Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher


Adaptation of the novel in four one-hour episodes, starring John Lynch, Emer Gillespie, Kenneth Cranham, and George Costigan.Studio filming took place at Shepperton, and the Cumbria locations were transplanted to North Yorkshire. Malham House became the Jenner Clinic, and the finale was shot on the streets of Kettlewell. Directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark, with animatronic effects by Image Animation. First screened pre-broadcast at the National Film Theatre.

The title and video box make it look like a simian variation on Child’s Play, but this Brit import is closer in spirit to a vintage Professor Quatermass caper. Though not quite in the latter’s class, the movie, based on Stephen Gallagher’s novel is a bloody but earnest sci-fi thriller that effectively mixes pathos with chills. (The story) begins with a lab massacre that rapidly runs the body count to an impressive nine as the genetically engineered title mutant, earmarked for live vivisection, flees his cell with vengeance in mind. Like Watchers and sequels, the plot follows several factions as they pursue the mutant, including its creators, the police, and the conscience-stricken scientist who arranged for the creature’s escape. Lynch, as the boyfriend of a lab victim, is equally determined to expose the unnatural experiments that hatched the monster. While the components may be familiar, director Clark and scripter Gallagher keep the film consistently engrossing.

Videoscope: The Phantom of the Movies