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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Fear In The Night (1972/Hammer/Anchor Bay DVD)

Fear In The Night (1972/Hammer/Anchor Bay DVD)

Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: B-

Jimmy Sangster's Fear In The Night (1972) is a psychological thriller about a young bride (Judy Geeson) who believes a mysterious one-armed man is stalking her. A previous nervous breakdown leaves her questioning even her own sanity. Is the assailant real, or just a figment of her imagination? A move with her husband (Ralph Bates) to a rural boarding school run by the eccentric headmaster (Peter Cushing) and his younger-than-he wife (Joan Collins) further complicates matters. Sounds from (supposedly?) empty rooms, exposure to bizarre, strange, unknown cultures, and Cushing's eerie presence help to set the tone of this picture.

Producer/co-writer/director Sangster does a fine job of spinning this tale, despite the fact it seems like a story we have seen before. The film is subtle and talky. The segue ways here are quite unnerving. The audience is left questioning more than just the girl's sanity as things move along. The soundtrack and superb performances help to sell the drama.

The transfer for this DVD is average, but can look crisp and terrific at times, thanks to the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image. The color does not quite look right, i.e. not the color usually associated with Hammer productions of the time and this was a three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor release, so a Blu-ray will need a corrected print. Trying to make it look like modern color does not work, though the transfer is supposedly off of original camera materials. This is obviously not a typical Hammer film anyhow, but that still does not help. The image also has some grain and lack of sharpness in parts. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad for a monophonic film of its time either, but the age of the sound still shows.

Extras for this film are a running feature-length audio commentary with Sangster and Hammer Films Historian Marcus Hearns, along with the theatrical trailer. Though this is not a major film in the Hammer catalog, there had to be something more to offer. With so many films offering extended, enhanced content, I was left wanting for more.

Fear In The Night doesn't have the jump start opening scene that highlights many other Hammer films. It is a slow burn, and is best suited to be so. So much so, in fact, that we can still be delighted to take the journey that culminates in such a dynamic climax.

- Michael M. Burkett


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