Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Terrifying Tuesdays: Dead of Night (1945)

The 1945 British film "Dead of Night" is actually a series of stories within a story.  The main plot centers around an architect, played by Mervyn Johns, who visits a country house to discuss a potential job.  When he arrives, he is struck by how similar the scene is to a recurring dream he has.  He mentions this to the owner and several guests at the house, who proceed to relate unusual tales of their own.  As the main story progresses, the architect realizes that events are unfolding exactly as they do in his dream, and he becomes ever more fearful as the dream does not end well.  The movie concludes with an unexpected twist.  All of the tales related by the other characters are very well done, but the most famous is the one told by Michael Redgrave and concerns a ventriloquist's dummy.  I think my personal favorite is about a ghost at a children's Christmas party, which seems to be based on the short story "Smee" by A.M. Burrage, a story I have always liked.  Many consider this to be one of the best, if not the best, horror compendium ever made, and it is another movie I highly recommend.

Interesting fact: Actress Googie Withers, who narrates one of the tales, had a supporting role in the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Lady Vanishes", which also starred Michael Redgrave.

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0

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