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Doctor Who: Planet of Evil (Story 81)

43 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Mar 04, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

When a distress call draws the Doctor and Sarah Jane to a scientific outpost at the end of the Universe, the Doctor suspects dark planetary forces are behind a series of sinister deaths.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • DVD ROM Features
  • Making Of
  • Production Notes

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter
    • Directors: David Maloney
    • Writers: Louis Marks
    • Producers: Philip Hinchcliffe
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
    • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
    • Run Time: 94 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00114XLZK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,085 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Doctor Who: Planet of Evil (Story 81)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1998
    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    In this extremely well directed story with Hammer-like flourishes, The Doctor (Tom Baker) explores a lush alien jungle on a planet at the edge of the known universe. There, Professor Sorenson (Frederick Jaeger), engaged in experiments to harness the power of anti-matter, has unleashed a terrible anti-matter beast that threatens the men onboard the ship sent to rescue him. The alien planet is extremely well designed, and the scenes involving the anti-matter monster leave the viewer with a genuine sense of dread. There are also some very nicely directed sequences involving The Doctor falling into the anti-matter pit. As the anti-matter monster divides itself and attacks from all sides, the claustrophobia and tension increases, making one frequently look behind oneself. In an midst of a very well done Forbidden Planet remake, we have a terrific and genuinely frightening story with nice special effects for the era.
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    19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark T. Mccullough on January 25, 2008
    Format: DVD
    Dr. Who was in its golden age when PLANET OF EVIL was broadcast in the mid-70s. Tom Baker had assumed his iconic role as the good Doctor and, now in his second season, he was really on form. PLANET OF EVIL was one of those great Dr. Who stories which was haunting, scary, well acted, well written, well produced and well realized. It was in short the classic hide behind the sofa story.

    The Doctor and Sarah have materialized on Zeta Minor at the edge of the known universe. They arrive to find the skeletal remains of a human; all the life having been sucked out of him. Of course, the Doctor and Sarah are blamed. As it turns out, Zeta Minor is something of a gateway between the universes of matter and anti-matter. The creature responsible for sucking the lives out of people is something of a hybrid creature which lives in an abyss between the two universes and who is attacking people it seems because a researcher is intent on removing hybrid crystals from the planet for use as fuel in the human colonies. The Doctor returns the crystals, makes the creature happy and all is well again.

    This episode is fantastic for anyone, hard core fan and casual observer alike. The BBC effects department did a fantastic job on the jungle for this story (it was done entirely in studio!). The story also featured three of the best guest actors in the series' history, Prentice Hancock as Commander Salamar, Frederick Jaeger as Sorenson and Ewan Solon as Vishinsky. I don't give 5-star ratings lightly - get this DVD!
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spanderillo on October 27, 2004
    Format: VHS Tape
    This is one that had me jumping behind the couch when I was 10. Though some reviewers write this story off as rubbish, its one of my personal favorites. I think its because, like much of Hinchcliffe's Who, time and effort go into generating suspense and horror through image, through what we see as much as through plot and character, the two complementing each other, and the story being propelled as much by image as dialogue. The hideous, pig brained "Peking Homonculous" in the Talons of Weng Chiang is a good example of this.

    In Face of Evil, potent images of horror abound. Examples include the perpetual twighlight of the forest, the red, purple and black tones dominating the production design, in the fact that we don't see the monster at first, only its effect on the environment (an idea that resurfaced, along with the plastic jungle, in the similarly titled "Face of Evil.") There also is palpable fear generated by surveyors' scruffiness and dirtiness, their desperate rushes through the haunted wood, and the horrific look of their wizened corpses after the monster gets them. The look on Sarah's face when the monster almost gets her is another terrifying (to the 10 year old inside us all) image used in this story.

    And the terror is relentless. The suspense builds as the action shifts to the Morestran spaceship. Sorenson's glowing eyes after he morphs into "anti-man," the steaming potion he must gulp (like Dr. Jeckyll) to keep his demons at bay, the corpses ditched from the ship plunging into the endless loneliness of deep space.... all unforgettable images terrifying to the mind of an imaginative 10 year old.

    If there was a secret to Hinchcliffe's success as a producer it was this.

    Another appealing quality of the Face of Evil is its ending.
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    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. G Watson VINE VOICE on November 6, 2003
    Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
    There was a trilogy of Tom Baker stories during the shows "Golden Age" which bid homage to the classics of Gothic horror fiction -- "The Brain of Morbius" (Frankenstein); "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Dracula); and, of course, "Planet of Evil" which was essentially Dr. Jekkyl & Mr. Hyde in space. This episode is inferior to "Talons" (what isn't?) and not as much fun as "Morbius" but it is still a good outing, concentrating far less on humor and camp and more on the classic elements of Gothic horror -- tampering with forbidden knowledge, the internal struggle of good vs. evil, and the mounting terror of a group which is trapped in a haunted house (so to speak) and being picked off one by one. Like "Talons" which also mixed in homages to Phantom of the Opera and the real-life Jack the Ripper killings, this story also borrows heavily from "Forbidden Planet" in its choice of a semi-invisible monster projected, more or less, from it's victims own minds. There are also less-than-subtle moral messages about colonialism and gross exploitation of the environment, which is always humorous when you consider the Brits spent 300 years doing just that to our little planet. I guess Orwell was right when he said that hypocrisy is THE English vice (then again, he also said, "The Americans always have to go you one better on any type of beastliness" so you can read it either way).
    The story is your basic 'trapped in a haunted house with a mysterious killer' bit, but the overlapping plot elements and homages prevent it from falling into parody.
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