NIGHT SLAVES (1970)
Article 2002 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-7-2006
Posting Date: 2-4-2007
Directed by Ted Post
Featuring James Franciscus, Lee Grant, Scott Marlowe
A disillusioned man tired of the grind of life takes his wife (who loves another man) to a small town to start over. At night in the small town, he discovers that the residents (and his wife) become mindless zombies bent on a mysterious task, of which he can discover nothing. He does discover a strange woman who also doesn’t become a zombie, He tries to solve the mystery, but finds himself under suspicion of murder.
I’m not overly fond of TV movies because I find most of them too bland for my tastes. However, blandness can sometimes translate into subtlety, and with this movie, it’s a plus. In most movies, when a character finds himself in possession of hard-to-believe knowledge, he (or she) usually puts it forth with a strident hysteria that only makes the belief that he’s crazy seem accurate. In this one, James Franciscus keeps his head and remains aware of how unbelievable his story will seem to be when he tells it, and it’s quite refreshing to see this for a change. The story itself reminds me of several movies, including IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE, and it is superior to at least one of them. The cast does a fine job, and includes Lee Grant, Andrew Prine, and Leslie Nielsen. Elisha Cook Jr. is apparently in there somewhere as well, but I didn’t spot him. My only real complaint is the slightly dated quality; in particular, the corny scene where lovers run through a field in slow motion. Incidentally, the revelations are more science fiction than horror.