DEAD OF NIGHT (1977)
Article 2551 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2008
Posting Date: 8-6-2008
Directed by Dan Curtis
Featuring Anjanette Comer, Joan Hackett, Patrick Macnee
A trio of stories is presented. In the first, a man restores an old car and finds himself transported back to the past. In the second, a vampire appears to be on the loose in a castle, and in the third, a woman uses the black arts to conjure her son back from the dead.
Dan Curtis takes a second stab at the anthology format (the first was TRILOGY OF TERROR), and I think it was interesting that he didn’t try to come up with a framing story. Maybe it’s just as well, I’ve found that framing stories usually don’t work all that well, though the best example of one could be found in the British horror entry from the forties which bears the same name as this one. In general, the third story is considered the best, but it didn’t really do much for me. I think it’s because I’ve never really cared much for the basic approach to horror used in this one; it’s the “stalker and stalked” plot, in which person A stalks person B, and we’re supposed to be frightened because person B is frightened. Though I understand the theory behind it, I feel the same way about that approach as I would if a movie tried to be a comedy by having a person A telling jokes and person B laughing at them, and we’re supposed to think it’s funny because person B is laughing. I suppose not liking this particular plot is something of a sacrilege for a horror fan, but there it is. The second story is largely a one-twist affair that I saw coming merely from the title of the story. This leaves the first one as my favorite, which is usually considered the weakest; for some reason, I found the gentle fantasy of this one far more interesting than the blatant scare tactics of the third one.
I can only conclude I’m out of step with a lot of horror fans on this one, but it’s not the first time, and probably won’t be the last.