4 user 1 critic

Black Carrion 

Two journalists search for a rock band that was popular 20 years ago but just seemed to have vanished and was never heard from again. Their investigation leads them to discover more about the band than they bargained for.


John Hough


Don Houghton




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Season Hubley ... Cora Berlaine
Leigh Lawson ... Paul Taylor
Norman Bird ... Henry Bircher
Allan Love Allan Love ... Ray Verne
Diana King Diana King ... Madge Bircher
Julian Littman Julian Littman ... Ron Verne
William Hootkins ... Lou Delmart
Christopher Ellison ... Sergeant Drury
Oscar Quitak Oscar Quitak ... Estate Manager
Daphne Goddard Daphne Goddard ... Miss Elsie Barrett
Robert Morgan Robert Morgan ... Mate
Forbes Collins Forbes Collins ... Landlord
John Patrick John Patrick ... Police Sergeant Wilson
Linda Hayden ... Ellen Jarvis
Peter Polycarpou ... Driver, Charlie


A world-weary freelance author in need of work and a young female consultant, who's an expert on the history of 60s music, are hired by an avid record producer, who plans to make a nice buck by re-releasing the albums of an extremely popular 60s rock duo consisting of two wild brothers that simply disappeared from the scene in 1963 without an explanation, and write a "Where are they now" piece on them to promote the re-release. The pair discovers that the last gig the duo ever played was in a small, remote, ghostly village that's not on any recent map. As they approach the village, the woman's repressed memories of a traumatic event from her childhood begin to emerge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Did You Know?


Two rock and roll brothers (The Verne Brothers) who are seen playing guitars and singing are actually two of the actors, Allan Love and Julian Littman who wrote the songs the Verne Brothers are singing. See more »


References Brigadoon (1954) See more »


Shakin' All Over
Written by Johnny Kidd
See more »

User Reviews

20 February 2010 | by manchester_england2004See all my reviews

First, let me say that the other reviewer - Paul English - should not be taken seriously. This is a long way from being "strangely compelling". And comparisons to THE WICKER MAN are an insult to the producers of that movie, which was far better than this tedious waste of celluloid.

BLACK CARRION is one of the worst episodes - if not the worst episode - of the HAMMER HOUSE OF MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE series.

The TV series in question was a combination of hits and misses. Some episodes had wonderful concepts but became bogged down in very boring 1980s drama styles, with upper middle-class characters exchanging boring dialogue with each other. Most 1980s drama in Britain was executed along these lines. On the other hand, some episodes of this TV series were genuine exercises in suspense, tension and genuine horror. Sadly, BLACK CARRION is an example of the former. Examples of the latter include IN POSSESSION (by far the best), THE CORVINI INHERITANCE and A DISTANT SCREAM.

The plot is as follows - a man searches for a rock band that was popular 20 years earlier. His investigations lead him to a strange village.

The abstract concept is actually good but there is little else here that is worth mentioning.

The plot quickly becomes bogged down in a mire of confusion and boredom. And the ending was particularly ridiculous.

The actors do well with what they are given although their talents are wasted.

Season Hubley looks gorgeous in one of the two main roles. However, she is given nothing worthy of note to do.

Leigh Lawson's character came across as incredibly bland and a long way from those of David Carradine, David McCallum and Christopher Cazenove in other episodes of the series. However, the blame should not fall on Mr. Lawson but instead on the writers of this atrocity.

Supporting actors are also wasted, particularly William Hootkins, an actor who usually played comic roles even in straight movies. He could have brought some humour to this but instead he was given if I remember correctly, one scene at the beginning. And he was forced to play the role straight!

The incredible irony of the whole exercise is that John Hough - director of this nonsense - actually directed one of the best episodes of the series - A DISTANT SCREAM. He also directed the horrific masterpiece, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE more than a decade earlier. Where BLACK CARRION is concerned, I scratch my head wondering how Mr. Hough could have got this one so completely off the mark.

The direction is incredibly flat and uninspired. There is no suspense here. And the only mystery is how this garbage was given the green light in the first place. All I can assume is that Mr. Hough realised he was assigned to a second or more accurately third-rate production and as such his hands were tied from the beginning by the producers.

Overall, I recommend everyone who has not seen this work of celluloid torture to steer well clear. Instead, I advise everyone to watch A DISTANT SCREAM, an episode of the TV series where Mr. Hough directs on top form.

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Release Date:

12 November 1984 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (some scenes)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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