Dead of Night (1945) starring Mervyn Johns, Sally Ann Howes, Michael Redgrave
Dead of Night is a very interesting anthology of horror stories. An architect arrives at a house, meets a group of strangers … And he knows all of them, from a recurring dream. It turns out that each of them has a story to tell … And the psychiatrist dismisses all of their stories. Finally, there’s an unexpected conclusion, that is quite fitting.
The Hearse Driver
Hearse Driver: Just room for one inside, sir.
After nearly dying in a car accident, Hugh Grainger has a recurring vision of a hearse driver. The driver parks outside the hospital, and tells him that there’s room for one more. The doctor convinces him that he’s imagining it. That it’s related to his feeling of having died in the accident, but actually having survived. Discharged from the hospital, he’s about to board a bus. But the bus driver is identical to the hearse driver! He refuses to board … Consequently, he lives when all of the passengers are killed in a tragic accident.
The Christmas Party
“I wish you were my sister.”
Sally O’Hara tells a story about meeting a young boy at a Christmas party. A young boy, Francis Kemp, who must have been a ghost … Since his sister had killed him some time before.
The Haunted Mirror
Peter Cortland: “But in a queer sort of way, it fascinates me. I feel as though that room, the one in the mirror, were trying to… to claim me. To draw me into it. It almost becomes the real room, and my own bedroom imaginary. And I know that there’s something waiting for me on the other side of the mirror. Something evil. Monstrously evil. And if I cross that dividing line, something awful will happen.”
Joan Cortland buys her future husband a beautiful mirror as an engagement present. He slowly starts seeing another man, and another room, in the mirror’s reflection. But it’s a man that’s not content to stay in the mirror. Can the antique dealer shed light on it? Will it end with seven years’ bad luck?
The Golfer’s Story
Larry Potter: It’s entirely your fault: you can’t cheat a ghost!
Two best friends who are only competitive at golf. Until a beautiful girl enters the picture. She can’t decide between them, so they settle it themselves. With a golf game! But the loser can’t live with the outcome, and drowns himself. Only to haunt his former friend! A funny story, with a very comedic ending!
The Ventriloquist’s Dummy
Maxwell Frere: “I knew you’d come back.”
A mean-spirited ventriloquist’s dummy humiliates his ventriloquist. And he thinks a competitor is trying to steal his dummy. And, he commits murder to prevent it. Frankly, the ending reminds me of the ending of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Cast of characters in Dead of Night
- Mervyn Johns (Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo)… Walter Craig. The central character, with the recurring nightmare.
- Roland Culver (The Uncanny) … Eliot Foley
- Mary Merrall … Mrs. Foley
- Googie Withers … Joan Cortland (segment “The Haunted Mirror“)
- Frederick Valk … Dr. Van Straaten (segment “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy“)
- Anthony Baird … Hugh Grainger / (segment “The Hearse Driver“)
- Sally Ann Howes (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) … Sally O’Hara (segment “Christmas Party“)
- Robert Wyndham … Dr. Albury (segment “The Hearse Driver“)
- Judy Kelly … Joyce Grainger (segment “The Hearse Driver“)
- Miles Malleson (The Brides of Dracula) … Hearse Driver (segment “The Hearse Driver“)
- Michael Allan … Jimmy Watson (segment “Christmas Story“)
- Barbara Leake … Mrs. O’Hara
- Ralph Michael (The Hasty Heart) … Peter Cortland (segment “The Haunted Mirror“)
- Esme Percy … Antique Dealer (segment “The Haunted Mirror“)
- Basil Radford … George Parratt (segment “Golfing Story“)
- Naunton Wayne … Larry Potter (segment “Golfing Story“)
- Peggy Bryan … Mary Lee (segment “Golfing Story“)
- Allan Jeayes … Maurice Olcott (segment “The Ventiloquist’s Dummy“)
- Michael Redgrave … Michael Redgrave (segment “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy“)
Editorial review of Dead of Night courtesy of Amazon.com
A group of strangers, mysteriously gathered at an isolated country estate, recount chilling tales of the supernatural.
- First, a racer survives a brush with death only to receive terrifying premonitions from beyond the grave.
- Then a teen’s innocent game of hide-and-seek leads to an encounter with the macabre.
- Next, a young couple purchases an antique mirror that unleashes a horrific power from its past.
- In a lighter vein, two competitive golfers play for stakes that may haunt the winner forever.
- Finally, a renowned ventriloquist descends into an abyss of madness and murder when his dummy develops a mind of its own.
But even after these frightening tales are told, does one final nightmare await them all? Britain’s venerable Eagling Studios brought together four brilliant directors, Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob), Basil Deaden (The Mind Benders), Alberto Cavalcanti (They Made Me a Fugitive) and Robert Hamer (It Always Rains on Sunday) to create this classic chiller that remains one of the most influential horror films ever made.