• Martyn Wakefield

DEAD OF NIGHT [1945] (REVIEW)

Dir. Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer

Reviewer. Dan Cook

Regularly considered to be one of the scariest films ever made, DEAD OF NIGHT is one of the most revered and effective British horror pictures of the 1940’s. Released just 6 days after the surrender of Japan and the end of World War 2, the movie is a strange yet distinctly English anthology thriller from Ealing Studios that sees a group of people telling macabre stories in an attempt to convince a sceptical psychologist of the existence of the supernatural.


The short tales, which take their inspiration from the works of such revered authors and screenwriters as H.G Wells, E.F Benson and Angus MacPhail, range from the standard ghost story to more unique scenarios such as a cursed mirror and, most memorably, a ventriloquist and his seemingly possessed dummy.


This latter section is undoubtedly the creepiest and unsettling of the movie and, thanks to a terrific performance from Michael Redgrave, is the main reason for which DEAD OF NIGHT is so fondly remembered - with the story going on to influence many forms of media ranging from THE TWILIGHT ZONE to BATMAN and even the bizarre Danny Kaye comedy musical KNOCK ON WOOD. A true horror classic in every sense of the word with just a touch of Christmas spirit.



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