Escape Into Night

SF elements: drawings becoming real

1972 / DVD

6 × 30 min episodes

[boulders watching]

Marianne is laid up in bed, recovering from falling off her horse. She is bored, so starts drawing with a strange pencil found in an old work basket. When she sleeps, she dreams of her drawings, adding in features her teacher has told her about another of her sick pupils, Mark. But then Marianne discovers the drawings seem to be mirroring reality, and she needs to convince Mark he needs to exercise to get better, and to escape. Escape from what? Well, the house she has drawn him in, surrounded by the menacing boulders she also drew in a fit of pique.

I remember this from when I saw it as a teenager. It certainly had an effect on me: those large rocks with eyes, those scribbled out windows. I wouldn’t exactly say I was traumatised by it, much, but I do certainly remember it. So here was an opportunity to see it again.

It has a certain atmosphere about it, being a black-and-white telerecording rather than the original colour version. I can’t even remember if I saw it in colour of black and white originally: we first got colour TV sometime around 1972, so it could have been either. My memory has faded to black and white, anyway.

Even with the atmosphere, the boulders are no longer scary (Weeping Angels have made us afraid of stone creatures in a very different way), and the kids seem a bit whiny and petulant. The scenes in the real world, with Marianne interacting the mother and the teacher, are a bit tedious, but the dream house is very spooky, what with the clanging clock, and the echoing bare boards. And Mark having to put up with whatever Marianne chooses to draw for him to eat and read is mildly amusing.

The ending is a bit abrupt (and different from the book on which it is based), and I still don’t understand why they needed bikes to escape from slowly moving boulders. However, this has stood the test of time better than some shows from the same era (unless that’s just the trauma talking).

Rating: 3.5
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 17 October 2020