(1970s Horror Series)

Starring: Various
Granada Ventures
RRP: 24.99

Certificate: 15
Available 20 September 2004

With its eclectic mix of mystery, suspense and the supernatural, Thriller regularly enthralled Saturday night television audiences when it originally broadcast between 1973 and 1976...

Thriller is an early 1970s anthology series of hour-long suspense tales. This set of four DVDs contain a total of ten stories from the first series. The concept was created by Brian Clemens, who was well-known around this time for TV scriptwriting, his credits including The Avengers. Here he writes the majority of the material and supplies ideas for those few scripted by others.

This is very much a product of its time with very formal dialogue and a static upper-middle to higher class structure. There are plenty of giant country houses or rich city businessmen. Pretty much any working class character is a menial serving his or her 'betters'. However, it is rather refreshing at times to see problems combated in a gentlemanly manner, with no unnecessary violence or cursing. It reminds you of the old Raffles series and makes you wonder if the world was ever that civilised.

There is a veritable plethora of recognisable names and faces dotted throughout the series; among them, Robert Powell, T.P. McKenna, Dennis Waterman, Peter Vaughan, John Le Mesurier, Linda Thorson, Dinsdale Landen and Maureen Lipman. Thriller is not as bad as you might expect, but by today's standards it is long and drawn-out. These average stand-alone episodes range from the mildly enticing to the plainly awful. Although there are supernatural elements to some of the stories they are kept to a bare minimum.

Lady Killer has a con man worm his way into the affections of a lonely American woman and marry her in an attempt to claim the life insurance of his first wife. Possession has a couple move into a country house and soon discover the body of the previous owner under the cellar floor boards. Someone at the Top of the Stairs is a variation on The Picture of Dorian Gray scenario (and is "Marvellous!" which is a bad in-joke). Other stories include, An Echo of Theresa, The Colour of Blood, Murder in Mind, A Place to Die, File it Under Fear, The Eyes Have It, and Spell of Evil.

One more thing: why have the 'going to adverts' titles been left in? Surely they could easily have been edited out...

Ty Power

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