Hammer House of Horror: Charlie Boy (Episode 6)

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ANDREW GARVEY reviews Charlie Boy, the sixth episode in Hammer House of Horror TV  Series

Title:  Charlie Boy
First televised:
18 October 1980
Director:
Robert Young
Screenplay: Bernie Cooper and Francis Megahy
Starring: Leigh Lawson, Angela Bruce, Marius Goring, Frances Cuka and Michael Culver.

Contents

Plot of Charlie Boy

Graham and Sarah take possession of an African fetish after the sudden death of Graham’s uncle. 

But Graham soon realises ‘Charlie Boy’ is much more than just a fantastically ugly ornament.

Where Have I Seen Them Before?  

Actor, writer and director Leigh Lawson may be best known for his 1988 marriage to 1960s British fashion icon Twiggy.  He starred in short-lived TV dramas Travelling Man and Kinsey. 

Angela Bruce appeared in cheesy women’s prison drama series Bad Girls and as the female version of Lister in the classic sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf episode Parallel Universe. 

A highly respected English actor who specialised in playing foreigners, Marius Goring starred in BBC crime drama the Expert from 1968-76 and as the Scarlet Pimpernel in a 1956 TV adaptation. 

Frances Cuka appeared in 1980 Disney family horror film the Watcher in the Woods, had a recurring role in TV medical drama Casualty and currently plays Gran in award-winning Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner.

Michael Culver starred in 1988 TV spy drama series Game, Set and Match, 1977-79 wartime drama Secret Army, early-70s family adventure series the Adventures of Black Beauty and had a small role in the Empire Strikes Back as one of the poor unfortunates whose admissions of failure displeased Darth Vader.

Best line

“Come on, you saw the fellow, dirty great scar down his face.  He’s obviously some kind of villain.”

Review of Charlie Boy

Oh dear.  Where to start? 

Perhaps with main characters Graham and Sarah. 

Monumentally irritating, the pair of them. 

Graham’s a whiny, petulant middle-class advertising drone while Sarah, whose accent lurches about all over the country, appears to be a self-absorbed model or actress of some kind. 

Sharing little onscreen chemistry and not even vaguely believable as a couple, neither of them are as entertainingly vile as Graham’s brother, Mark (Culver). 

A nastily arrogant twerp, Mark at least gets a richly deserved death and, for his short screen time, is the best thing about the episode. 

With a crashingly intrusive, overactive score and a shoddy, repetitive script crammed full of inconsistencies and boneheaded behaviour, this is one to skip.

1 COMMENT

  1. Odd but it’s this episode that I love the most.

    Didn’t see This episode as a child. ‘Children of the full moon’ scared me whitless and I remember sitting…no, jumping on mum’s lap in 1980 seeing the werewolf attack Celia Gregory. Parents ensured I was always in bed and well out of harm’s way but when I saw ‘Charlie Boy’ repeated in the 1980’s on HTV, I fell in love with the series.

    I’m not interested in the sexual chemistry between Graham and Sarah; God, I’ve known worst chemistry between lovers and remember, there’s only a limited amount of screen time, under 50 minutes, to construct a convoluted plot. It’s not ‘It’s Wonderful life’ to show a syrupy love nest. I agree, Mark is a bastard and portrayed not unlike any one of our annoying Tory MP’s these days, full of shit and hubris and as you say, deserves to see the sharp end.

    Angela Bruce. Always liked this actress, your comments on her accent made me laugh because she does lapse into true Geordie at one point and yet sketches around London but then we all do that. I’m from Wales and have a London accent but oddly enough live in County Durham. Amazing that she was only the second black artist to feature in such a prominent role…wonder if she was an emergency replacement. I like her, anyway, she stood out and anyone having to do a naked scene with the wooden Lawson has my vote any day! You’re a bit hard on them perhaps?

    Plot…interesting device, story moves afoot literally once Graham sticks the knife in. camera angles, lighting, set dressing and design all seem to be well placed. Music appropriately heavy handed in the full strings and dissonant chords. Loved the sex scene clarinet piece. Script, well it plods along but there’s some interesting colloquialisms, ‘what a lovely pair!’ Straight out of Carry On.

    A good 50 minutes of nonsense.
    Worst of this season, the Bloody awful ‘Growing Pains’, I would have rejected this.

    Charlie Boy, worth the time to digest and lose oneself. Not at all a bad way to waste a Sunday evening.

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