CHARLIE BOY / THE THIRTEENTH REUNION (1980)
Article 4404 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Robert Young and Peter Sasdy
Featuring Leigh Lawson, Angela Bruce, Marius Goring, Julia Foster, Dinah Sheridan, Richard Pearson
What it is: Two episodes of “Hammer House of Horror”
Two stories are told. In the first, a couple comes upon a fetish doll that can be used to cause the death of others. In the second, a woman reporter is assigned to do an expose on a questionable weight loss group, but uncovers a macabre plot.
This isn’t the first time I’ve covered two episodes of “Hammer House of Horror” for this series; the John Stanley guide lists a handful of them that were apparently released as VHS cassettes, though I don’t know if they were strictly edited together to make a movie. For my purposes, I just watched the two episodes in question back to back to try to recapture the experience.
The previous two episodes I saw were apparently some of the weakest ones from the series, based on the ratings at IMDB. These two are of average quality for the series, and they both have their good points as well as their weaknesses. The first one works a little too hard on contriving its central situation, but it does have a nifty final twist. The second one has a set-up which is at the very least, very unusual, and the mystery kept my attention for the first half of the episode. However, once the mystery turned to the question as to what is being done with the dead bodies, I was able to hit upon the answer long before the episode was ready to reveal it, and waiting for the other shoe to drop proved to be a bit of bore; it also doesn’t help that the very final twist in the story is one of those that is hard to care about. Still, I’ll probably end up covering a few more of these before it’s all over, so until then, I won’t make an overall assessment of the series.