Friday, July 17, 2009

"Dead of Night"(1977)d/Dan Curtis

I shouldn't have to tell you how rad it was being a kid in the 1970's with Dan Curtis(Dark Shadows,Night Stalker,Trilogy of Terror,Burnt Offerings,etc.) churning out ample made-for-television horror pics, but I think I just did anyway, so we've got that covered.This particular entry,sharing name only with another Curtis pilot from 1969 was a pilot for a proposed anthology series that aired in March of '77.Horror anthologies are a lot like lengths of chain,in that they're only as effective as the weakest link therein.Of course, when you've got horror author extraordinaire,Richard Matheson(who wrote the two standout stories here and penned the screenplay from a Jack Finney story for the other) sitting at the typewriter, chances are, you're gonna make out alright in the end.Though this is one of his lesser known pieces,it remains surprisingly effective for the most part,and is an enjoyable 75 minute ride of reminiscence to the days when horror was,indeed,king,even on the small screen,and Curtis was one of its biggest proponents.I vividly remember quite a few goosebumps this one sent under my footie pajamas back then.
Ed Begley Jr. plus 1926 Jordan Playboy divided by slip in the time continuum still equals not scary.
The first tale,"Second Chance",although an otherwise interesting story for sure,is the weakest of the three in knocking horri-balls outta the park.Ed Begley,Jr. restores a vintage 1926 Jordan Playboy to original showroom condition and while taking her for a leisurely spin,he drives right through a pesky slip in the time continuum and finds himself in 1926.While walking around his town some fifty years in the past,someone seemingly steals his car,forcing him to walk back to the present time.Gotta hate when that happens.His girlfriend's grandfather surprises him with the prospect of...a rusty 1926 Jordan Playboy in his garage that he can restore and have if he allows the old man one more ride in her.Are you shaking in your booties yet? Yeah,me neither. Next.
"No Such Thing as a Vampire" is an atmospheric gothic piece(Curtis' bread and butter,if ya didn't know)where we find Patrick Macnee as a wealthy nobleman whose wife is being drained nightly by an unseen bloodsucker.When he calls in a skeptical friend of the family for help,all is not as it seems in the spacious mansion,leading the viewer to an unexpectedly satisfying twist ending as only Matheson can deliver.Much,much better.
On Patrick's wife Horst set his aim,but Elisha had a different stake to claim.
The final story,"Bobby",is my favorite of the three and the one I have the fondest memories of,from watching as a wee mediterranean.Joan Hackett,who's lost her son in a drowning "accident",turns to the blackest of arts to restore life in her beloved child,whose body was never found.When she gets what she asks for,and her son appears on the doorstep,still soaking wet,she unwittingly sets a dark game of cat and mouse into play,where her son stalks her all over the house amidst a brutal thunderstorm.The lightning offsets the shadowy darkness of the huge estate,the tension building to a crescendo in unison with the violent storm outside as Bobby reveals a terrible secret.Her son killed himself rather than live with her,and not wanting to return to the land of the living,sent a demon instead!And not just any demon,we're talking the creepiest of demonic midgets here.If you're one of those people who get freaked out by little people in the first place,expect your skin to crawl right off the bone by the climax of this one.Cough,cough...Skittles.
Demonic midgets?Phew,that's just blowing the lid off the creepometer over here.
Although this pilot went the same way as Curtis' "The Norliss Tapes"(1973)(which we'll be dissecting shortly,little brothers),it packs enough thrills in the second two-thirds to merit at least a few viewings,for sure.Though we lost Curtis to a brain tumor three years ago,at the age of 78,his vast body of work for both the big and small screen remains at our disposal and will continue to terrify and entertain horror fans for decades to come.He'll always be a favorite director of mine,and this entry is a fine example of his handiwork.On the glorious scale du Wop,it merits a very satisfactory:
Ahem.You see that, Skittles?


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viagra online said...

I saw those movies, and I admit it they are scaring :S
haha for 70s they really scare me hehe not in a way like my heart would stop or something like that but yeah they are really nice movies, people should watch this and the cinemas should show old movies.
Thanks for sharing, good post.

sildenafil said...

this is the scariest movie I've ever seen, it caused a flow of shiver in my spine when i saw it... just kidding, this movie is just another crap.

beedubelhue said...

It could have been worse, Dan Curtis COULD have been a spam poster advertising hard on pills.


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