Reviewed By: Drew Vogel
Review Date: 9/1/17 3:33 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
This is another story that has only grown on me over the years. I find that's true of quite a lot of Big Finish stories. I don't know why that should be. The downside is that it always feels like Big Finish isn't as good as it used to be, because the newer stories haven't had a chance to grow on me yet.
If I'm not mistaken, I think this story was originally written for television, making this a sort of "Lost Story" long before Big Finish started releasing unproduced television scripts under that banner. I can't help wondering what this story would have been like on television. For one thing, it wouldn't have had Hex (which would have been a shame, as the Ace/Hex relationship is especially well done here). But it's also a rather gruesome story, which I think works better in audio.
It's also a very atmospheric story, and it's often cited as one of the most frightening stories Big Finish has ever produced. I'm not a particular fan of horror, so a frightening story isn't a particular draw for me, but this story deserves its reputation. It's very atmospheric, very creepy, and it creates a wonderful sense of the macabre. The story gets pretty grim in places, but it's never gratuitous, and it doesn't infulge in cheap, shock tactics.
The cast is very strong, especially Bernard Kay as Major Dickens, who gives an outstanding performance. Bernard Kay has always been one of my favorite classic series guest starts, and I couldn't wish for a better role for him than this. Dickens is not a very sympathetic character, but neither is he a straightforward baddie, and that's what I like about him. He's easy to hate, because he's a genuinely disagreeable person, but his motives are at least defensible, at least in his own mind. He's the kind of villain who would be appalled to discover that he is a villain.
The story takes some very surprising turns, and there's one especially chilling cliffhanger. This is a great listen for one of those cold, lonely, rainy nights.