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Penny Dreadful - Night Work

episode 1.1

Ireland / UK / USA 2014
produced by
James Flynn, Morgan O'Sullivan, Pippa Harris (executive), John Logan (executive), Sam Mendes (executive), Chris W. King (supervising) for Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions/Showtime, Sky, Netflix
directed by J.A. Bayona
starring Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Harry Treadaway, Josh Hartnett, Simon Russell Beale, Danny Sapani, Alex Price, Olivia Llewellyn, Lorcan Cranitch, Aoife Byrne, Karla Lyons, Owen Roe, Alison McGirr, Fady Elsayed, Robert Nairne, Pat McGrath, Mary Murray, Helen Norton, Alvaro Lucchesi, Dylan McDonough, Gary Fox
written and created by John Logan, Frankenstein created by Mary W. Shelley, music by Abel Korzeniowski, special effects by Team FX, visual effects by Take 5 Productions, Mr. X

Penny Dreadful (TV-series), Frankenstein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

London, 1891: Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) is an American sharp-shooter with a wild west show, who is after one of his performances hired by mysterious Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) to this night help her and her colleague Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) to free Murray's daughter Mina (Olivia Llewellyn) - from a lair of vampires, it turns out. And while the mission as such is deemed a failure as far as saving the girl goes, they do manage to kill and take with them a human/monster hybrid whose inner skin is covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs - from the book of death. Now Murray is pretty sure his daughter is not in the best of health, so he also hires surgeon Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) to - well, bring her back to life if necessary. What even Murray doesn't know yet is that Frankenstein has a body in his lab stitched together from bodyparts - which might or might not have to do with the grisly murder spree shaking the city of late where mutilated bodies are left behind. Anyways, a freak jolt of lightning brings Frankenstein's creature 

(Alex Price) to life at the end of this episode ...


Now I admit, it's always a good idea to see popular fiction characters from the Victorian era being brought together on screen, and this series opener certainly does a better job doing just that than League of the Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie) or Van Helsing - but frankly, that alone isn't much of an achievement. Now as a first episode, this one certainly makes you longing for more, but that can't hide many insufficiencies it has taken by its own merits: For one, the story is incredibly garbled, opens up too many narrative threads all at once without developing a coherent story arc, also throwing too many characters onto the audience without giving any of them depth, and finally, the whole thing too often chooses spectacle over atmosphere, so it hardly ever is creepy, at best mysterious. That said one has to wait and see of course where the series might take us, and this first episode has at least achieved to whet one's appetite.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD