5 More Doctor Who Monsters Which Shouldn't Have Worked (But Did)
5. The Orgi from Stones of Blood (1978)
How do you make a henge (you know, like Stonehenge) scary? That one's easy: by making the stones able to move, and by making them drink human blood. No, seriously. If you think too long and hard about the concept of the Ogri from Stones of Blood, it starts to sound silly, even to the most diehard Whovian. The blood-drinking part might even make a little sense - human sacrifices were supposedly conducted at some of these henges, after all, so the stones being hematophagous fits (and yes, that's a word, Wikipedia says so). But how do they move around? Do they roll around on little wheels or something? The story doesn't even bother with that last question - it just keeps you thinking about the first, and by designing realistic-looking stone costumes that glow from within and move pretty damned quickly, the effects designers created some high-octane nightmare fuel. Of course, if we couldn't see the stones drinking blood, it wouldn't be nearly as effective, so we get a lovely sequence later in the story in which two campers obviously fresh from a bout of love-making (and since this is Doctor Who, that's enough for them to deserve to die) find the stones standing at their campsite. They go to have a look at them, and one of them puts her hand on the stone (like you do, just to make sure it isn't fiberglass or something like that). However, despite discovering that, yes, it most likely is fiberglass, the stone starts eating her hand away.
Once again, the still shots don't do this sequence justice. It's quite clear that the skeletal hand in the second shot (which isn't even really the right size as the actress' real hand) has been placed into the shot by the same technique used for making the TARDIS materialize and dematerialize. But the performances sell it - the boyfriend tries to help her pull what's left of her hand away as she writhes in agony, the screen goes golden, and we hear the boyfriend's agonized scream echoing as the stone gets him too. I'm in my early forties now, and this scene in particular (and the Ogri in general) still makes me want to run crying for Mommy.
Tony Whitt has previously written TV, DVD, and comic reviews for CINESCAPE, NOW PLAYING, and iF MAGAZINE. His weekly COMICSCAPE columns from the early 2000s can still be found archived on Mania.com. He has also written a book of gay-themed short stories titled CRESCENT CITY CONNECTIONS, available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format. Whitt currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.