Scary Movies: Night Creatures

Another Hammer feature, this was our family movie last Saturday. Hammer movies are great–atmospheric and with fine acting (often from mainstays Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) and good production values, despite generally being fairly low budget. Night Creatures is an odd one, as unlike most Hammer films, it doesn’t use one of the established movie monsters (vampire, werewolf, etc.). Instead it has an intriguing original story with some really impressive imagery, as you can see from the picture to the right.

Something of a rarity, and one of my personal favorites, with fine acting and a very clever script. It takes place in an English coastal town long known as a center for smuggling untaxed wine and spirits into England, as well as for its local legend about “marsh phantoms.” When Captain Collier and his men show up to investigate smuggling reports, they find themselves stymied by the local parson, played by Peter Cushing, who is both a genuinely dedicated clergyman but also the mastermind behind the town’s smuggling operation. Captain Collier disbelieves the local marsh phantom superstition and is determined to take his men out on the march at night to intercept the smugglers. This may not be a wise choice on his part!

Story/Plot/Characters–Well-acted, script fits together like a machine, great characters. Generally good pace except a couple scenes are a bit slow. (3.5 points)
Special Effects–Effective effects for what they are. The marsh phantoms are fine, although I don’t think they’d bear pausing the screen. Some scenes feel a bit sound-stagey. (1 point)
Scariness–Not especially frightening, but some tense moments. (.5 points)
Atmosphere/Freakiness–Very atmospheric, although it lacks some of the isolated feeling I like in horror movies. (1.5 points)
Total=6.5 points

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