Presents that never aired due to objections from programme sponsors Revlon that it was “too gruesome.” It was later shown on television and is now freely available in the public domain. Robert Urquhart should be familiar to fans of classic Hammer films, having played Victor’s friend Paul Krempe in 1957 classic, the Curse of Frankenstein. Urquhardt also appeared as Gawaine in 1953’s Knights of the Round Table and starred in early 1970s wartime TV drama the Pathfinders.
Best line: “Oh, they never go to bed at normal hours. Not our little ones.”
Review: Hammer’s second foray into the world of werewolves (after 1961 feature film Curse of the Werewolf) opens with one of the most memorable images of the entire series and follows up with some fine stunt driving. From there we’re treated to a cracking jump scare or two, some unsettling visuals and a frantic score which all help make this one great fun. Rarely has the giggling of children sounded so creepy and considering the usual limitations of child actors, the kids here do a fine job while the unsettling but cheerful Mrs Ardoy (Dors) gets some wonderful lines, stuffed with double meanings. Tom (Cazenove) and Sarah (Gregory) are a believable couple and Sarah’s increasing weirdness is nicely played while the troubled Tom searches for answers he obviously won’t be happy with. A simple folkloric story, spiced up by some black humour, decent special effects and another good ending gives us another strong episode that’s well worth fifty or so minutes of your time.