Big Finish round off their series of Big Finish Originals with a turn for the decidedly gothic.
Kathryn Ellis arrives to take up a post as a housekeeper at Hodder Hall. There she meets the aloof Isaac Hodder, who seems more interested in his experiments, and his rather peculiar sister, Clarissa. Ellis is haunted (both figuratively and literally) by her late husband, Daniel. From there, things start to get complicated with the appearance of ghosts, more ghosts, along with a series of bizarre murders and conversations which are all designed to baffle the unwary listener.
Fans of traditional gothic horror and series like American Horror Story will undoubtedly get a kick out of the strange events that unfold over six half-hour episodes. Writer Guy Adams, one of the most distinguished writers on the Big Finish roster, has penned this series for actress Eve Myles (familiar to sci-fi fans as Gwen Cooper from Torchwood) and it is obvious that she is committed to the role of Kathryn Ellis and infuses her with many shades of terror and fear. She is the lynchpin in what is a stellar cast which also includes Joseph Tweedale as Isaac Hodder and Bethan Rose Young as the maniacal Clarissa. Between the three of them, they chew the scenery up with glee and enjoy the many layers of their characters gifted to them by Adams.
Other cast members include Kerry Joy Stewart (Dolores Cutler), Bradley Freegard (Benjamin), Kezrena James (Gloria), Gareth Jewell (Daniel Ellis), John Cording (Lemuel Hodder), Laura Dalgleish (Pam), and Richard Elfyn (Clive). They all help to bring the characters to life and propel the abstract script to its chilling conclusion.
It is best not to have this on in the background as you are likely to miss many of the finer points in the plot which could lead to a lot of confusion. Director Scott Handcock has kept the pace flowing at a fair clip and lots of salient details can get overlooked if one is not careful. Special mention must also go to Rob Harvey for one of the best sound designs heard on a Big Finish audio in a fair while. Harvey also composed the music for this release and it perfectly aids the atmosphere being created.
There is a small interview with Guy Adams and Eve Myles, some outtakes, and a selection of the music score included as a bonus.
This will not likely be a favourite amongst regular Big Finish listeners but those who have dared to venture into the other releases from this series will not walk away too disappointed.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: October 2018
RRP: $17 Digital Download