This may seem strange me doing a radio serial but there are some fantastic horror and sci-fi stories out there that because of the media they were created on, remain largely forgotten. Radio is one of these Medias, being home to many great and forgotten stories that inspire both wonder and fear. Aliens in the mind (1977) is a hidden gem and one that, if made for television would be up there if the British sci-fi serial greats like the Quatermass stories and A for Andromeda. As it is AITM should be of particular interest to classic horror fans as it features two of the masters of the hammer period working together and working well. The two men I am talking about are of course Vincent price and Peter Cushing, who only made four films together but were great friends in real life and their friendship shows in fantastic performances. Before I end up writing pages and pages about the two stars however, we should begin with a story breakdown for those who are unfamiliar with this undiscovered gem...
It begins on a misty Scottish isle (don’t get excited The Wicker Man was released in 1973). Dr John Cornelius (Peter Cushing) is attending the funeral of a friend who died in very mysterious circumstances. After finding the results of the police investigation unsatisfactory he begins one of his own but is soon joined by old friend Professor Curtis Lark (Vincent Price). Together the two discover a race of telekinetic mutants that can be controlled by “higher” mutants. Things go from bad to worse when they find evidence of lower mutants in the British government and a global conspiracy is revealed.
It sounds gripping and trust me it is, I was forced to limit myself to two episodes a day because I was getting through it so fast. Let’s begin with the plot, written by science fiction genius Robert Holmes famous for his work on doctor who, coincidently AITM began as a script for doctor who but was dismissed due to it being too similar to the ABC series The Invaders (1968). It’s an edge of your seat tale that delivers some genuine laughs (some of the lines between Lark and Cornelius show fantastic wit) and also some genuine chills (“think what Hitler or Stalin could have done with this power!” “think what they did without it...”). Holmes does what only truly great writers can do and gives each setting a separate feeling, from the fog covered Scottish isle to the dull yet chilling office near the climax and remember this is just through lines spoken between characters, no narrator.
Speaking of the climax, it’s my only problem with the script. I’m not the only one either the notes book in the CD states that listeners had the same problem. It’s a shame as well as it sounds like what is a fun light hearted story is going to end on a shockingly depressing note. I suspect that maybe the producer or someone thought it was maybe too depressing and decided to change it. What we have instead is an incredibly rubbish ending where some minor character appears and saves the day. It sounds bad and it is.
I mentioned in my introduction that Peter Cushing and Vincent price gave “fantastic performances” and that was not an understatement. If you a fan of these two stars but want to see how they acted towards each other in real life this is a good place to start, if it isn’t real friendship that these two are showing then the of acting is above both their bests. The front of the CD makes it seem that Vincent is the star of the show but that is not true. Neither outshines the other and they create the very definition of a double act. As for the supporting actors, some very bad Scottish accents aside, the quality is superb.
This is very, very good science fiction/ horror entertainment that is essential for any Peter Cushing or Vincent Price fan that has not already listened to this underappreciated gem.
GORE: Well it's radio so thats a no, there are some nast sound effects though!
NUDITY: Same as a above, except no sound effects this time.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door
A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.firstname.lastname@example.org. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.