Night Creatures (1962)

Genres - Adventure, Horror, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Supernatural Horror  |   Release Date - May 31, 1962 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Night Creatures is one of the best Hammer Films productions. It also happens to be one of the most unique. The imaginative script mixes historical adventure, mystery and some light horror elements to impressive, genre-busting effect. Characterizations are colorful throughout and there is also a political angle to the story, with the plot allowing the film to critique how the heavy rule of royalty can work against instead of for a community. Peter Cushing delivers what some fans consider his best performance as Dr. Blyss, offsetting the character's wily and mysterious bent with a warm-hearted kindness and wisdom that allows Cushing to show off his rarely tapped ability to charm an audience. There is also ace support from Oliver Reed as a brave young townsman and Michael Ripper, who has a blast playing the town's dryly humorous coffin-maker. Most importantly, Night Creatures is directed with considerable flair by Peter Graham Scott. He balances the complex needs of the narrative with skill while giving it all an impressive sense of forward momentum. In terms of thrills, he handles the action scenes with visceral flair and also brings much atmosphere to the film's macabre elements: some of the film's best moments are the scenes with the ghostly "horsemen" riding through the marsh in the dead of night. All in all, Night Creatures is a grand, old-fashioned adventure film and a must for anyone interested in Hammer's classic productions.