It’s Halloween, and we all need some creepy, scary and horrific to watch. Be it a film or TV series we are well catered for as a Halloween audience. With so much choice out there how do you narrow it down? One way to achieve this would be to look to the writers of our favourite show, Doctor Who, and see what creepy offerings they have scribed outside of the show. For your ease here is a Top 10 of scary stuff on our screens from Who writers.
Mama – Neil Cross wrote The rings of Akhaten and Hide for Doctor Who. Hide especially was a scary episode, and it’s this direction that the Guillermo Del Toro produced featured film takes. It stars Jessica Chastain and is directed by Andy Muschietti who is currently working on Part 2 of the IT film after the stupendous success of the first one. It’s a supernatural chiller featuring scary children and a gothic house and is worth seeking out.
Into the Labyrinth – Being Doctor Who fans we know that kids TV can be really scary. Yes, Doctor Who is a family show which manages it, but Sarah Jane adventures managed some good scares, and kids TV in the past knew how to scare. Bob Baker wrote 15 episodes of the show over 3 series which features evil witches, mysterious sorcerers and is perfect for the family at Halloween.
King of the Castle – Bob Baker certainly knew how to write TV aimed at kids that is really eerie and full of horror and images that linger in the mind. King of the Castle takes place within a tower block, where Roland escapes his strained existence at home and being preyed upon by bullies into a surreal world which is even scarier. Everyone in the other world is a hideous double of their real-world counterpart, and there are some genuinely disturbing moments throughout this.
Chimera – Stephen Gallagher penned Terminus and Warrior’s Gate for the 5th Doctor. He has also written some great horror novels, and one of his first Chimera was adapted into a four part mini-series. Each episode builds and the series is full of shocks and reveals. At its heart is a sympathetic monster, and a great story to keep you bolted to your seat for all four parts.
Century Falls – Before Doctor Who, Russell T Davies wrote two series aimed at a kids audience. Century Falls was the more horror tinged of the two, featuring a demon that the town of Century Falls wants to summon. A definite precursor to the more horror moments of his time as Doctor Who show-runner and there were plenty of them amidst the adventure storytelling.
Severance – James Moran wrote The Fires of Pompeii for Series 4 of Doctor Who, outside of Who at the time he was known for this great horror comedy Severance. Since then he has also penned the horror films, Cockney VS Zombies and Tower Block, but Severance is the one I’d go for as a good, fun Halloween watch.
Tractate Middoth – Mark Gatiss resurrected the traditional M.R. James ghost story for Christmas with his terrifying adaptation of the Tractate Middoth. Mining terror from the secrets contained within old books, lingering images of dust end up terrifying you in this atmospheric story, perfectly judged by Gatiss to fit in with the tone of the old BBC adaptations, although nothing will ever beat the original adaptation of Whistle, and I’ll come to you or Lost Hearts.
Chiller – I’m a huge fan of horror anthologies, there seem to be some really successful ones now, as there were during the 60’s and 70’s, but between that where there? Well yes, there was Chiller in 1995. It got bumped around the schedules when released, but seek out the episodes Prophecy and Here comes the Mirror Man by Who writer Stephen Gallagher.
Crooked House – Another Gatiss attempt to resurrect the traditional ghost story this horror trilogy focuses on the titular house in three different periods, telling three disturbing and scary stories. It climaxes with it’s scariest The Knocker which takes place in the present day. You’re going to have to be made of strong stuff to watch this.
Jekyll – I’m sure it was Steven Moffat, in one of his Doctor Who series episode guides, mentioned that there is always an element of Hammer horror present in Doctor Who. He was often cited as the writer of the scary ones. But, the only time he has ventured into writing a horror series was when he adapted Jekyll for Saturday night prime time BBC with James Nesbitt chewing the scenery in the title role. It has some great ideas and scary moments and is definitely worth a revisit for Halloween.
There is more horror on the way from Doctor Who writers as Gatiss and Moffat have teamed up again to create their version of Dracula. Stay tuned to Blogtor Who for more information regarding that when we hear it.