Main cast: Kathryn Leigh Scott (Penny), Simon MacCorkindale (Harry), Gareth Thomas (Richard), Mia Nadasi (Margaret), and Stanley Lebor (Charles Willoughby)
Director: Peter Sasdy
Oh my, the late Simon MacCorkindale sports a glorious mustache here, and while he’s always been very easy on the eyes, that patch of fuzz over his upper lip is strangely mesmerizing. Director Peter Sasdy is also a naughty tease here, making Mr MacCorkindale shows brief teasing glances of skin here and there, making Visitor from the Grave more of a “Let’s spend a while to look at how pretty Simon MacCorkindale is!” thing than a horror show.
Mr MacCorkindale is made to wear some of the oddest and ugliest clothing choices here, mind you, but these clothes always hug his physique nicely, hence the pretty shines through clearly despite it all. If you have a fetish for guys in tight formal shirts and slacks, pop this one into the player and enjoy.
Actually, there isn’t much horror here, as this episode is more of a suspense thingy that will be familiar and predictable to folks who have watched shows like Diabolique before.
Penny and Harry are husband and wife. Financially, they aren’t doing too well. But that’s trivial compared to how Penny shot a man who broke into the house and tried to assault her, and the man was a crooked businessman whom Harry blames for their current financial predicament. Her husband buries the body without telling the cops, and now Penny becomes to suffer a mental breakdown as she keeps seeing the dead man coming back to haunt her. The poor dear has always been mentally unstable, having spent time in a padded cell before, and now she is afraid that she may have completely lost her mind for good…
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it, Penny finds an ally who seems to believe her: a psychic named Margaret who claims that she can help exorcise the ghost from Penny’s life.
It is very easy to correctly guess the twist here, as the script has the main culprits behaving very suspiciously in an over the top manner that screams “Look at me! I’m so shady!” Given that there are no other suspects here to suggest that these ridiculously shady antics are red herrings to mask the identity of the true perpetrator, I don’t think anyone will be shocked when it is revealed that these shady, transparently shifty folks are… ta-da, the villains. The resolution of this episode is very stupid and, worse, it’s a supernatural element that just comes out of nowhere – probably slapped in once someone recalls that this show is meant for Hammer House of Horror and not some suspense anthology.
Also, I have to grit my teeth more than once between every cast member is camping it up to annoying degrees here. They are always shrieking, making loud and unrealistically over the top pained noises, screaming, and generally running around like human refugees from a Looney Tunes cartoon. The tragedy here is that I don’t think these people are being unintentionally campy.
A young Simon MacCorkindale is so pretty, but Visitor from the Grave is a predictable, boring snooze fest. It’s actually shocking how nothing is done in this episode to shake things up. Given that it is a suspense tale, being boring and predictable is quite the fatal flaw.