"Hammer House of Horror" Visitor from the Grave (TV Episode 1980) Poster

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You'll Work Out The Ending Right From The Start
Theo Robertson9 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Alone in her remote house one night Penny hears banging on the door . After being refused entry the person outside breaks in and identifies himself as as being Charles claiming Penny's boyfriend Harry owes him then proceeds to attempt to rape Penny . She defends herself by shooting Charles . The next day Harry arrives at the home and Penny tells him what has happened . Following a trail of blood they come across the body of Charles so Harry decides to bury the body in an unmarked grave and both Penny and Harry swear themselves to secrecy . Soon things go back to normal until one night Penny awakens and sees Charles come in to the house . How can the dead come back to life ?

And if you've not managed to work out how the dead suddenly resurrect themselves from the above plot summary this very monosylble review will look like the complete works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky because only the meanest mind will fail to work out what is going on and where this is heading . Visitor From The Grave is almost certainly the weakest episode from the short lived HHH . I remember watching it on its first screening and quickly deducing that it was all a plot to convince Penny she was insane . The plot itself doesn't have a single grain of credibility . For example how is Charles able to gain access to a club where he's able to pass himself off as a waiter . Of course the fortune teller ( Possible manageress ? ) is in on the conspiracy but surely this plan all depends on secrecy amongst the select few benefactors so why draw attention to yourself by having a waiter who is supposedly dead serving drinks ? Like wise Richard turning up in a police car . Wearing fancy dress is one thing but where does one hire a police car ? The story constantly continues in this vein and every plot turn is lacking in any sort of plausible thinking . Even from the outset you're asking yourself how does somebody fake being shot in any convincing way . I know we see it in films and TV shows all the time but have ever seen it done on a stage at a live theatre production ? I didn't think so

One interesting aspect - though it's not a saving grace - is the casting of Kathryn Leigh Scott as Penny who is American . It wasn't until I noticed this that I became aware the other episodes are lacking any sort of international marketing involving casting . Indeed the first massive Hammer hit was THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT that had an American screenwriter Richard Landau adapting Nigel Keale's original teleplay and had American actor Brian Donlevy in the title role . The success of this film led to the studio concentrating on the horror genre for the next two decades , something it excelled at until its Gothic horror formula quickly fell out of fashion . One wonders if the producers of HHH might have learned from the past and cast a few more Americans for trans Atlantic audience identification ? Mind you the Brits seen here leave a lot to be desired with Simon MacCorkindale giving it his usual posh boy spiel and Gareth Thomas best known as the eponymous hero in BLAKES 7 playing a dual role as a policeman and as Indian mystic . If you think that sounds silly just watch how it plays on screen

The groundswell of opinion is that is the nadir of the short lived HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR and it's difficult to argue against that . It does try to redeem itself at the end by having a double twist and even then you can probably see that coming but in its favour it does remain constantly dead pan which may be its saving grace and having almost rewatched the entire series after a gap of many years I'm still fairly convinced that CHILDREN OF THE FULL MOON is the weakest episode
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Weak episode in a normally reliable series
Leofwine_draca20 February 2013
VISITOR FROM THE GRAVE is a somewhat lacklustre addition to the HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR television series, made weaker by its ludicrous twist ending which makes fun of almost everything that's come before. Director Peter Sasdy (of COUNTESS Dracula fame) is able to inject some much-needed atmosphere into his low budget production, but that's the only thing of interest here.

In what amounts to little more than a stagy, one-room three-hander, Kathryn Leigh Scott plays a woman who fights off a would-be rapist only to find herself haunted by the vengeful man's spirit. There's a typically stiff-upper-lip performance from Simon MacCorkindale as her husband and a slightly extraneous turn from BLAKE'S 7 honcho Gareth Thomas as a copper, and that's about it. The story is predictable, the chills lukewarm and the ending just stupid.
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Predictalbe and Unoriginal Visions - Easily the Weakest H.H.H. Episode
Witchfinder General 66625 August 2009
Generally speaking, I am a fan of the great British Hammer Studios' short-running series "Hammer House of Horror" (1980). While the episodes generally differ in quality, this eleventh entry to the series, "Visitors from the Grave" is by far the weakest one. Overall, "Visitors from the Grave" is unoriginal and terribly predictable, telling a story that has been told many times before, but in a very weak manner. Penny (Kathryn Leigh Scott), a young American woman and former mental patient who is married to the Englishman Harry (Simon McCorkindale), kills a man who tries to rape her. After her husband buries the rapist in the woods nearby their remote house, Penny begins having visions of the deceased, who has seemingly come back from the grave to haunt her... Topics like this one are omnipresent in Horror, and often very creepily executed; Sadly this cannot be said about "Visitors from the Grave", which, apart from some atmosphere, has hardly anything to be recommended for. The leading character Penny's hysterical character is extremely annoying, otherwise, there is not a single interesting or likable character in the film. Director Peter Sasdy deserves respect for directing three very good Hammer films, "Taste The Blood of Dracula" (1970), "Countess Dracula" (1971) and "Hands of the Ripper" (1971, his best film), as well as contributing three better episodes to "Hammer House of Horror". "Visitors from the Grave", however, is for H.H.H. completists only, otherwise I would recommend to skip this one and watch all the others.
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bad effects
trashgang4 May 2010
I didn't thought that I would ever say that something was bad coming out if the Hammer house but this is not good. Bad is maybe overrated but still there are better episodes. Okay, when the rapist is shot there is a shot of his face, a bit scary but then it's downhill. The lady almost being raped shots the rapist presumed to be death. But he reappears wherever the woman is. So far so good but when she goes to a fortune teller the effects are bad. When in a séance the voice and face appears it is badly done. Okay, when the episodes end you will see what really happened but still the end is also badly done. It is in fact a good storyline but could have been done much better knowing the effects used in the seventies. Even Nosferatu was better done. But it wasn't boring and that's already a positive point, isn't it?
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One of the poorer Hammer House of Horror episodes...
Paul Andrews10 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Hammer House of Horror: Visitor from the Grave is set in rural England & starts late one night as rich American Penny Van Prutten (Kathryn Leigh Scott) is home alone in her isolated cottage in the woods, loud banging on the front door wakes her & a man named Charles Willowbee (Stanley Lebor) breaks in. Charles says he wants her boyfriend Harry Wells (Simon MacCorkindale) but he isn't there so Charles turns his attention to Penny & tries to rape her but Penny grabs a double barrelled shotgun & shoots him. The next morning & Harry arrives back at the cottage to find blood on the floor, Penny is hysterics & Charles dead body. Harry says he will bury the body & no-one will ever know what happened, unfortunately Penny is haunted by visions of Charles whose ghost seems to want revenge on her...

Visitor from the Grave was episode 11 from the one & only season of this British horror anthology series of macabre tales produced by Hammer studios for TV, originally airing over here during November 1980 one has to say that Visitor from the Grave is one of the poorer episodes from this generally high quality series. The script was by Anthony Hinds who had written many scripts for Hammer including The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), The Scars of Dracula (1970) & Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) to name but a few & with this sort of pedigree one would have thought Hinds might have been able to come up with something a little better than this contrived, insanely convoluted & downright silly piece of telly. You can see the twist ending coming quite literally a mile off, it's so obvious & predictable it's almost embarrassing when it happens. The whole thing is one big con but there are many flaws in the plan, for a start what if Penny had called the police after shooting Charles? That would have buggered their plans up wouldn't it? The whole fifty odd minutes is full of holes, script problems, improbabilities & just poor plotting which makes Visitor from the Grave a less than satisfying way to spend fifty minutes.

Director Peter Sasdy does alright but no-ones heart seems to be in it, the opening scenes of Charles breaking into the cottage are quite effective but some of the set-pieces thereafter are hilariously bad including the climatic séance which has to be seen to be believed. It's a wonder any of the actors involved kept a straight face especially the guy in the bad false beard, turban & dark sunglasses. There's no blood or gore in this one, unfortunately.

Visitor from the Grave is one of the poorer Hammer House of Horror episodes with a bad script & a bad central premise, I don't know what else to tell you really other than there are better episodes out there to watch instead of this.
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Weak and hackneyed entry in the 'Hammer House of Horror' TV series.
Red-Barracuda8 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Visitor from the Grave is episode eleven in the 'Hammer House of Horror' TV series. A woman is attacked by a rapist in her home; she shoots him and believes him dead. Yet he reappears from beyond the grave to haunt her.

It has to be said that this is a very weak episode. Its plot-line is uninteresting and unoriginal. It's one that has been done far better in other famous films; I won't name any of them as doing so would be a pretty monumental spoiler in this case. It was directed by Peter Sasdy who contributed another couple of much better episodes in the series, The Thirteenth Reunion and Rude Awakening, the latter of which is one of the best entries of them all. Visitor from the Grave, on the other hand, is quite poor. The series seemed to peter out a bit and this episode is another of the weaker episodes that typified this.
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Déjà-vu from the Grave
Coventry18 December 2006
The eleventh installment in Hammer's House of Horror series sadly suffers from a severe lack of originality as well as an incoherent script that leaves open too much space for plot holes and unanswered questions. Director Peter Sasdy ("Nothing But the Night", "Taste the Blood of Dracula") creates some effective moments of pure tension and mystery, but you can too easily predict exactly which plot twists will happen and when. Recovering from a period in a mental institution, the American immigrant Penny stays at a remote country cottage belonging to her English husband Harry. One night, when Harry is away for business, a guy who claims to be her husband's former partner breaks into the house and even assaults Penny. She shoots him, but when Harry comes home he's reluctant to go to the police and prefers to bury the body in the woods instead. Soon after Penny suffers from nightmarish visions in which she sees the victim appearing before her and even with the help of a professional supernatural medium she can't exorcise the restless spirit. The story doesn't make too much sense right from the beginning. Penny's husband reacts exaggeratedly peculiar and his reasons to keep the police out of the affair are suspicious. Also, what bothered me most about the whole tale; Penny's mental issues from the past are never clarified. She keeps saying she doesn't want to go back to the institution, but we never get to know why she was committed in the first place. In case you're familiar with convoluted crime thrillers, you'll be able to guess the denouement (including the final twist) rather quickly. Acting performances, choice of filming locations and editing are all pretty mediocre.
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Hammer House Of Horror: Visitor From The Grave (Peter Sasdy, 1980) (TV) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI29 October 2007
Again, a number of Hammer veterans were involved in this episode – namely director Sasdy (TASTE THE BLOOD OF Dracula [1970], HANDS OF THE RIPPER [1971]) and writer John Elder (a pseudonym for Anthony Hinds); however, the plot is totally predictable – down to the unoriginal 'revelation' (even if it does work in a final ironic twist)! Even worse are the histrionic performances of the heroine (recovering from a spell in an insane asylum), a female fortune teller she consults (after she keeps seeing a man killed by her in self-defense) and the Swami (hilariously named Gupta Krishna!) to whom the latter refers the leading lady. The hero, then, is played by future "Manimal" Simon MacCorkindale. In the end, it's all harmless enough – but also one of the lesser episodes in this entertaining horror series.
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Lackluster episode
Woodyanders7 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The mentally unbalanced Penny (Kathryn Leigh Scott, who lays on the hysteria a bit too thick) kills a would-be rapist who was a business rival of her husband Harry (a solid performance by Simon MacCorkindale). The couple decide to dispose of the body only for Penny to start having scary visions of the deceased man.

While director Peter Sasdy keeps the trite story moving along at a decent pace, he nonetheless crucially fails to generate any essential tension or spooky atmosphere; in their place Sasdy instead resorts to gore and wonky camera angles as the plot limps along to an obvious and predictable twist that one can see coming from a mile away before concluding things with a ludicrously tacked-on supernatural coda. Scott's annoying overacting in the lead doesn't help matters any. Fortunately, MacCorkindale does well as the protective husband, Gareth Thomas contributes a solid turn as a pesky police officer, and Mia Nedasi really sinks her teeth into her juicy role of boisterous medium Margaret. But overall this particular episode sizes up as pretty weak tea.
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Bad Hammer Time
one-nine-eighty29 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Oh boy, this instalment of Hammers TV series is both good and bad at different times, unfortunately moreso the latter. Directed by Peter Sasdy and written by Anthony Hinds this is one of my least favourite of the Hammer series despite ticking a lot of boxes as a true Hammer production.

It's late, it's dark and Penny (Kathryn Leigh Scott) is alone, her husband Harry (Simon MacCorkindale) is away; all of a sudden she hears menacing banging on the front door. She checks out the sound only to refuse entry to the menacing knocker, who decides it's best to break in all the same. Apparently the knocker is called Charles Willoughby (Stanley Lebor) and Penny's husband owes him money, in order to get what he is owed he takes it upon himself to attempt to rape Penny. Defending herself she manages to shoot the potential rapist. The next day Harry is back and after hearing Penny's story the follow the trail of blood to where the potential rapist has dies - despite being shot he has managed to get a fair distance away from the house. Harry thinks it's best to bury the body in the woods and hide any evidence after all Penny is an ex-mental patient and could be institutionalised once again while Harry would end up in prison. The next day a policeman (later known as Richard) turns up and asks questions about Charles's disappearance, can Penny hold her nerve? The rest of the film sees Penny see visions of the dead-man in all sorts of random places. One night at Margaret's (Mia Nadasi) party she confesses her visions to the host and soon enough agrees to a séance run by Swami Gupta to see if she is being haunted. At the séance the ghost of Charles turns up demanding vengeance. Haunted and troubled Penny shoots herself in the head. In another room Harry, Charles, Margaret and Richard (Gareth "Blake 7" Thomas) toast to their success, the plan all along was to get rich of the insurance money albeit Penny is dead rather than insane. Before closing to the credits Penny's ghost appears, the money bursts into flames and Penny roars "I will be revenged!"

I don't feel bad writing spoilers in this review as it the plot was so bloody obvious from the start, it was all a set up. The cast all did their parts quite well but I think the script and set up for this weren't that strong in the first instance and that affected the feel of the episode. Rather than feeling claustrophobic or panicked this was slow and dragged a bit. The biggest let down and possibly where all the budget went is on the vision of Charles which appears at the séance, it was really cheap even for 1980 - even before this episode was released Hammer had performed this trick much better.

Thankfully I watched this episode via the box set and it was a quiet Sunday so I'll still award 5 stars but I think at 5 stars this gets off a bit lucky.
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Ghosts of better films haunt the viewer of this bottom-of-the-barrel episode
J. Spurlin24 December 2006
A nervous woman (Kathryn Leigh Scott) who was once committed to an asylum is nearly raped by an intruder (Stanley Lebor) before she shoots him in the eye with a shotgun. Her husband (Simon MacCorkindale) insists on burying the corpse in the woods surrounding their home; but is the man really dead? Or is the ghost that keeps reappearing a figment of her crazed imagination?

Peter Sasdy badly directs a putrid screenplay by Anthony Hinds that rehashes movies like "Gaslight" and "Les Diaboliques" in a way duller and more implausible than you might have imagined possible. The surprise at the end is so predictable that the only mystery is whether or not the writer was actually trying to conceal it. Sasdy gives us several gory close-ups of the corpse, including one where maggots are crawling in its eye-socket; and he has his actors ham it up as if they're playing in a parody of some kind. Did he despair of making anything but garbage from this script and decide to turn it all into a joke? The joke is on the viewer.
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