The Hound of the Baskervilles 

nwidth="0" marginheight="0"> Released just a little too late to capitalize on the recent wave of all things Sherlockian, BFS Entertainment's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is welcome nonetheless. Although this 1983 production was made for television, it's so rich with atmosphere that it screams feature.

One of dozens of adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed novel, this one stars Ian Richardson in his second of two turns as Sherlock Holmes, with Donald Churchill joining his side as Dr. Watson. Churchill is fine, but Richardson positively owns the role; it's amazing how much he looks like Holmes predecessors Basil Rathbone and Peter Cushing.

The duo is called to the foggy moors of the Baskerville estate to get to the bottom of the deadly dog that preys upon the family and passersby when night falls. It's a ghostly canine with glowing green eyes, in fact. As Holmes cries happily when faced with this challenge, "The game's afoot, Watson!"

Pretty straightforward "? sometimes to the point of utter dryness "? this "Hound" is possibly the one that amps up the horror elements above all others. Credit must be due to veteran director Douglas Hickox (no stranger to horror, having helmed the British sickie "Theater of Blood") and especially screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue, who would go on to exercise his love of the darkest genre by updating "The Fly" for David Cronenberg and tackling "Psycho III" for Anthony Perkins.

While not essential viewing, the production values of "Baskervilles" are high enough to cast a creepy veil. It makes one look forward to BFS' January release of Richardson in "The Sign of Four." "?Rod Lott

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