Night Creatures

Day Sixteen of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Countdown Day Sixteen

Night Creatures
It’s 1792, Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) and his men are after a group of smugglers reputed to be operating out of Romney Marsh, a coastal village surrounded by marshland, whose twin claims to fame are that it’s the final resting place of the notorious pirate, Captain Clegg, and that the surrounding marsh is haunted by spectral horsemen.  Collier anchors his ship and rows inland with a landing party of sailors to search for evidence. Instead of the expected cache of illegal liquor Collier finds his informant has dropped dead of fright, the result of an encounter the night before with the phantoms of the marsh.  This coincidence only fans the flames of suspicion in Collier’s mind.

Collier’s investigation is hampered repeatedly and indirectly by the local vicar, Parson Blyss (Peter Cushing), seems to take delight in Collier’s increasing frustration.  Eventually Collier and his men head into the marsh to confront the skeletal horsemen that are said to roam about there at night.

Peter Cushing’s performance as Parson Blyss is one of my all time favorites.  Blyss, ever polite and cheerful, takes the attitude of an indulgent elder dealing with a stupid child when confronting Collier.  Every scene with both Cushing and Allen is gold.  There is also a romantic subplot between a local barmaid (Yvonne Romain) and the son of the local squire (Oliver Reed).  This is one of the few times I’ve seen Reed in a film where he doesn’t give off the dark, dirtbaggy vibe that I often get from him.

I have loved this movie since I saw it as kid long, long ago, late one Saturday night at my grandmother’s house.   In my opinion Night Creatures (known as Captain Clegg in the UK) is an often overlooked jewel in Hammer Film’s catalog.

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