Dead of Night (1945)

Although I can't quite put my finger on it, I'm pretty sure Birgit over BB Creations talked about Dead of Night at some point on her blog, probably in one of the Thursday Movie Picks entries, I found it interesting and decided to check it out. [Update: it was not Birgit. Maybe it was Joel]

The film follows an architect, Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns), who is summoned for a job in the countryside by a new client, Eliot Foley (Roland Culver). Upon his arrival, he is introduced to the other guests and Craig reveals that despite never having met any of them, he has seen them all, in that same house, in a recurring nightmare. One of the guests, psychiatrist Dr. Van Straaten (Frederick Valk), doesn't believe in supernatural so, as an attempt to convince him/prove him wrong, each guest recounts their own supernatural tales.

Because of today's horror movies, we already are familiar with the stories told by the characters --premonitions, haunted mirrors, creepy dummies, ghosts, etc.-- and yet they are interesting and engaging. Sure, some stories are more absorbing and effective than others, but they all are worth seeing/being told --while the Haunted Mirror sequence is very spooky, and the Ventriloquist's Dummy is very terrifying, the Golfer's Story brings a humorous twist to the film. The Hearse Driver and the Christmas Party segments are pretty weak though.

When it comes to characters though, the writing isn't that brilliant. The characters are indeed quite thin. However, the cast does a wonderful job and each character ends up being memorable. Mervyn Johns is very convincing as the confused and frighten architect trapped in a dream. Ralph Michael gives a fantastic performance as the man who is tormented by the mirror. Frederick Valk is mesmerizing as the sceptical psychiatrist. It's Michael Redgrave though that absolutely steals the scene. His performance as the ventriloquist with a slip personality is outstanding.

Eagle-Lion Films, Universal Pictures
The most tricking thing about Dead of Night is the atmosphere. The film has a creepy, eerie atmosphere that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and will give you the chills. The astonishing black and white photography, and the unsettling, nightmarish and occasionally over-the-top music really add to the film.


  1. Well, thanks for the shout out but it wasn’t me:) I’m Thinking it was Joel because it’s a film he would have picked and one I would love to see. This sounds like a good movie especially since it takes place in a spooky mansion

    1. It is! I'm sure you'd love it. By the way, thanks for letting me know, I'll give the credits to Joel.