Cole-o-ween: Day 2

Day 2 of Queue De Grâce is here at Spectacular Optical and Cole of vitagraph, american has another old timey horror film for my viewing pleasure. It’s a British portmanteau from 1945 called, DEAD OF NIGHT!

I had never heard of this one before but I was ready for another spook show from days gone by. The opening got me pretty stoked with some killer music, names like Googie, Esmé, Basil and Naunton in the credits, and  the familiar yet comfortable “group of strangers get together to exchange stories” set up. But once the stories started  it seemed like the clock stopped as my enthusiasm waned.

Watching DEAD reminded me of  THE TWILIGHT ZONE but it failed to really suck me in like Mr. Sterling‘s late 50s television show. Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of anthology films (or short story collections for that matter) and this expertly made classic was not immune to my disinterest in the format.

I enjoyed the linking narrative more than the individual tales of  the supernatural and found my mind drifting back to the awesome Frederick Valk as Dr. van Straaten and his wacky, but authentic, Mitteleuropa accent during some of the less engaging sequences.

I was happy that Valk had a small part in the last and arguably best story in the film, THE VENTRILOQUIST’S DUMMY. Of course the real stars were Hugo as the misanthropic dummy and Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave as his tormented ventriloquist. I have a sneaking suspicion Cole chose this film especially for this segment…knowing I’d sit through this Tootise Pop of a movie just to get to it’s delicious center.

So, with all that being said here’s the breakdown…

Things I liked:

  • Dr. van Straaten
  • The Linking narrative
  • The Ventriloquist’s Dummy sequence
  • According to Wikipedia: The circular plot of DEAD OF NIGHT inspired Fred Hoyle’s Steady State model of the universe, developed in 1948

Things I disliked:

  • That it was an anthology film
  • 3 out of 5 stories left me cold
  • Sally Ann Howes as Sally O’Hara

As Hugo says, “Goodbye, sleep tight and wake up sober.”

Oh wait before you go, here’s a teaser for what tomorrow has in store…looks promising!

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3 Responses to “Cole-o-ween: Day 2”

  1. cole roulain Says:

    you guess correctly. i put this on the list primarily for the hugo sequence. i also thought you would enjoy the pre-twilight zone vibe of the thing. i was just taking a shot with the portmanteau film. i know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s such a staple of the genre that i would have felt remiss if i hadn’t put one on here, especially such an influential one.

  2. Corey Convex Says:

    Overall it was well done and I can totally see the influence it’s had on film and television. The linking narrative was superb and the end wouldn’t have had it’s creepy impact without everyone’s story. I’d recommended DEAD as a great rainy Saturday afternoon film if THE THING or BEASTMASTER wasn’t on cable.

  3. Gentlemen, Control Your Puppets Please « Spectacular Optical Corp. Says:

    […] dummy they immediately go to  MAGIC, “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy” segment of DEAD OF NIGHT, the TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode (with the not so original title of ) “The […]


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