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Reviews for The Curse of Fenric

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The curse of the brilliant DVD

By:Xantos, London
Date:Sunday 12 September 2004
Rating:   10

Some people say that the "un"edited video version of TCOF is terrible, luckily for me i didn't have it!
Now when i buy a DVD (especially a Doctor Who one) i don't just look at the special features i look at the actual story/Film however in the case of TCOF i looked just at the special features (and Clayton Hickman's wonderful cover), reason being was that it had a remastered completely brand new "CGI" edition of TCOF included.
I thought this would be brilliant, well i thought right!
I can't stop watching it ever since i brought it and that was when it first came out, plonk a small child or large adult infront of this and they've got no excuse to not like it, it's the best(that's only my opinion please don't sue me)!
P.S Can the BBC please bring out more special editons!

best story ever

By:whites, sos, england
Date:Monday 8 May 2006
Rating:   10

Best story, Best Doctor, best companion. my opinion, My doctor. love it.


By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 23 May 2008
Rating:   9

Another underrated McCoy classic. A story that really benefits from being on DVD. The new full length version really does justice to the story & is the better version.

The Best Story Of The McCoy Era

By:Matthew Kresal, United Sates
Date:Sunday 7 September 2008
Rating:   10

There is a saying about going out on top. Sylvester McCoy (and indeed Doctor Who itself) found itself coming to an unexpected end in 1989 with some of the original series best stories. Of those the best of them would be The Curse Of Fenric. With this DVD release this classic story is seen not only in its original form but in an expanded "special edition" that presents the way it was originally intended. The result is a unique release of what I consider to be the second best Doctor Who story ever.

Any good production must have a god cast and this one has one of the best of the series. The performances start with the regulars: Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. McCoy gives his single best Doctor Who performance in this story as he strikes just the right balance between his more comedic Doctor of season 24 and the more serious Doctor of season 25 and earlier in season 26. Just look at the final episode (or the last half-hour of the special edition) to see McCoy at his best. Sophie Aldred also gives one of her best performances as Ace. This was the middle story of what has become known to fans as the "Ace Trilogy" (the other two stories being Ghost Light and Survival) due to their heavy focus on Ace and giving Aldred a chance to show off her skills as an actress. Aldred doesn't disappoint with a strong disappointment with a strong performance as the companion who discovers that her past is interlinked with the vents unfolding around her. Despite their excellent performances, McCoy and Aldred is just the tip of the cast.

There is also an excellent supporting cast as well. There's Dinsdale Landen as Dr. Judson, the crippled computer scientist who unleashes the title and effectively embodies it. Alfred Lynch gives an excellent performance the obsessive Commander Millington who grows more and more paranoid as the story unfolds. There are also excellent performances from Tomek Bork as Soviet Captain Sorin plus Joann Kenny and Joanne Belll as the two teenagers Jean and Phyllis. Even the smaller roles are filled with good actors and actress like Anne Reid (Nurse Crane), Steven Rimkus (Captain Bates), Janet Henfrey (Mrs. Hardaker) and Raymond Trickett (the Ancient One). The true highlight of the supporting cast is Nicholas Parsons as Reverend Wainwright. Parsons, who apparently is better known in the UK for his more comedic roles and game show hosting, gives one of the best performances of the McCoy era as the priest who lost his faith and pays for it. There is a wonderful scene in the church where he is giving a sermon to an empty church that illustrates this beautifully and gives Parsons his best moment in the story. All together they form one of the show's best casts.

The story also has some strong production values as well. From the outset we get a rather well-done recreation of a WWII era army camp complete with trappings of the era (including a well done 1940's computer). Then there's the Haemovore's: the vampire possible future evolution of humanity brought back to the past. The Haemovore's, especially the Ancient One, are amongst the best monsters ever designed for the show as they are incredibly spooky and convincing. Couple this with the underwater filming and excellent location work and the result is a story that proves that under the right conditions a low budget can be overcome.

Then there's the heart of it all: the script. This is a story with many threads and layers. It is a story about war and faith that explores the nature of evil plus the lengths one must go to fight it. On top of all that there is the obvious horror aspect in the form of the Haemovores. Ian Briggs also manages to tie together stories from the McCoy era (Silver Nemesis, Dragonfire) to explore the background and character of Ace. Above all, this story is a sort of chess game between the Doctor and is ancient enemy named here as Fenric in which all the other characters act as their pawns. This is a story where one must watch to get everything that is going on making this not only a action story but one of the show's most cerebral as well. It is because of its complexity that the "special edition" is worth watching.

The DVD is packed with special features including interviews, commentaries, making of stuff etc but the true star of this release: the "special edition" version of the story. This version is movie length with new scenes, CGI effects and a 5.1 soundtrack which makes it the superior of the two versions. This is not only because of the CGI effects and the excellent 5.1 soundtrack but because of the new scenes added to the story. The new scenes add a new depth to the story that expands on the backgrounds of some character sand the actions of others. This version also is helped by the regarding done the story which brings a new degree of atmosphere that the story was previously missing. The result is a classic story made all the better and this version of the story alone is worth the price of the DVD.

The Curse Of Fenric is Doctor Who at its finest or close to it. It is defiantly the best story of the McCoy era at any rate with its strong performances, good production values and a strong script. This DVD release, with the "special edition" version, is the definitive version of this classic Doctor Who adventure. Believe what you've heard: The Curse Of Fenric is excellent.

This is the scariest tale of the past...

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 6 November 2010
Rating:   10

There is a common and very flawed notion going around it seems in the annals of Whodom that Sylvester McCoy wasnt much of a Doctor. I can plainly state here that that notion is total twaddle. For me, his twelve stories in the lead role of the Doctor were totally unforgettably awesome, each in their own ways. And towards the conclusion of his stories, the tone got far more darker, with so much more mystery being wrapped around the character of the Doctor. And Sylv managed with consumate ease to bring back this mystery in buckets. His character was a lot harder to fathom than many of the previous Doctors, one neever quite knew how he would react to any one situation. And add to that the additional brilliance of Sophie Aldred as the supremely brilliant Ace, and youve got the perfect mix.

The Curse of Fenric has to be one of the deepest, and is certainly the scariest, story of the classic run of Doctor Who. It has so much packed into it, and the extra of the extended addition just makes it even heavier on impact. All the characters are so well acted too, Nicholas Parsons is excellent as the Vicar whose faith has all but been destroyed by the war. A feeling that must have been rife through that time in history.

And those who say there was never much emotion in the classic series want to pay attention to this story. The scenes where Ace discovers the baby she loves is in fact the mother she hates is a very poignant scenario, and the fact that the Doctor must break her faith in him to defeat Fenric through the ancient one is a gut wrenching moment. This is truly weighty stuff.

And then we get the vampiric haemovores too, one of the freakiest designs of the series too, very realistic indeed. They exude menace in a way no other design really managed to do, except the Zygons in Tom Baker's time on the series. This is a vampire tale that is better than almost every other horror film of the same subject Ive seen.

That Fenric too should be so confused by a simple game is a brilliant little bit of scripting too. So consumed with evil he cant see that working together is the answer to the Chess problem. And all the other characters are so raw and real too. Yet again, as i seem to be saying a lot recently, the new series could learn a lot from this story. And the classic series as a whole was far more enjoyable than most of the new episodes.

I cant even locate any bad points here. The menace in the story just continues to build up to a rollicking crescendo of intense emotion and brilliance. The scenes of the haemovores coming out of the sea is very well presented. The direction throughout the story is very taught indeed.

Jean and Phyllis are a tragic pair too. And one can clearly catch the writers intention with these two. two virgin's lost...they both act so well, the two girls here. And their transformation is very well acted, like every other scene amidst this tale. its a rather adult theme, but who cares? And i think for once in its history that this story should have been a 12 certificate. Also, Commander Millington sums up the very worst kind of enemy. So Doctor Who has to contend with so many different problems here.

What I also like is the fact that the BBC here had sense to give the companion at last far more of a back story. That Ace should be so manipulative as to chat up one of the guards so the Doctor can free Sorin is about the strongest scene given to a companion in the classic series. This is Doctor Who at its creepy, darkest best. And to add to that some excellent make up too, and some impressive location work, and for once quite a chunk of underwater photography too. What more could a Doctor Who fan want?

It really was so short sighted of the BBC to halt Doctor Who at this point, just as it was getting ever more brilliant. Sylvester McCoy didnt ensure the death of Doctor Who, he ensured its survival! The additional film scenes in the extended version too are all brilliant, and Im glad theyve been included on this double disc set.

All the additional extras too are memorable, with some deep insight into the making of the story. From this point is where the extras got really good with the Doctor Who DVD series. We get a lot of titbits of info we never knew before. Which is never a bad thing. So, yes, overall, this has to be one of the very best stories of Doctor Who and one of the best dvd releases so far.

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