"You shouldn't have killed her, Mister Shenley. You shouldn't have killed your wife."
Mister Rayburn
Rude Awakening
Series Hammer House of Horror
Season 1, Episode 3
Hammer House of Horror 1x03 001.jpg
Air date September 27th, 1980
Writers Gerald Savory
Director Peter Sasdy
Producers Brian Lawrence; David Reid; Roy Skeggs
Starring Denholm Elliott; James Laurenson; Pat Heywood; Lucy Gutteridge
Episode guide
"The Thirteenth Reunion"
"Growing Pains"

"Rude Awakening" is the third episode of Hammer House of Horror. Directed by Peter Sasdy, it first aired on September 27th, 1980. The episode is included on disc 1 of the Complete Hammer House of Horror DVD collection.


Mister Rayburn

Norman Shenley is an estate agent working in England. He comes in to the office and greets his secretary Lolly Fellows. After settling down, a man comes in to the office named Mister Rayburn. Rayburn represents an old estate known as Lower Moat Manor and tells Shenley that as executor of the estate he has chosen to put it on the market. He draws a rough map of the road leading to the manor and gives Shenley a pair of keys. Norman tells Rayburn that he will drive out to look the place over. After Rayburn leaves, Shenley flirts with Lolly and it becomes clear that the two are carrying on an affair.

Norman gets in his car and follows the directions on Rayburn's map. He gets to the manor and finds it to be in a severe state of disrepair. He tries the key in the lock, but the door won't open. Moments later however, the door opens all on its own. Norman finds the inside of the mansion filled with dust and cobwebs. As he continues making observations, an eerie voice rings out from an antique intercom system. The voice admonishes Norman, telling him that he shouldn't have killed his wife. Norman is startled by the off-putting voice. He protests that his wife is not dead, but the disembodied voice states that he killed her on Friday the 13th, which happens to be today. Norman reiterates, declaring that his wife is very much alive, at which point, a dumbwaiter next to the intercom receiver opens and a body spills out. It is Norman's wife Emily.

Norman suddenly awakens inside his bed. His wife is alive and sleeping next to him. He has been having a nightmare. He tells his wife about the dream he's had, but neglects to indentify her as the dead woman in the dumbwaiter. Norman decides that it is too late to try and return to sleep so he decides to stay up and go to the office early. Emily knows that Norman has been having an affair with his secretary and believes he is using his nightmare as an excuse to go and see her.

Norman goes to the office and is grateful to see Lolly (who is now dressed as a punk rocker). Norman tells her about the dream he had. Lolly laughs at the notion of her lover having dreams about killing his wife. He fumbles through his pocket and finds the hand-drawn map that Rayburn had given to him in his dream. He decides to follow the map's directions to see if Lower Moat Manor actually exists.

He drives through the countryside, but can find no evidence of the mansion from his dream. He stops at a telephone booth and calls Lolly. As he looks down at the map, Norman sees that the drawing has been replaced with the words "Why did you do it?" He hangs up the telephone, but then it begins ringing. Norman answers it and the voice tells him, "You shouldn't have done it, Mister Shenley. You shouldn't have killed your wife. All of a sudden, the telephone booth begins filling with smoke and Norman cannot get out. He begins to panic until Lolly shows up and opens the door. The two begin making love inside the phone booth.

At that moment, an alarm clock rings in his ears and Norman awakens again. He has been having a dream inside a dream. Emily wakes up next to him and Norman tells her his dream. The discussion quickly devolves into an argument and Emily accuses him of having an affair with his secretary again. Norman tells her that he wants a divorce. Emily dismisses him and storms off downstairs to begin breakfast.

Norman goes to the office and has another discussion with Lolly. He repeats the events that he experienced in the past two dreams and then drives off to once again find the elusive Lower Moat Manor. He finds the mansion, but this time it appears to be in good condition. He rings the front door and is greeted by a maid who invites him in. She goes off to inform the manor's owner Lady Strudwick.

Norman is summoned to the dining hall and meets Lady Strudwick. The woman is old and very polite and welcomes Norman Shenley's company. He tells her that he is an estate agent then goes on to describe the strange experiences he's had over the (seemingly) last few days. He tells her about the dream with the dumbwaiter. Strudwick informs Norman that a young girl was sealed up in the walls of the house many years ago. Norman begins hearing Rayburn's voice, again telling him that he shouldn't have killed his wife. Frightened, he turns to leave, but the house staff grab him and begin stringing him up to a noose.

Lolly Fellows

Norman awakens in his bed to the sight of his wife choking him with a bed sheet. He pushes her away and Emily barks out a few choice quips about Norman's exploits. He hurriedly dresses himself and goes to the office. Lolly is happy to greet him and tells him that they have a block of flats to survey. Afterward though, Norman intends on taking her out to dinner.

They go to the site and find the apartment row in a terrible state. They walk up several flights up steps and take an elevator the rest of the way to the roof. Norman makes his observations on the building's condition and dictates his findings to Lolly who records them. Lolly notices a construction crew and a wrecking ball on the street aimed at tearing the building down. They try to go back downstairs, but the door is now locked from the inside. Norman kicks the door open and they race down the steps. Lolly runs towards the elevator, but the car is missing and she falls down the elevator shaft to her doom. Meanwhile, the wrecking ball begins to demolish the building. Norman frantically runs down the rest of the steps to the ground floor. When he gets there, he finds Lolly operating the wrecking ball crane.

As before, Norman now awakens inside his bed at home. He hears Emily in the other room speaking to someone on the telephone. She is talking to a physician and Norman fears that she might be trying to have him committed. Emily finally addresses him directly and tells Norman that he needs to go and see Doctor Melbury. Norman demands a divorce, but Emily cannot fathom why he would ask such a thing. After a hasty exchange of comments, Norman agrees to see the doctor.

Doctor Melbury examines him and tells the Shenleys that Norman has a malignant tumor on the brain. He needs to be operated on immediately. Preparations are made and Norman goes in for surgery. During the procedure however, the surgeons indicate that his heart has stopped. Norman is awake and aware, but cannot move or speak. The doctors declare him dead and move his body down to the morgue. He tries to tell them that they are wrong, but he cannot. As they load his body into a drawer, the doctors remove their surgical masks revealing the faces of Rayburn, Emily and Lolly.

Norman wakes up from the nightmare in his bed at home. Emily is asleep next to him. Norman suffers a psychotic break and smothers Emily to death with a pillow. He then goes down to the office. He is sweaty and disheveled, but in good spirits. He has a gift for Lolly, who appears to be more demure and proper than she seemed before. Gleefully, Shenley tells her that he is now free to marry her. Lolly is taken aback by Norman's strange behavior. The gift is a diamond necklace. He places it about her neck, but Lolly grows increasingly uncomfortable.

Suddenly, police inspector Rayburn and a CID sergeant enter the office. Norman is not at all bothered by their arrival and he is convinced that he is having another dream. He cheerfully confesses to killing his wife. He knows this is a dream because the voice that originally spoke to him on the speaking tube at Lower Moat Manor told him that he killed his wife on Friday the 13th which, according to him, must have been several days ago. Lolly corrects him, citing that today is Friday the 13th. Norman suddenly grows gravely concerned. Rayburn and the sergeant take Norman Shenley away in handcuffs.


Notes & Trivia

  • The beginning of this episode features a dream sequence of clips of events that take place throughout the episode.
  • Denholm Elliott is better known to modern audiences as Marcus Brody from the Indiana Jones film franchise.
  • Lolly Fellows has a markedly different appearance in every nightmare that Norman has.

See also

External Links

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