Friday, 10 September 2010

Raven about a scene

The man is in the caves, where supernatural strangeness has been happening. He is mesmerized by strange sounds, and steps forwards down a tunnel. A sigil glows in the air as he steps through, and is dissipated. A moment later, rocks fall, sealing him in... Others bore through to rescue him, inserting a pipe for him to breath and communicate through, but then something snake-like emerges... people scream, run, it is caught on television screens as they flee the mines...

This is a scene I remember from my childhood. I was sick, in bed, and the TV had been brought in to me, and I saw the above... and it was scary!

However... it never happened. At least, not quite like that.

A few years ago, I asked around about this, to see if anyone remembered it and could help place it for me. Jon Preddle directed me to an old British series (old as in 1977) called Raven, and helped source a novelisation. Having read the book, I had a hard time aligning it with what I remembered.

Then a few months ago, it was released on DVD. I got it, but only recently got around to watching it. I can see what happened in my mind, more or less, but first I'll need to discuss the story.

Raven is a teenager, let out from a borstal to stay with a mature couple for a month to help him get a sense of the world. The Professor is digging in nearby caves while the government is sizing it up as a place to dump nuclear waste. He's an invalid, so has cameras in the cave to help him see what the team is up to.

Initially Raven is on the side of progress, but the Professor converts him to the side of stopping nuclear waste dumping. Raven also meets up with a local budding journalist (a pretty woman who seems to start blonde but is brunette by the end!), and she spouts a load of complete nonsense about how the cave symbols are astrologically significant. According to her, the government team start digging in the wrong place. And then...

I have no idea if I saw the other episodes, as the story was a complete blank to me, but I definitely must have seen episode four. It starts with Bill (head of the local team doing the government work) walking through a tunnel, there's a symbol and the tunnel collapses. People run around (this must have moved in my mind to afterwards) to help rescue him, and bore through to get him. The episode ends with a snake like thing coming out of the bore hole, its head a jawless human skull!!!

Now that, I think you'd agree, was a pretty scary image! I won't spoil what was revealed the next episode, but safe to say there is more astrological rubbish and then it abruptly ends. Badly. Like the story slams to a halt because it's won. And the winning in this case is against nuclear waste as there is no middle ground for the authors in that battle and the audience is left to only side with one position. And Arther (king and co) gets layered all over it badly as well.

Ultimately, it was, hardly surprisingly, more scary in my mind than actually on screen. Still, I'm glad I finally managed to get this sorted out, even if I'm not recommending the series for general viewing.


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