‘Hammer House Of Horror’ was a bit of an event when first shown on ITV. Filled with stars, thrills, sex, nudity and gore, it was broadcast on Saturday evenings in a prime slot. I remember every episode in great detail, which is not surprising as I was absolutely obsessed with the show. I was 12.
My interest started with first episode ‘Witching Hour’, originally shown on 13th September, 1980. Sexy ginger Patricia Quinn plays Lucinda Jessup (I didn’t even need to look that up, it’s seared across my mind), an executed 16th century witch who is brought back to life by a propitious lightning flash to wreak chaos upon grumpy horror film composer, Jon Finch, who now owns the cottage where she used to live.
Lucinda is a remarkably forward girl, and spends most of the show flashing bits of her milky white body and shagging Finch, who seems completely oblivious to the age difference between them (she’s about 330). When Finch’s cheating wife turns up, he realises that the strange supernatural affair must end, so he tries to give Lucinda the elbow but, as I have learned from bitter personal experience, you should never break up with an insane woman who can do witchcraft. The wife gets rid of the witch in the end, but it’s a hell of a job and, ultimately, you can't help feeling that, at some point in the future, Finch's character will start to remember that Lucinda was rather attractive and fun to have around, not to mention being rather outgoing in the bedroom, and he'll then think maybe his Missus was a bit hasty, silly cow.
This show was responsible for a long held tradition in our house. I have two younger brothers who, like me, were absolutely enthralled by the show, particularly the milky flesh bits. To this day, if any one of us bares a nipple we are cursed to cup it and purr in a West Country accent ‘is this the body of a witch?’ - even though the actual line was something quite different.
Deadly stuff, this daft old telly - it leaves permanent scars, especially on the memory.