Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Where no one can hear you scream

11 Dec

Science fiction horror has a long and venerable tradition on both the small and big screen. At the very dawn of the movie age, science fiction films were hopeful, almost idealistic in tone, looking forward to a bright age of exploration and discovery. It did not, however, take very long for the visions of film-makers to darken considerably and between about 1930 and 1950 the first true ‘horrors’ of the sci-fi genre were made. Classics such as The Day the Earth Stood StillThe Thing from Another WorldThe War of the WorldsForbidden Planet and Invasion of the Body Snatchers were notable for the genuine terror that they could inspire in their audiences, just as much as for the more traditional qualities of a science-fiction film, like special effects and imagination. These films really set the tone for the creature features that followed in successive decades, from the Creature from the Black Lagoon to the more sophisticated horror of Alien, Predator, Terminator and Species. This revolution on the big screen was reflected to some extent in television series which veered away from purely ‘futuristic’ science fiction to stray into horror territory, probably the best examples of which being Doctor Who in the 1970s and, of course, The Twilight Zone.

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The Whispering Knights

4 Dec

The Whispering Knights was written almost forty years ago by Penelope Lively and my own copy of the book, which is so worn that the pages are falling out, is almost that old. This bears testament to how enthralling I’ve found the story, which I’ve read many times over the years since coming across it for the first time in a dusty old school library. Set in the Oxfordshire countryside, the story makes use of the many stone circles which are a feature of that part of England by referring to the Whispering Knights – according to legend knights frozen in stone many centuries ago by a magical spell that allows them to come to life again when the country’s need is greatest. Three children stumble across this legend and unwittingly awake an ancient evil that the Whispering Knights (who are so called because even as stones they are rumoured to mutter to each other constantly) were designed to combat – the wicked enchantress Morgan Le Fay. Full of magic, danger, ancient legends and mystical monuments, the ensuing story is easy to read, as befits what is essentially a children’s book, but as haunting and powerful as any adult fantasy novel. What makes The Whispering Knights even more fascinating in my opinion is the fact that it is rooted in real history as well as myth.

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