Doctor Who - Mannequin Mania DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 6.0
Audio 6.5
Special Features 8.0
Total 7.5
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 315 Minutes
Classification: PG
Reviewer:
Andrew Proverbs

7.5


Doctor Who - Mannequin Mania

Sometimes its the lesser known baddies that really grab your attention in a show like Doctor Who. We all know and love the Daleks and the Cybermen, but what about the Autons? A race of zombie-like creatures, built by a mysterious alien intellect, who take the form of the most innocuous thing imaginable: the humble store mannequin.  

This Mannequin Mania double DVD contains the two early adventures featuring the Autons: Spearhead from Space and Terror of the Autons. Spearhead deserves special mention as the first story to introduce Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor, and will no doubt be valued as a collectors item by fans of the series.

But Terror shouldnt be overlooked either; in this iteration the Autons return in an even more sinister form, and the story also marks the landmark first appearance of Roger Delgado as the Doctors nemesis, the Master. 

In Spearhead, strange glowing balls from space begin to land all over the countryside. UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) local members are tasked with discovering the significance of these ominous alien artifacts, as well as capturing and interrogating the charming stranger who claims to be a new incarnation of the Doctor they know and respect. Things take a horrifying turn when the aliens commandeer the worlds supply of plastic, rendering store mannequins and telephone cords into killing machines. 

In Terror, the Autons strike again, this time aided by a renegade Time Lord, who plans to utilise them for his own sinister purposes.  

In terms of story-telling and overall entertainment value, the pick of the two four-part serials would have to be Spearhead. The writers at this point seem full of confidence and optimism, giving Pertwee and his fellow actors some sharp, witty dialogue and fantastic action scenes. Spearhead is a breath of fresh air for the fact that it was largely filmed on location and outdoors, ridding it of the stuffy atmosphere and cramped sets that are prevalent in so many of the earlier stories. It also has to be said that Spearhead looks and sounds fantastic on DVD; as Producer Derrick Sherwin comments in one of the Featurettes, it looks just as fresh as if it was filmed yesterday.  

Unfortunately, the same cant be said of Terror. While still an entertaining story, it is let down badly by the image quality. All of the outdoor scenes are very grainy in appearance, with a pronounced flaring effect around the edges of the screen. The indoor sequences have survived slightly better, but there is some persistent background noise that can be distracting. 

Special Features:

There are some great Featurettes included: Regenerations is an account of the buzz and the scepticism that accompanied televisions transition from black and white to colour, while Plastic Fantastic talks about the worlds newfound addiction to plastic that formed the inspiration for these episodes. 

Closing comments:

Whether you have a life-size replica of the TARDIS in your lounge room, or just a passing interest in B-grade science fiction and horror, this double dose of the Autons is well worth a look. Watch it and see: if the sight of Jon Pertwees eyes bulging as he is strangled by the tentacle of a giant alien monster doesnt make you a fan, nothing will.

 






 
 



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