28 July 2014

Visitor from the Grave (1980)
50 min.
Airdate: November 22, 1980
Directed by Peter Sasdy.
With Kathryn Leigh Scott, Peter MacCorkindale, Gareth Thomas, Mia Nardi, and Stanley Lebor.
Jose Cruz
Alone one night at her home in the country, Penny (Scott) is attacked by a man (Lebor) who is looking to collect on a debt that her husband owes him. Just before he can sexually assault her, Penny manages to unload two shotgun barrels right in his face.

When her husband Harry (MacCorkindale) returns the next morning, he has her clean up the bloody mess while he buries the cadaver in the forest. Seems Penny has recently suffered a nervous breakdown and any interference with the police would assure her placement in a mental institution again. In order to preserve Pennyís freedom, the couple must keep the whole incident a secret.

Trouble is Penny keeps seeing her bullet-ridden victim pop up, whether itís in parked cars or as a waiter at a party. Has his spirit returned to wreak horrible vengeance for his concealed murder? Is Penny suffering hallucinations from stress and the pills she keeps taking? Or is it something else altogether?

Things start off promising with Pennyís visions of the corpse intruding on her life, but the episode begins to lose its footing two-thirds of the way through. The story ends up aping the climax of Diabolique, but it doesnít quite seem to work here.

Though a final supernatural twist is tacked on, one wishes that this story would have actually stuck to its convictions rather than resorting to logic-straining revenge plots.

Lead Scott is a little grating too. The mousy actress plays Penny as completely helpless, a perpetually screaming victim incapable of doing anything for herself. This probably has to do with Anthony Hindsí script more than anything else, but Scott doesnít elicit any of our sympathies with her performance.

The best part of this episode is the great musical score by Marc Wilkinson. Itís electronic, experimental, and just plain cool.

Not the seriesí worse, but it could have been so much better.

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