The Mind of Evil
“The mind of evil, Jo. I should have realized. That creature feeds on the evil impulses of the brain.”
By Don Houghton
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
Three situations that are linked together and it is nothing to do with the involvement of UNIT with all these scenarios or is it. In fact while he is trapped on Earth due to the fact of The Doctor stealing his dematerialization circuit from his Tardis The Master is up to no good trying to take over the Earth and he has a very complex and ingenious plan on achieving that goal. First he is trying to disrupt the World Peace Conference by getting the Chinese and Americans to go to war against one another by killing off each countries delegates. Then there is the missile that has nerve gas and is scheduled to be dumped into the ocean where it will be safe from being used against humanity. The Master plans on stealing this missile and aiming it at any European city.
Then there is Stangmoor Prison where the mysterious Keller Machine resides. It is a device that takes the evil out of the prisoner’s minds and makes them pacifist and able to rejoin society. But an unexplained rash of strange deaths like drowning in a dry room and eaten by rats in a ratless building has The Doctor thinking that all these events could be related. So when these types of deaths is happening at the conferences and the prisoners take over the jail The Doctor and Jo are trapped by The Master and are an added bonus to his plans of world domination. That and the Keller Machine has a mind of its own as The Master will eventually lose control of its alien ally and that is a bigger threat to his plans.
I had to dig through my collection to retrieve the VHS copy of The Mind of Evil as it does not come out on DVD until June. Another curious thing is that my copy is in black and white as The Mind of Evil does not exist in a color copy. The color version was never recovered but thankfully the foreign market still required a black and white copy so thankfully this version was recovered for us to enjoy. The DVD release in June will have a colorized version of the story and it will be pretty interesting to see this classic story the way it was intended.
I did enjoy this story. I enjoyed it a lot as it was one of those six part stories that were not dull, full of filler or boring. I found it to be pretty interesting with all the main characters having equal parts. You had Benton playing spy, you had Mike Yates being the action hero and actually doing a lot more than he normally does. The Brigadier got the chance to be a hero in a raid on the prison. It was really a good time seeing everyone taking part rather than being regulated to background visuals.
Roger Delgado is really good in The Mind of Evil. From being driven around in his car while smoking a cigar to acting extremely evil at the prison he gives one of his best performances as The Master. Especially when The Keller machine turns on him and you see him shrieking from a vision of The Doctor laughing at him. That is quite a poignant scene and you really get a hint of the hatred and jealousy The Master has for The Doctor.
I like how the Mind of Evil is separated into three storylines. It is refreshing to see a long story like this one to keep things moving and having different plot lines for us to enjoy without over complicating it. Plus they all blend together pretty well. Plus there was a good amount of action. I did like watching how The Doctor and The Master had to work together to try and stop the Keller Machine. It never fails how much The Master tries to be evil he always has a change of heart and ask and the help The Doctor to fix matters and for a split second he does that in The Mind of Evil.
The Mind of Evil is one of those classic stories where everything goes right. It is a pretty strong story that also ties in with real life scenarios of the day. It has a pretty good science fiction feel to it and the mystery aspect is pretty good also as you try and figure out how all these situations will tie in together. I liked the concept of The Keller Machine and how it feeds off of the fears of the person it attacks. It is a pretty scary alien that needs to satisfy its need for evil thoughts to survive. The Keller Machine is a pretty freaky idea that works really well. It is a really strong story and a fun one to watch as there are some great moments, one that comes to mind was when the Brigadier saves The Doctor at the last minute from Mailer and The Doctor showing his gratitude by saying “What kept you.”
So if you want to watch a story that gives you the feel of what The Third Doctor UNIT was like then “The Mind Robber” is a good story to watch. Plus unfortunately if you’re new to the show you’ll have to wait till June for the DVD release.
©BBC Doctor Who 1963