Already three trustees of the Van Traylen fund have died during the last months, looking like suicides. However after a mysterious accident of a bus with the last three trustees and 30 ...
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Betta St. John,
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John Llewellyn Moxey
Already three trustees of the Van Traylen fund have died during the last months, looking like suicides. However after a mysterious accident of a bus with the last three trustees and 30 orphan kids in it, police colonel Bingham starts investigating. First question is, how came that the dead bus driver is burnt when there was no fire during the accident? Dr. Ashley uses hypnosis to find the truth about the mysterious happenings. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Odd and unusual but nevertheless highly imaginative British supernatural horror/thriller story, once more pairing the two legendary genre veterans Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this time under the skillful direction of Peter Sasdy. "Nothing but the Night" somewhat plays in a league of its own, as you definitely can't compare it to the extremely popular contemporary Hammer productions. I even daresay this is quite a unique piece of Brit-horror, which is probably why it required the constitution of a brand new production company, named Charlemagne, that didn't last very long afterwards. "Nothing but the Night" may be overly convoluted and full of irregularities, but it's really not a bad film and it definitely doesn't deserve the embarrassingly low current IMDb rating of 3.2 out of 10! Adapted from a novel by John Blackburn, the screenplay offers up a very ambitious and compelling mixture of mystery, medical horror, creepy country sides and typically British police work. The film is incredibly fast paced (I can't fathom that some of my fellow reviewers call this movie boring) and the plot is literally a non-stop series of red herrings and vague clues, desperately attempting to avoid that any viewer would figure out the climax too fast. Let me tell you straight away: you won't guess the full denouement no matter how clairvoyant you are, as multiple story aspects and twists in "Nothing but the Night" are simply too absurd and implausible for normal human beings to even consider. Once again, though, this doesn't mean it's not fascinating and entertaining to look at. The film opens with an immediate attention-grabber, as we're right away treated to grisly images of three murders looking like suicide. Police Colonel Bingham (Christoper Lee) later explains to his friend Dr. Mark Ashley (Peter Cushing) that all victims were trustees of a prominent but highly secluded orphanage on a small Scottish island. When one of the orphanage's children is hospitalized after a mysterious bus accident, the young doctor Haynes wants to investigate the girl's bizarre nightmares, but the influential Van Traylen Fund trustees prevent this. The girl's flamboyant and aggressive birth mother also wants to reclaim her, but the orphanage lies isolated and well protected a small island only reachable by ferry boats. Some abrupt plot twists work very efficient, whereas other red herrings are blatantly obvious. For example, we're supposed to believe that Anna Harb the girl's real mother is a complete psychopath, but that would just be too easy. Peter Sasdy maintains a sinister atmosphere throughout and the Scottish isle and countryside filming locations are stupendous. There aren't many bloody moments, but there's a fair portion of suspense and a couple of shocking insinuations. Other people claim that both Lee and Cushing are underused in the film, which may perhaps be a little true, but their characters are terrific and I swear I've seen films where their names were more shamelessly exploited for even smaller roles (like "Scream and Scream Again", for instance). Not a masterpiece of Brit-horror, but a worthwhile movie in case you're looking for something creepy yet different.
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