Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Barock and the Time Vortex

The title sequence to Doctor Who in the 70s is one of the most terrifying things in the world, and probably the main reason I wasn’t allowed to watch it as a nipper. EVERYTHING about this thing is frightening: the music, which makes you feel like you’re falling (no, not falling... being pulled) into a terrifying black hole; obsidian bars that open up to reveal the swirling shrieking shapes of the time vortex - even the TARDIS looks wrong. And when the usually bohemian and avuncular (if oddly seedy) shape of the Fourth Doctor turns up... why, he’s just as horrible as the rest of it - his sombre face delineated in murky shades of cobalt and grey (until it goes all negative and my God, that’s even worse). And just when you think it can’t get any more appalling, the words GENESIS OF THE DALEKS or PYRAMIDS OF MARS or THE SEEDS OF DOOM appear in enormous white letters and before you know it you’re staring at an extreme close up of Davros, or Sutekh the Destroyer or whateverthehellthatispleasemakeitgoaway.



This was a TV show for *children*. The new sequence is very good (though it was better in season one, when it was accompanied by a "purer", less strident version of the Grainer/Derbyshire theme), but it will never, in a million years be as truly mesmerizing and awful as this thing. To the evil, chain-smoking bastards who worked at the BBC in the seventies - I salute you!

So, anyway - where better to send Barock, as he’s traversing the byways of time and space in pursuit of... something?


You’ll notice how I’ve replicated the existential terror of the time vortex by inserting shrieking, unheeded voices of warning and a few warped, howling faces. Ah, good times.

D

12 comments:

seth hurley said...

Oh man, as a kid I had to hide behind the sofa when that was on.

Dan McDaid said...

Horrible, isn't it? I still kind of remember the *smell* of the sofa I used to hide behind to escape this damn thing.

seth hurley said...

The show also turned me off quarries for my entire life.

Nothing good ever happened near a quarry on Doctor Who.

Rob Davis said...

One of the best things in life ever - the terror of the unknowable vortex and the promise a story to scare your mind into the geniusphere.

Nice pic too.

Faz Choudhury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faz Choudhury said...

That panel crackles with energy!

I used to pretend I was really brave by going right up to the telly for a VERY brief moment as the theme played, of course I was utterly terrified. I'd be back behind that sofa sharpish.

Dan McDaid said...

Ah, the geniusphere. Aye Rob - I think that about sums it up.

Faz, man... I was fricking banned from watching this thing until the Sylvester McCoy era (when my Dad concluded that it was probably too silly to scare me. Cue the Haemovores, killer robot clowns, Davros screaming his rage on a tiny black and white TV *in a school*, Victorian coppers being turned into soup and the like. Ker-shudder).

mattcrap said...

the light skull in the blur is very well done

Rob Davis said...

Banned! Jeez, Dan. I guess this was in the days before Childline?

Dan McDaid said...

They invented Childline *specifically* to deal with this problem...

Rob Davis said...

I had a mate who was a vicar's son, he wasn't allowed to watch Top of the Pops. As he got older his father compromised - he could either watch it with the sound off or listen to it with a cushion placed in front of the telly screen.

I've been buying comic relief wine this week to help kids like this!

Lord iEvil said...

that vortex is oddly hypnotic....0_o