The Thirteenth Reunion
Series Hammer House of Horror
Season 1, Episode 2
Hammer House of Horror 1x02 001.jpg
Air date September 20th, 1980
Writers Jeremy Burnham
Director Peter Sasdy
Producers Brian Lawrence; David Reid; Roy Skeggs
Starring Julia Foster; Dinah Sheridan; Richard Pearson; Norman Bird; George Innes
Episode guide
Previous
"Witching Time"
Next
"Rude Awakening"

"The Thirteenth Reunion" is the second episode of the British television series, Hammer House of Horror. It was directed by Peter Sasdy and written by Jeremy Burnham. It first aired on ITV1 on Saturday, September 20th, 1980. In this episode, an eager reporter named Ruth Cairns tries to land her big break in journalism by cracking open a sordid conspiracy taking place at a weight loss clinic. She soon discovers however that the true purpose of the clinic is far more sinister than she could have ever imagined.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Ruth Cairns

Ruth Cairns is a writer for a magazine on Fleet Street. Her editor, Gwen Cox, wants her to do a story about the "Think Thin" program taking place at the Chesterton Clinic. Ruth doesn't want to do the story and longs to one day get out of the women's section of the magazine. Regardless, she agrees to the task. She attends one of the clinic's weight loss seminars under the guise of being a member. The seminar instructor, a P.E. coach named Willis is a loud and cruel man, who tries to get people to lose weight through public humiliation and negative reinforcement. At the seminar, Ruth meets another member named Ben Faraday. The two hit it off and agree to go to lunch.

As they eat, they discuss the program and Ben tells Ruth that Willis prescribed a special dietary pill for him. They conclude their meal and agree to meet each other again. Ruth writes her telephone number down on Ben's hand.

Ben begins driving home, but a sudden illness quickly overtakes him. His vision becomes blurry and he begins driving erratically. He starts to hallucinate and sees a duplicate image of himself sitting in the seat next to him. Driving to drive the illusion away, Ben crashes his car into a tree and is killed.

Following the funeral, a young funeral home employee named Andrew approaches Ruth. He tells her about Ben and indicates that something feels wrong about the manner of his death. She asks him what makes him feel this way and he indicates that the funeral directors, Basil and Cedric Ashford, would not allow him to inspect the body. He further notes that both men have been acting strangely of late and that he suspects they might be up to something underhanded. Despite her grief over Ben's demise, Ruth sees this intrigue as the sort of meaty substance required to make her a real journalist.

The reunion.

Late that evening, Ruth and Andrew break into the Ashford Bros. Funeral Home and find the coffin containing Ben's body. They unseal it and find a body wrapped in linen like a mummy. They cut through the linen, but instead of a human body inside, they find a metal frame. Ben's body is missing. They hear the Ashford brothers muttering about and learn that they are going to the Chesterton clinic. Ruth and Andrew decide to secretly follow them.

At the clinic, the brothers meet with the director Jack Rothwell. They deliver Ben Farady's (now headless) body to him. The brothers renegotiate their deal with Rothwell demanding an extra 10% for their services.

Knowing that something shady is taking place at the clinic, Ruth returns to the magazine and tells Gwen what she has learned. She elects to go undercover to get the real story on Chesterton and has herself admitted as a patient. Rothwell personally interviews her and provides her with a private room at the clinic.

That evening, Ruth sneaks out of her room and begins snooping about the clinic. She sees Rothwell take a bloody body bag from a room and load it into his car. Ruth follows him in her own car to the estate of the clinic's founder, Humphrey Chesterton.

Her presence is discovered and she is invited inside. Humphrey Chesterton is very cordial to her and invites Ruth into the dining room. The room is filled with several other people and Ruth learns that they are all survivors of a plane that crashed en route from London to Marrakech. These survivors formed a bond with one another and they give subtle allusions as to what they were forced to do in order to survive. Once a month they meet with one another to share their stories. This is their thirteenth reunion. As dinner plates are set around the table, Ruth begins to realize the truth. The survivors of the plane crash are all cannibals. Terrified, Ruth runs away from the house and makes her way back to the funeral home. When she arrives, she finds Andrew lying on a medical table, dead. Willis, the training instructor from the clinic, steps out with a cleaver and states that he too was on board that ill-fated flight. With that, he brings the cleaver down upon her.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Filming locations for "The Thirteenth Reunion" include Hampden House, Great Hampden; Pound Street, Wendover; and the undertakers shop is in St Leonard's Road, Windsor. [1]

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]



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