The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ace and Hex to a stormy island, where Hex admits to experiencing strange visions of an incident in an operating room that he’s never personally witnessed, and Ace has a vision of her own near a body of water, and falls in. Spotting a nearby house, the Doctor decides they should seek shelter there, but the handful of people in the house are as unsettling as any of the strange things they’ve seen so far. Everyone there seems to be trying to keep some kind of a secret under wraps, but when one of them turns up dead, they’re all suspects…and so are the time travelers. It turns out that the TARDIS may not be the only time machine on the island, and that none of the residents of the house may have chosen to be here – and every layer of the secret that is revealed seems to cost another life.
Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Bernard Kay (Major Dickens), Joanna McCallum (The Bursar), Andrew Forbes (Dr. O’Neil), Lizzie Hopley (Sue), Ann Beach (The Deacon), Duncan Duff (Joe Hartley)
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: A nicely atmospheric horror story that draws as much inspiration from Agatha Christie as it does from “The Island Of Dr. Moreau,” Night Terrors makes good use of the regular characters and offers something meaty to all of the guest performers as well. The result is performances with conviction, and an atmosphere of growing dread.
The interplay between Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier is casual and makes it seem as though their characters have been traveling through time for ages together – having someone around for Ace to joke with on her own level does wonders for the mood of the thing. Hex gets to do things in the course of the story that fall naturally within his past experience as a trauma nurse, and yet it never feels like anything shoehorned into the proceedings to “give him something to do.” With a decent story, Hex adds to the seventh Doctor’s audio journeys immeasurably.
I’ve mentioned that this story has numerous literary inspirations, but it also seems strongly reminiscent of Ghost Light, especially with the revelation of a familial connection between two of the guest characters. It’s not a word-for-word copy though – more a similarity of mood with a few similar plot points. If you liked Ghost Light, Night Terrors will probably be right up your alley.
As far as how well audio horror can work, the great thing about it is that the degree of gore is really up to the listener. If, as a Babylon 5 character who shall remain nameless once said, you can “dream pretty dark,” Night Terrors has some scenes that ought to keep you up at night. Good stuff.