Guardian of the Abyss
‘Hammer House of Horror’ Episode 10, broadcast 15 November 1980.
An enjoyable episode of this short-lived, better-than-average revamp of the Hammer franchise, whose stories tended to be considerably darker than your average Brit-horror of the period and usually featured supernatural or magickal themes. It was also aided by Roger Webb’s fantastic title music that’s like Crossroads on bad magic.
Written by David Fisher (who penned Dr Who classics including Stones of Blood and City of Death) this one merges Dennis Wheatley black magic tropes – a powerful occult order, The Choronzon Society, operating from a posh country pile (cf Kill List), headed by a cruel, wealthy svengali with hypnotic powers – with decent historical research. The plot draws upon occult dynamic duos John Dee & Edward Kelley and Aleister Crowley & Victor Neuberg and ends up colliding The Devil Rides Out with The Wicker Man. Throw in Paul Darrow (the sinister Avon from Blake’s 7) as a (yes, sinister) antiques dealer, some good creature effects and ritual sequences, and you’ve got a recipe for cackling evil goodness.
And look, here’s a photo of the shooting script!!
If you enjoy this then do consider buying the very reasonably priced box set.