Night Creatures (1962)

Article #773 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-27-2003
Posting Date: 9-24-2003
Directed by Peter Graham Scott
Featuring Peter Cushing, Patrick Allen, Michael Ripper

A captain is sent by the crown to investigate reports of smuggling in a small town, and encounters stories of ghostly riders in the swamps and a pastor with something to hide.

Despite the American title of this movie (NIGHT CREATURES) and a subplot concerning ghosts on horseback, this isn’t really a horror movie, nor does it act like one; it’s more of a period crime melodrama (the original title, CAPTAIN CLEGG, is much more accurate). This may be one of the reasons that this remains one of the more obscure Hammer thrillers, but those who choose to seek it out may well enjoy it. The story is solid and entertaining, and the performances are strong throughout, particularly from Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed, and Michael Ripper (who nearly steals the whole movie as the local undertaker). I also recognized Milton Reid (in the role of the mulatto) as having been in DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, where he was the manservant playing pool; it looks like he specialized in Tor Johnson-type roles (big, bald and non-speaking), but he definitely has the screen presence for it. It may be a minor Hammer thriller, but I found it quite entertaining nonetheless.


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