Saturday, 5 January 2013


Midsomer Murders - Series 15, Episode 4. «  Oh, you frightened the life out of me! » Eve Lomax is murdered while watching a cult 1960s horror movie starring Midsomer Langley's own Stella Harris, guest of honour of a festival organised at the village hall. She was writing a book about Stella and her sister, Hollywood royalty Diana Davenport.

« Looks like someone threw a party and didn't invite me.
- It happens all the time, Jones. »

It turns out as a case of death imitating art for Causton CID sleuths DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) and DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), when two puncture wounds are found in the victim's neck, as if she was killed by a vampire, just like the film. Fortunately John happens to be a classic horror movie fan and an admirer of Stella Harris too.

«  A Thirst For Blood. Ah! This is the film Kate and I saw tonight.
- Sounds like some trashy vampire film.
- Less of the trashy, please, Jones. »

Writers Rachel Cuperman & Sally Griffiths and director Nick Laughland pay an affectionate tribute to the legendary Hammer Films and the horror films of the 60s with this delightful Death and the Divas. Brilliantly crafted sequences from the (fictional) filmography of Stella Harris, played by Sinéad Cusack, feature John Carson (Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter) and cult movie goddess Caroline Munro. Harriet Walter, who plays Stella's sister Diana Davenport, is the niece of the great Christopher Lee. And the den of local film buff Colin Yule (Pearce Quigley) is packed with memorabilia including posters of The Curse of Frankenstein, Quatermass and the Pit and The Mummy - but also the one of Stella Harris's Death and the Diva!

« Not a vampire bite, then? You must be disappointed. »

The episode stands far above the couple of previous entries (the average Written in the Stars and the terrible Murder of Innocence) with an excellent plot, the trademark humour and some punchy lines (« Less than 24 hours and you've made the place look like a bordello. ») Henry GoodmanAnna Wilson-Jones and Joseph Beattie are amongst the guest cast of this instant classic. Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions, part of the All3Media Group, for ITV1. Jo Wright is the producer. Note that the DVD box set of Series 13 arrives next week in France thanks to Koba Films.

« Oh, you're a genius, Jones.
- Well, yes, sir, obviously. »

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