Itís pretty rare for Doctor Who to deal with Black
Magic or the occult, yet it was so ubiquitous in 70ís horror and sci-fi
that the trope sponge that was classic Doctor Who was bound to soak it
up at some stage.
The Doctor and Jo head to a little village of Devilís
End where an archeologist is opening a Bronze Age burial mound known as
Devilís Hump (I can hear you sniggering up the back you know). After a
mysterious murder (actually itís really mysterious since in the story
itís never explained); they encounter the local White Witch Mrs Hawthorn
who is deadest against the calling up of dark arts but the Doctor
assures us that there is no such thing. Meanwhile in a really subversive
move it turns out that the local Vicar is in fact the Master who has to
have something to do with his spare time. It turns out what he does with
his spare time is study Black Magic so he can call down spirits, make
statues come alive and summon up the Devil. The Doctor keeps assuring us
that itís just science; taking the whole ďany sufficiently advanced
technology is indistinguishable from MagicĒ thing about as far as it
will go. When the barrow is opened there is a tremendous explosion that
freezes everything. When the boys at UNIT see this they rush down to
Devilís End except the Brigadier who is out for a ďNight at the Opera,Ē
which I choose to believe is code for him attending a Queen concert.
When the Village is encased in a force field and people start being
murdered things look desperate. Donít worry, Iím sure the Doctor will
think of something, once heís been unfrozen.
The Daemons is a cast and fan favorite, and with good
reason. A solid sci-fi story combined with a classic English Village
setting, the Dark arts and the Master. What more do you want?
Video: Ok, this has been through the ringer make no
mistake. There were no surviving copies of the Daemons in color except
for episode 3 and what there was, was a black and white film copy that
had been copied overseas and a color beatamax version that had been
videotaped in the late 70ís. To get the color master we have today these
were combined back in the 90ís for the video version. Great! Imagine
what we could do now with our advanced technology! Well youíll have to
keep on imagining because this looks like it hasnít been touched. It
looks terrible. What might have been passable on a CRT off video in the
90ís now looks so blocky I had to be sure that I wasnít watching the
Lego version. And thatís with a really good up scaling Blu-ray player.
A real shame that there wasnít more done to it as this is a really well
respected story. Look at all the love that was poured into ďTomb of the
CybermenĒ and deservedly so, and how well that turned out, but why
doesnít this get the love?
Audio: Audio is fine a little grainy at times but
Special Features: The Devil Rides Out.
Surviving cast and crew talk about the making of this story.
Remembering Barry Letts. A comprehensive look at the life and
work of the late Barry Letts, with a particularly moving tribute from
Location Film. A silent look at the location filming done for
Colourisation Test. The original colourisation test version of
episode 1 from 1992.
Tomorrowís World. A segment from an episode about the restoration
of this episode from 1992.
Where is Return to Devils End the documentary that accompanied
the VHS release?