The Nightmare Man – David Wiltshire.

I have just finished this book, which was originally called Child of Vodyanoi.

Lovely Lurid Cover

This edition was published as a tie in to a BBC TV dramatisation in 1981, where the title was changed to give it a bit fright appeal. As you can probably guess from the cover there is a bit of a Sci-Fi Horror thing going on here. I never saw the TV series and only found out about it when I was researching British Sci-Fi shows for a project I was working upon. The premise of a mystery object found on a deserted Scottish beach, with an occupant who immedietely goes on a deranged killing spree, reminded me a lot of 1950s and 60s movies like the original Thing from Another World and Brit horror  The Island of Terror. I just had to read the book. It’s long out of print, so I tracked down a copy from an Amazon reseller.

It’s not high art by any means, but it didn’t disappoint. It really did take me back to the heady days of low-budget British Sci-Fi films and TV shows, before things got spoilt by CGI technology. The writing is well paced, the scene setting atmospheric and it doesn’t overdo the details of the rather nasty killings. The hero is the local dentist, who fortunately turns out to have been in the Paras (That’s the Parachute Regiment of the British Army my non British readers) and if I tell you any more I will spoil it for you. For the same reason, I’m not saying what a Vodyanoi is.

I’d quite like to get my hands on the DVD of the series, which starred one of my favourite actors, Celia Imrie as the dentist’s love interest. How about it Santa?

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