Blind Terror: The Gods of Frost – A TERRIFYINGLY GOOD HORROR ADVENTURE!
Continuing the new Big Finish ‘Original’s’ range of audio dramas comes Blind Terror: Gods of Frost. Starring Eve Myles, written by Guy Adams and directed by Scott Handcock, the trio give us a tremendous trip into dark gothic horror. With Halloween upon us, draw the curtains, turn the lights low and enjoy this gripping horror story from Big Finish.
Arriving at Hodder Hall, Kathryn Ellis is looking forward to being the new house-keeper. But Kathryn Ellis is steel reeling from a recent tragedy and Hodder Hall has a way of making those horrors come alive. Ghosts stalk the halls of Hodder Hall and Kathryn Ellis soon finds out that the Gods of Frost are coming.
Written by Guy Adams.
Penning all six half hour episodes, Guy Adams has crafted an excellent and truly horrifying story. ‘Soul Cake‘ has the task of setting things up, introducing us to the characters and themes that will take listeners on a journey over the course of three hours. However, Adams still manages to deliver some horrifying moments in the opening instalment. Normally, with a pilot episode, things take some time to get started but not here. Things ramp up pretty quickly and his central character, Kathryn Ellis, feels frighteningly real.
‘They’re Coming‘ and ‘Hodder’s Folly‘ continue to provide a sense of creeping unease with snow-storms and an exploration of guest characters you aren’t sure you can trust before things to come a dramatic conclusion. ‘The Lord of Misrule‘ is just a superb thirty-minutes. It is so dark and tense, setting the stage for the final two episodes with a shocking revelation. ‘Hide and Seek‘ and ‘Solstice‘ have got to be two of the finest episodes of anything to come from Big Finish. Guy Adams outdoes his own exceptionally high standards with two of his finest scripts ever. Both episodes ramp up the tension still further demonstrating how horror fiction excels when at its best.
Adams utilises traditional horror tropes, a Victorian setting, the large and isolated house, some bad weather and ancient secrets, but twists them into something brand new. So many times we’ve had stories which feature these elements but nothing new is done with them. Not here. They feel fresh, their new life allowing for some properly scary and engrossing moments to shine through.
The world that Adams has created here is glorious. Twisted and dark but thoroughly entertaining. His characters feel incredibly real and help to ground some of the more ‘out-there’ moments. There are some brilliant twists and turns to keep the listener guessing. The moment the listener feels sure they know what is going to happen, Adams pulls the rug out from under them. He really seems to be the lord of misrule!
Starring Eve Myles as Kathryn Ellis.
Leading the tremendous cast is Eve Myles, a lady who has a had a lot of deserved success recently. Famous in ‘Doctor Who’ circles for Gwen Cooper, Myles has recently received plaudits for her role in ‘Keeping Faith’. Here, in a very different role, she is a real tour-de-force. As leading lady, Kathryn Ellis, Myles commands the role from the opening scene. She is a no-nonsense woman, who is a trying to move on from a tragedy in her past.
An instant chemistry with the guest cast is established with Myles bouncing off the other characters. Her performance quickly makes it clear that Kathryn isn’t sure who she can trust. As the secrets unravel, you realise all the mistakes Kathryn has made. That flawed vulnerability makes these characters feel all the more realistic. They all make mistakes somewhere along the line but how they deal with them only adds to the horrors unfolding around them.
Myles thrives with the variations required in her performance. She is stern when she needs to be. Funny and light when the time requires. There are some nice reflective moments which require her to deliver a quieter performance. Then she really pulls out all possible stops in the final two episodes. ‘Hide and Seek‘ and ‘Solstice‘ see Kathryn learning many hard truths, with Myles stepping up to the bat and knocking it out of the park. The material tests her skills but Myles delivers a simply pitch perfect performance. To say anything more about her performance threatens to ruin the story. You really do have to listen to it! Myles is a shining star at the top of her game and Blind Terror demonstrates what a talent she truly is.
Directed and Produced by Scott Handcock.
Rounding out the creative trio behind this tale is director Scott Handcock who has also done a terrific job. Handcock has always been a welcome presence within the walls of Big Finish but his recent work has been stellar. That trend continues once again with Blind Terror. Handcock has assembled a strong guest cast who take the the characters on paper and make them feel like real people. As director he also has a great handle on the story, knowing how to pace the events just right. Even the best audio dramas can occasionally sag in the middle as exposition slows the action down but that isn’t so here.
Handcock makes sure that things are kept moving at a tremendous pace. The story rattles along, never rushing to the conclusion but cruising. In a story like this skilful pacing elevates the experience, making it a real treat for the listener. With sound design from Rob Harvey, the world that he and Handcock create is completely immersive. Whether it is the sound of a ticking clock, footsteps or creaky doors, everything sounds like the real world with a musical score that doesn’t interrupt the action but adds to it, allowing the listener to become even more engrossed.
The Guest Cast
A final word also for the work of the excellent guest cast. Joseph Tweedale and Bethan Rose Young are great as the brother and sister of the house, Issac and Clarissa Hodder. Isaac is a sympathetic character, haunted by what is happening around him, which Tweedale latches on to and runs with brilliantly. Bethan Rose Young’s character is the complete opposite. Clarissa is at one point described as ‘prone to flights of fantasy’. That line doesn’t do her character justice, but you’ll have to listen to find out what part she has to play in the drama with the actress doing a brilliant job.
Kerry Joy Stewart, Bradley Freegard and Kezrena James play the different members of the household staff. Stewart plays the cook, Dolores Cutler, a woman who knows more about the house’s past than she lets on. Freegard plays Benjamin, the gardener, a man who, like Kathryn, is haunted by his past. In the role of Gloria the maid Kezrena James gets the spotlight in one of the story’s most twisted and macabre moments. All three do a fantastic job and add a sense of real unease to the proceedings.
Gareth Jewell is on hand to help Kathryn as Daniel Ellis, a character who again you’ll need to listen out for to appreciate his role. Meanwhile John Cording delights in haunting the hell out of the household with one of the funniest lines in the whole piece. Finally, Laura Dalgleish and Richard Elfyn who, while only in small roles, give it their all and round out the fantastic guest cast which Scott Handcock has assembled.
Everything about Blind Terror: The Gods of Frost is a triumph. Strong writing, performances, direction and sound design. Everything about this story demands to be listened to and it will surely stand out as one of the strongest pieces of horror ever to grace the audio format.
Gothic horror has always been better at delivering scares than pieces that make you jump, they always feel hollow. Adams, Myles and Handcock understand that, to make you like characters, to make you truly fearful, they can’t just be hollow cut-outs of horror-cliches. They have to be real and that is what this story does wonderfully. It feels very real, making the horror all the more gripping and disturbing.
Ideal listening material this Halloween!
Following the death of her husband, Kathryn Ellis becomes the new housekeeper at Hodder Hall, keen to embark on a bright new future… only, her past won’t let her go just yet, and the ghosts that stalk the village threaten to cut her future short.
Eve Myles stars in this original gothic horror from the pen of Guy Adams, comprising six half-hour episodes, produced by the team behind The Confessions of Dorian Gray.
1: Soul Cake.
2: They’re Coming.
3: Hodder’s Folly.
4: The Lord of Misrule.
5: Hide and Seek.
PLEASE NOTE: Blind Terror contains adult material and is not suitable for younger listeners.
Written By: Guy Adams.
Directed By: Scott Handcock.
Eve Myles (Kathryn Ellis), Joseph Tweedale (Isaac Hodder), Bethan Rose Young (Clarissa Hodder), Kerry Joy Stewart (Dolores Cutler), Bradley Freegard (Benjamin), Kezrena James (Gloria), Gareth Jewell (Daniel Ellis), John Cording (Lemuel Hodder), Laura Dalgleish (Pam), Richard Elfyn (Clive) and Guy Adams (Roddy). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer Scott Handcock.
Script Editor James Goss.
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.