Saturday, March 16, 2013

Raven Shadmock and The Monster Club

Raven Shadmock, the character from R Chetwynd Hayes' book The Monster Club, is a lonely monster who lives in a castle with centuries of priceless antiquities around him, but no one to talk to except the pigeons. He is a lonely man/monster. The reason Raven Shadmock can never venture out beyond the bounds of his estate is that he has this horrific power. A power so awesome it can disintegrate a human into a small pile of rubble in seconds. In a million years you'll never guess what this power is. Give up? I'll tell you. Raven Shadmock possesses one of the most destructive powers in all of monsterdom...

You see, a Shadmock must never whistle. And being a tender-hearted monster, but easily agitated by human customs, Raven Shadmock can never be near people. Oh, the loneliness of Raven Shadmock. Will he ever meet anyone he can talk to? Perhaps there is hope yet. Needing all of his artifacts to be cataloged, Shadmock puts an advertisement in the paper for an assistant. The ad is answered by...

Angela, portrayed by actress Barbara Kellerman. She appears earnest and plain in this picture, but what Raven Shadmock does not know is that...

Along with her layabout boyfriend, George, played by pretty boy actor Simon Ward, they are planning to rob Shadmock dry. Over the next few weeks Shadmock and Angela develop a rapport, and Shadmock asks Angela to marry him. She accepts, knowing it is her chance to get into the Shadmock's safe where all the good stuff is. A costumed ball is called to celebrate the engagement, and all of Raven Shadmock's monster relatives attend. There are wolfmans, and vampires, and ghouls, and who knows what else underneath those masks. But the monsters are sophisticated and cultured, good dancers, and fastidiously well behaved. As the dance goes on Angela slips out to rob the safe, but is confronted by Shadmock, who tells her she can have any of the belongings she wants and give them to whomsoever she desires, but she freaks out and in an increasingly shrill voice shouts "I could never, never love you." Raven Shadmock's rage mounts, and he is unable to stop himself from puckering those lips and blowing the whistle he knows will turn his beloved Angela to cinders. 

Yucky. Pretty boy George ain't gonna put up with this. More on Raven Shadmock later. Welcome to

New Zealand born actor James Laurenson played the terrifying Shadmock character, and it's interesting to note he did so without an over-abundance of make-up effects, instead relying on acting chops to bring the character to life. Laurenson also appeared in numerous British Shakespearean productions, notably Richard II, as Rosencrantz in Hamlet. Laurenson is also an accomplished singer. 

An artist's illustration of actor James Laurenson as Raven Shadmock in The Monster Club

“As I said earlier it is most surprising that the kingdom of then world should have come under the sway of a species of monkey, and there is reason to suppose that there were other claimants to the throne. ("The Shadmock")” 

― R. Chetwynd-Hayes