NIGHT OF THE GHOUL (1975)
aka The Ghoul
Article 3771 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-29-2011
Posting Date: 12-11-2011
Directed by Freddie Francis
Featuring Peter Cushing, John Hurt, Alexandra Bastedo
What it is: House with a dark secret
A flapper gets involved in a road race that leaves her stranded at a mansion located in a marsh. What she doesn’t know is that the mansion holds a dreadful secret…and it may cost her her life.
There’s a scene in this film where the woman looks at a photograph of a woman who is supposed to be the dead wife of Peter Cushing’s character. According to the trivia section on IMDB, that photograph was of Peter Cushing’s real wife, who had died shortly before filming began. If nothing else, this explains why there’s something terribly moving about Cushing’s performance in this movie; the grief is very real indeed. I only wish it had been in a better movie. Plotwise, this is pretty standard fare; it’s of the “madman in the attic” variety, and there’s not much here that hasn’t been done before. It does, however, have a strong level of unpleasantness, at least partially due to John Hurt’s performance as a truly repulsive character. The biggest disappointment comes at the end of the movie; if you’re going to try to ratchet up the suspense value of not showing a character’s face throughout most of the movie, than you’d better be able to provide a good jolt when you do show it, and the revelation is truly anticlimactic.