Dead of Night: Season 1, Episode 1

The Exorcism (5 Nov. 1972)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror
8.0
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Four friends gather for Christmas dinner at an old cottage. Suddenly, there's a power failure and the phone goes dead. Then their wine turns to blood and the turkey makes them violently ill. Then things really get strange!

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Title: The Exorcism (05 Nov 1972)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Anna Cropper ...
Rachel
Sylvia Kay ...
Margaret
Edward Petherbridge ...
Edmund
...
Dan
Kenneth Kendall ...
Newsreader
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Storyline

Four friends gather for Christmas dinner at an old cottage. Suddenly, there's a power failure and the phone goes dead. Then their wine turns to blood and the turkey makes them violently ill. Then things really get strange!

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Horror

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5 November 1972 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Dated and overly wordy but quite chilling and engaging
3 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Edmund and Rachel have bought a remote cottage reasonably convenient for London as a fixer-upper. As a house warming they invite the equally upper-middle-class Dan and Margaret over for a dinner party. They are all amused when Rachel plays a piece of music that she claims she has never heard before and when the lights, power and telephone all fail at the same time they try and laugh it off. However when Edmund insists that the wine is actually blood, tensions raise as the others all start to experience increasing strange things.

It took me a minute to get over how very dated to the seventies this chilling little story was but mostly it managed to get over it and produce a solid little ghost story. Of course there is no getting away from the period it was made as the very setting of a dinner party screams it at you – heck I was just waiting for the fondue to come out towards the end! It is wordy as well and the narrative makes the characters think out loud as a way of moving things forward but what it does do well is to build. The characters may stay logical and coherent for longer than you would expect but they do gradually move from joking to fear as they (and the viewer) start to find out more about their situation.

The direction is a bit clunky as it is essentially filmed theatre, with all the action more or less in one room of the house; however we do get these unnecessary closing-in shots that again date it and make it feel a little cheesy. Credit then to the performances because it was these that drew me into believing what was going on. Again the actors are heavily dated in terms of looks and costume but their performances make it work despite the script giving them overly elaborate dialogue at times. Cropper is handed the hardest role but deals with it pretty well. Petherbridge works well as the logical core while Kay and Swift are solid as well – even if the latter looks very dated in his purple cravat! Overall then, an overly wordy film but one that builds the tension well, increasing tension gradually rather than expecting one trick to deliver a jump scare. Dated and not brilliant but quite chilling and engaging.


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