Architect Walter Craig, seeking the possibility of some work at a country farmhouse, soon finds himself once again stuck in his recurring nightmare. Dreading the end of the dream that he knows is coming, he must first listen to all the assembled guests' own bizarre tales.
This is one of my favorite horror film along with Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan. Like Kwaidan, this is also a horror anthology. But this directed by four directors and are not separate like Kwaidan's are. This film begins with an architect arriving at a remote farm house for a party. When he's there he feels like he's been here before. Then everyone starts telling scary stories. Each of these stories are shot by different directors. The first story "Christmas Party" is about a girl at a Christmas Party who finds a hidden flight of stairs. She goes up them and finds a boy who's crying. The second story "The Haunted Mirror" is about an engaged couple who marry and the wife buys him a mirror. Needless to say, it is not a normal mirror with a horrifying past. The third story is called "The Hearse Driver". It is about a man who dreams he sees a hearse go by and a creepy man iside tells him "There's room for one more". This becomes a premonition of things to come. I heard a story like this one in a scary story book. The fourth story, "Golfing Story" is about two golfers who love a girl so much they hold a special golfing tournament. The winner gets to marry the girl the loser dies. One of the men wins and the other is forced to drown himself. The fifth and final story "The Ventriloquist" is about a ventriloquist who thinks his dummy is out to get him.
As I said this could be one of the best horror films ever. Forget Jason or Freddy or Chuckie, this is the real thing. It certainly is the best B&W horror film. It is very creepy and it really works well in imparting the feeling of the supernatural. ESPECIALLY the "Ventrioloquist" tale. That is chilling enough to scare the bejebers out of you. If you are a fan of new high tech garbage slasher flicks, then I DO NOT recommend this to you. But if you really love all horror films, classic or new, then you will treasure this creepy classic.
-I saw Dead of Night when I was ten years old, and the horror stayed with me through most of my teen years. The mini-story about the antique mirror that showed the reflection of a totally different room than the one the man was in, made me afraid to be alone in a room with a mirror. Even to this day, as a grown man, I am a bit uncomfortable if I am alone at night in a room with a big, old mirror. Most of the mini-stories in this movie stayed with me for years, making me shudder whenever I would think about them. It is interesting, too, that the story of the ventriloquist's dummy that "comes to life," an oft-repeated theme in other movies and TV shows, originated with Dead of Night. I did not see the movie again until decades later. I was not as horrified, seeing it as an adult, but certain scenes still made me shudder. The main, underlying, weird idea of the movie, which becomes plain in the closing scene, leaves you with a spooky feeling and this thought: "could something like this be true of my life too?"
-I watched Dead of Night for the first and (unfortunately) for the last time on TV when I was 10 or 11 years old but I still remember it like one of most fearful experience of my life. Later, like a mature person I realized that my fear was nothing but the mirror image of geniality of this movie. The best horror ever made. Without effects, without computers, without trivial editing. Just with immense psychological sophistication. Something what good horror should always be: a kind of social and psychological criticism, story about dark side of our lives and souls. I just cannot find the words to express my respect to this monument. Dead of Night should never be forgotten. Never.
Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton
H.G. Wells (original story), E.F. Benson (original story)
Mervyn Johns ... Walter Craig
Roland Culver ... Eliot Foley
Mary Merrall ... Mrs Foley
Googie Withers ... Joan Cortland
Frederick Valk ... Dr. Van Straaten
Anthony Baird ... Hugh Grainger (as Antony Baird)
Sally Ann Howes ... Sally O'Hara
Robert Wyndham ... Dr. Albury
Judy Kelly ... Joyce Grainger
Miles Malleson ... Hearse Driver
Michael Allan ... Jimmy Watson
Barbara Leake ... Mrs O'Hara
Ralph Michael ... Peter Cortland
Esme Percy ... Antiques Dealer (as Esmé Percy)
Basil Radford ... George Parratt
Release Date:15 February 1946 (Finland)
Sound Mix:Mono (RCA)
Color:Black and White