Autumn of Terror

After months of inertia, a new edition of The Shadowcast just in time for Project Fear, our own podcast in which this time Fiona and I discuss some filmic representations of Jack the Ripper.

Under the knife: three versions of THE LODGER, two TV miniseries, one Jess Franco abomination, FROM HELL’s appalling DVD extras, the investigations of Sherlock Holmes and HG Wells. Didn’t have room to delve into PANDORA’S BOX and WAXWORKS, alas, and there’s a tantalizing reference to a copycat killing in the wake of 1988’s centenary Michael Caine show which we fail to follow up on. And the tone veers from tragic horror to blimey-guvnor-strike-a-light whimsy.

Other than that, I believe you’ll find everything in order.


5 Responses to “Autumn of Terror”

  1. Tony Williams Says:

    How coincidental! I’m running Harlan Ellison’s CIMARRON STRIP teleplay in my Fantasy class tomorrow, “Knife in the Darkness” with Bernard Herrmann score under the title – “The Ripper Goes West.” It follows DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER YDE and TIME AFTER TIME (1979). David’s “Ripping Yarn”! What, oh!

  2. I recall Ellison was (typically) scathing about the filming of that one: they ignored all his camera directions (action reflected in an owl’s eye) and filmed the murders with closeups of feet, was his complaint.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    As with THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, his version would have been better. But is it not an exim that any writer should not put camera directions in the screenplay but leave it to the director unless s/he is also directing? The episode does have other virtues.

  4. Great job! A minor correction, though. While Murder by Decree director Bob Clark apparently did for a time live in Canada, he was from the US and maintained his US citizenship. I actually met a relative of his once. (Not that there’s actually much to that story.)

  5. Thanks, Chuck! I had a near-encounter myself: a producer randomly got in touch who claimed a connection to Clark, and a day later Clark was killed in a car accident AND I received a rental disk of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things. Spooky. The movie the producer was pursuing on my behalf proved to be a dead thing too.

    Ellison always said that he didn’t think a screenwriter was doing his job if he didn’t visualise what the audience will see. But the industry disagrees with him on that point. What’s certainly ridiculous is a filmmaker ignoring the scripted camera angles in order to shoot the scene in a less interesting or effective way, which was Ellison’s complaint. Since the director gets all the credit anyway, take any idea you can get!

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