One year before he assumed the lead role in Doctor Who, Tom Baker was just another struggling actor, taking odd jobs just to make ends meat.
The Liverpudlian had enjoyed a modicum of success following his portrayal of Rasputin in the 1971 Oscar Award winning Nicholas and Alexandra, yet within two years found himself reduced to bit parts and insignificant roles.
For a time, Baker also took on bricklaying to keep the money rolling in – that was until the unknown Baker was put forward for the part by BBC’s Head of Serials, Bill Slater.
One of Baker’s credits during his period of struggle was Voodoo, which was a short segment in the Vault of Horror series. Voodoo would be the last of five short episodes, whereby five men would tell of horrifying nightmares that they recently had.
In his nightmare, Baker played Moore – a broken and penniless painter, steeped in bitterness living in a Haitian shack. In a chance meeting with an old friend, Moore discovers that the art dealers that he had entrusted his work had cheated him out of vast amounts of money.
Angry, Moore promises revenge, purchasing voodoo from a local tribesman. Determined to right the wrongs cast by the dealers, Moore brings retribution not only upon his enemies, but also unto himself.
As a piece of work, Voodoo is a curious entity and although the tale being woven is an undeniably simple one, it is still quite effective in its execution. One cannot fail to mention the stellar soundtrack that permeates throughout – for what is essentially only occasional light string sections opposite tribal drums, it certainly does more than enough to raise the tension of the episode.