Saturday, April 08, 2017
      ( 8:31 PM ) posted by Setsuled  

As the only person I know who listens to DVD commentaries, I was really tickled by the DVD commentary fiction, "Special Features", included in the anthology Fifth Doctor Doctor Who audio play, The Demons of the Red Lodge and Other Stories. The other stories included in the collection aren't bad.

The first, "Demons of the Red Lodge", has the Doctor (Peter Davison) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) visiting my current favourite time and place, 17th century England, running into a possible witch and includes references to the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins (memorably played by Vincent Price in a 1968 film). It's a nice story of disorientation, beginning with the Doctor and Nyssa experiencing amnesia finding and the possible witch and her twin sister who won't acknowledge the existence of the other. The fun is in the disorientation more than the solution to it.

The middle two stories, "The Entropy Composition" and "Doing Time" aren't bad but are a bit forgettable, indicated by the fact that I can barely remember them despite having listened to them last night. "Special Features" immediately demanded my attention with its DVD commentary format. We hear the beginnings of a cheesy, Hammer-ish anthology horror film called Doctor Demonic's Tales of Terror before the sound on the film is turned down, as in a DVD commentary, so we can more clearly hear a man who turns out to be the director, Martin Ashcroft (James Fleet). He's joined by two cast members and the Doctor who apparently served as an historical consultant. The characters are broad compared to the people I normally hear on commentaries but the tone of conversation is captured so well, as when the director, finding no-one's talking, awkwardly just starts describing what's plainly going on on screen or when one of the cast members, Johanna Bourke (Joanna Munro) randomly says someone is wearing a nice dress during another lull. Then, of course, things get weird and the threat of an alien curse is actually embedded in the commentary. It's good fun.

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