Doctor Who: The Stones of Blood (parts three and four)

I always love it when our son is paying close enough attention to notice something that I didn’t. This time, he spotted that the prop hyperspace dematerialization thing on the tripod that they took on location was lacking the big yellow lever that the one they used in the studio had. What a good eye for detail. I always have to read about these things. He really enjoyed this one, I’m glad to say.

In part three of this story, there’s an incredibly effective scene where two campers wake up to find the huge sentient stones parked outside their tent. When the girl touches one, it starts glowing and killing them both, and the last we see of these two characters is her arm being drained away into nothing but bone.

Four people are killed in this story, and Susan Engel’s villain character, sentenced by “justice machines” from outer space to perpetual imprisonment as a stone in the circle, will never be seen again. At the end of the adventure, Professor Amelia Rumsford jokes that she certainly won’t write up all the events of this incident in a new monograph about the stone circle. There are probably some police who will investigate the grisly murders of Mr. De Vries, his acolyte, and the two campers, who have some questions that only she can answer, though!

I really like the justice machines, which are called Megara and are made by a simple special effect keyed onto the studio picture. “The Stones of Blood” has a negative reputation in some quarters for taking this really unexpected turn from a unique and creepy seventies folklore horror story about stone circles into another tale of BBC sci-fi corridor sets and flashing computer desk props. I think the serial could have been better had it continued investigating creepy sacrifices and mysteries on the moor, but the sci-fi stuff is still very amusing as the Doctor defends himself against the law-obsessed Megara. If you’re going to do the outer space / hyperspace stuff, at least make it witty, I say. To be fair, though, the notion that the Doctor carries around one of those powdered barrister wigs in his coat pocket just in case he runs across any hanging judges kind of crosses the boundary from witty over to self-parody!

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