Fear in the Night (1972)

Judy Geeson and Peter Cushing in Fear in the Night (1972)

Fear in the Night (1972)

Having spent some time visiting a doctor due to a nervous breakdown 6 month earlier Peggy Heller (Judy Geeson) has got to grips with her life and has married Robert (Ralph Bates), a teacher at a boarding school in the country where she is heading in the morning. But the night before she is due to leave she is attacked by in her bathroom by a man with a prosthetic arm and no one believes her. With a new life waiting for her Peggy decides to put it behind her and head to the school which as it is the end of term is empty other than the headmaster Michael Carmichael (Peter Cushing) and his wife Molly (Joan Collins). It doesn't go unnoticed that Michael has a prosthetic arm and when Peggy is attacked again she begins to suspect that Michael may behind it.

Slow as you go, that is the sensation you get watching Hammer's "Fear in the Night" as during the first 40 minutes all we have had to keep us interested is two attacks on Molly by a mystery man with a prosthetic arm and then a scene where Peter Cushing does his best to make Michael creepy around Molly. Unfortunately it is nowhere near enough to make "Fear in the Night" entertaining and unfortunately as the movie is built on Molly having just recovered from a nervous breakdown it is easy to spot that this is all about someone playing mind games with Molly to make her snap again.

Joan Collins in Fear in the Night (1972)

So what that means is that "Fear in the Night" becomes about which of the three people it is who is trying to make Molly snap. Is it the creepy Michael with Peter Cushing doing a nice job of making him creepy or maybe his wife Molly who is incredibly bitchy, with Joan Collins in her comfort zone making her a catty creature. Or could it be Robert with Ralph Bates making him nice and ordinary. The trouble is that you don't care who it is and the longer that "Fear in the Night" goes on the more contrived it becomes.

That is one of the main problems with "Fear in the Night" because as it tries to deliver a series of twists to increase the intrigue and the creepiness of the movie it goes too far. Quite simply it becomes far fetched and whilst maybe that worked back in 1972 it certainly struggles now some 40 plus years later.

What this all boils down to is that "Fear in the Night" might have entertained with its story of madness back in the 70s but now it seems ridiculously far fetched and not the tense experience I expected.