Fear in the Night – UK, 1972

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Fear in the Night is a 1972 British psychological horror thriller feature film produced and directed by Jimmy Sangster from a screenplay co-written with Michael Syston. The Hammer Film Production stars Judy Geeson (10 Rillington Place, Inseminoid), Joan Collins (Tales from the Crypt), Ralph Bates and Peter Cushing.

In the United States, it was released on a double-bill with Demons of the Mind

Fear in the Night was the last of three features directed by Hammer screenwriter/producer Jimmy Sangster, following The Horror of Frankenstein and Lust for a Vampire, both in 1970.

On 30 October 2017, Studiocanal reissued the film in the UK remastered on Blu-ray + DVD. The release includes a featurette, End of Term: Inside Fear in the Night and the trailer.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

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Plot:

A young woman recovering from a nervous breakdown moves with her husband to a boys’ school, but finds herself being terrorised by a mysterious one-armed man – and nobody believes her…

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Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Geeson is impressive in a role which requires her to show weakness and mental fragility yet still keep viewers identifying with her. The plot is pleasingly twisted and the climax suitably dramatic, if a little drawn out. Though there’s not much to make the film stand out…” Jennie Kermode. Eye for Film

“The acting is quite good from everyone here; Judy Geeson and Joan Collins do fine, fourth-billed Peter Cushing is excellent as usual, and Ralph Bates gives the best performance of his that I’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, it’s at the service of one of the most predictable scripts I’ve encountered in some time…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“A relatively by the numbers rift on Les Diaboliques (1955), director Sangster compensates for the minimalist script by wringing every last possible drop of atmosphere out of prowling through the deserted classrooms, dormitories and across the windswept school grounds after woman-in-terror Peggy. ” Paul Worts, Fleapits and Picture Palaces

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Fear in the Night is a good, if somewhat slow-moving film. The quality of production, the acting and the twisty climax make the film worth watching throughout. While certainly not one of Hammer’s best, or most remembered works, it should still please Hammer fans and all those looking for an unfolding and dramatic film.” Rhett Millar, Horror Digital

“One can pull the coincidences in Fear in the Night apart but it does work. It works particularly from the director’s chair where Jimmy Sangster demonstrates a slick ability in telling an economically constructed film. All the twists work effectively. Sangster constructs some nice shocks…” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Quite simply it becomes far fetched and whilst maybe that worked back in 1972 it certainly struggles now some 40 plus years later.” Andy Webb, The Movie Scene

“Excellent performances from each of the four primary cast members, good secluded schoolhouse atmospherics from Hammer, packs some nice plot surprises.” The Terror Trap

Choice dialogue:

Robert Heller (Ralph Bates) referring to Peggy Heller (Joan Collins): “Hmm, she can be a terrible bitch.”

Cast and characters:

  • Judy Geeson … Peggy Heller
  • Joan Collins … Molly Carmichael
  • Ralph Bates … Robert Heller
  • Peter Cushing … The Headmaster – Michael Carmichael
  • James Cossins … The Doctor
  • Gillian Lind … Mrs. Beamish
  • Brian Grellis … 2nd Policeman
  • John Bown … 1st Policeman
  • Jimmy Gardner … Psychiatrist [uncredited]

Trivia:

The working title was The Claw.

Tom Chantrell artwork for original poster design

The movie was later retitled Dynasty of Fear for American VHS release to exploit Joan Collins’ fame in the TV soap opera Dynasty.

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ten years

Buy Ten Years of Terror: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

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