Rodney's Reviews
Page 22 of 42

The House That Jack Built
By Rodney Marshall

There are obvious points in common with "The Joker" as Mrs. Peel is trapped inside a diabolical house by a psychotic maniac; however, "The House that Jack Built" seems rather soulless in comparison to the haunting colour episode, which is a great shame as it has so many positive aspects.

It is beautifully directed by Don Leaver and both the sets and the music are haunting. The writer and director combine to offer excellent attention to detail: clever touches such as the preserved body of the Professor in its glass case, the eyes of the stuffed owls seemingly watching Mrs. Peel and the sound of the music box adding to the disturbing undercurrent. The escaped convict is played to perfection in a very Pinteresque role. While the scoutmaster-clad Pongo does add a silly, eccentric element, where this episode fails is that it is too dark, lacking the light touches which are an integral part of any classic Avengers episode. It seems ironic that Clemens—whose episodes are often undermined by a silliness spilling over into stupidity—here veers almost exclusively towards psychological horror. It is done very well (too well) and is out of place in a series which—by 1965—required a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek style to counteract the unsettling backdrop.

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