A few years ago, I co-edited Fungi with Silvia Moreno-Garcia. In the time since, my affection for William Hope Hodgson’s “The Voice in the Night” and its peculiar 1963 Toho film adaptation Matango–as well as all fungal monsters everywhere–has been well documented. However, in all that time, there was always another adaptation of “The Voice in the Night” that I had never gotten a chance to see. Until now.
In a recent interview with The Haunted Omnibus, I mentioned my frustrated desire to see the “Voice in the Night” episode of the 1950s TV series Suspicion, and lo and behold, Michael Bukowski came to my rescue with a link to that very episode on YouTube! The last time I had looked for it, I had been unable to find it anywhere except in a film archive in California. Sadly, the picture quality of this YouTube version is completely terrible, and large portions of the beginning and end of the episode are lost almost utterly to darkness, but still, it’s worlds better than nothing!
Essentially a two-person show starring Barbara Rush (It Came from Outer Space) and James Donald (Quatermass and the Pit) as the pair of hopelessly-in-love (she sells it better than he does) newlyweds who become lost at sea and marooned upon the ill-fated island. Also keep an eye out for Patrick Macnee and James Coburn as the sailors who hear the haunting tale. The human drama is actually pretty well-realized, and there are enough tantalizing glimpses of the derelict ship and the fungus-shrouded isle to make you long for a better print than the one that we have available to us.
Sadly, there are no fungus creatures–or maybe there are, lost somewhere in the sea of inky blackness that are the episode’s last couple of minutes–so it’s no Matango, but it’s still a fairly admirable adaptation of Hodgson’s tale. Hopefully someday it will get a high definition release of some kind so that we can see the lost ships and fungal landscapes a little more clearly. Until then, thanks to Mike for directing me to this, and that’s one more off my list…