This tape opens with the end of Fruity Passions.
There’s a trailer for The Travel Show.
Then, Horizon – Signs Of Life. It’s an interesting programme about scientists trying to define what life actually is. Chris Langton talks about the ‘vitalists’ who believed that life is a mysterious other-worldly force, outside of nature.
There’s some footage of Lionel Penrose, who thought about building machines which could replicate themselves.
His son, Roger Penrose, is a noted physicist. His nephew, Matthew, went to my school.
Here’s Richard Dawkins. He’s talking about life, and biology, so it’s safe to listen to him.
Rudy Rucker is here as a mathematician, but he’s also known as a science fiction author.
Danny Hillis founded the Thinking Machine Corporation, creators of the Connection Machine, as seen in Jurassic Park.
I have more than half of these books and videos.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th June 1990 – 20:10
After this, there’s a trailer for Mother Love, the rather brilliant thriller starring Diana Rigg as a psycho mother.
Then, another Roger Corman horror film, Tales Of Terror. It’s written by Richard Matheson, based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe, so expect lots of people visiting spooky houses. Sure enough:
Young Lenora (Maggie Pierce) is visiting her father (Vincent Price) and he’s not pleased to see her, presumably because it cuts into his drinking time.
But no, he keeps the dead body of his wife in her bed, and he sees his daughter as her murderer since she died not long after childbirth.
This is not a lucky family, since his daughter is now dying too. She dies, but is then reborn as her mother. Price is so horrified he knocks over a candle, and the two of them grapple in the fire.
The next story features Peter Lorre as a drunk man who is not a cat person.
After hassling his (much younger) wife, he stumbles around town and finds a wine tasting, where he challenges the greatest wine taster in the world, Fortunato Luchresi (Vincent Price again), to a tasting competition. This is quite fun, as Lorre slurps down full glasses of wine, but he gets the wine right.
When he discovers that Luchresi is having an affair with his wife, so he drugs him with some amontillado, and walls them up.
He’s visited by two policemen, who search the house, and the presence of the bodies is given away by the mewling of the cat, walled up accidentally with the two people.
The third story is The Case of M. Valdemar. Price is M. Valdemar. He’s dying of an incurable disease.
He enlists a hypnotist, Carmichael (Basil Rathbone), who hypnotises him at the moment of death, preventing him dying.
With his control of Valdemar, Carmichael gets him to tell his wife to marry him instead of her new lover.
But when she resists, and he starts assaulting her, Valdemar gets up and attacks him.
I think these stories work better as shorts, rather than trying to stretch them out to feature length, so I enjoyed this more than I did The Masque of the Red Death.
I love that they had a technical advisor for wine tasting
and for hypnosis, and these were important enough to have their own title cards.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 11th June 1990 – 21:00
After this, there’s a trailer for Under the Sun and one for The Late Show. Then the tape ends just as Newsnight starts.