'Doctor Who: The Daemons'
(Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, John Levene, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / (1971) 2012 / BBC Video)
Overview: In the peaceful village of Devil's End something very strange is happening. A professor is preparing to open a nearby burial mound, and a local white witch foresees death and disaster. Meanwhile, the new vicar looks suspiciously like the Master, and he is using black magic to conjure up an ancient Daemon. Can the Doctor, Jo and UNIT stop their old enemy before he succeeds?
DVD Verdict: A dark power is stirring beneath the sleepy little village of Devil's End as Professor Horner, a noted archaeologist, prepares to excavate an ancient tomb and all in front of an eager television audience. Now enters Ms. Hawthorne, a local white witch, who urgently warns the professor and the BBC crew that if they enter the tomb they'll unleash a terrible danger. Ignored and ridiculed she runs to the local church to enlist the aid of the vicar but he also is unwilling to listen and we know why... because it's really the master in disguise (the wicked hypocrite) and he's apparently in league with Lucifer!
Ever watch a horror movie and find yourself wishing that a really awesome hero would step in and take on the baddies? Well get prepared to have your fantasies fulfilled because this prince of darkness is gonna have to face the lord of time, or one of them anyway, and the third Doctor doesn't mess around. Although he's not invulnerable, neither is he afraid to go toe-to-toe with such horrific enemies and incredible odds, armed with only his intellect, and maybe a little Venusian karate.
The UNIT family is also at its prime in this episode with some hilarious quips from the stiff-upper-lip Lethbridge Stewart, Kung-Fu action Sgt Benton, a starsky-and-hutchesque Captain Yates and a rare scolding of Jo by the Doc for disrespecting the brig. Also, Roger Delgado reaffirms that he truly was one of the 70's most menacing villains, making Christopher Lee's Dracula look like a femme and Damien from The Omen seem like a choirboy.
I usually never mention bonus materials on DVD's but the Dr. Who variety are usually pretty exceptional and rarely ever gratuitous (at least the Pertwe years anyway). The memorial biography on Barry Letts was a very moving tribute to this exceptionally gifted producer, director, writer and actor. Also there's a very fascinating documentary regarding the restoration of this particular episode (thank goodness us Americans were video-taping) as well as a very lengthy, but excellent "making of" doc with a ton of appearances by actors, writers, special FX peeps etc.
'Dr. Who: The Daemons' has action, wonderful characters and is more than a little creepy; so If you are a third Dr fan you absolutely must possess this episode, or if a fan in general it easily ranks among the top thirty classic Who's of all time. [TW] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary Track with actors Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, Damaris Hayman and director Christopher Barry.
“The Devil Rides Out” Making-of Documentary featuring Manning, Franklin, Hayman, Barry, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrence Dicks and assistant floor manager Sue Hedden
“Remembering Barry Letts” Featurette
“Location Film” - a short 8mm home movie shot during the filming
“1992 Colorization Test” - the complete first episode as it originally looked when color was first reinstated to it
“Tomorrow’s World” Featurette