The Nightmare Man – television series, UK, 1981

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The Nightmare Man is a British science fiction and horror television serial, produced by the BBC in 1981. It was transmitted 1st – 22nd May 1981 and has never been repeated.

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An adaptation of the novel Child of Vodyanoi by David Wiltshire, The Nightmare Man is set on a small Scottish island with the population gripped by fear following a series of savage murders involving dismembered corpses, a mysterious killer with inhuman teeth and the discovery of a strange craft on the local beach.

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The four-part serial was adapted for television by Robert Holmes, produced by Ron Craddock and directed by Douglas Camfield. Both Holmes and Camfield had previously worked on Doctor Who. The serial was commissioned by Craddock, who couldn’t decide which of the two novels he’s just read would be most suited for adapting as a TV series. He gave both novels to his secretary, who recommended Wiltshire’s story.

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The serial has been released on DVD (Region 2) by BBC Worldwide as part of their Cult TV range. Buy The Nightmare Man from Amazon.co.uk

Although set on a small island in the Hebrides, it was filmed in the Cornish village of Port Isaac.

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“The acting is fine, the characterizations are adequate, there are a few wry / witty lines and it’s all rather competently made. The film tries its best to be atmospheric with lots of thick fog, nice views of the shoreline and hazy, red-tinted killer POV shots, but it’s consistently undermined by the flat, murky ‘videography.’ There’s also an incredible amount of talk and little in the way of action until the very end.” Bloody Pit of Horror

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