A Passion For Horror
Fear in the Night
After they have exchanged their, ‘I love you’s
Peggy hangs up the phone
and decides to take a bath, but is attacked from behind by an unseen
assailant. She puts up a struggle and manages to rip of her attacker’s
prosthetic arm. The arm falls to the floor and is the last
that she sees before passing out.
When Peggy awakes she find Mrs Beamish and a doctor at her bedside, but neither of them believe she has been attacked. Peggy has recently recovered from a mental breakdown and they find it much easier put the whole thing down to her imagination. Even if nobody believes her story Peggy can console herself with the thought that she will be gone in the morning and can leave her troubles behind her. Dream on Peg.
The school is out in the countryside and the headmaster Mr Carmichael has given the Hellers a nice little cottage next to school. He and his wife live in a private wing behind the main building, but with all the boys on holiday, and Robert spending so much of his time running errands for the headmaster, poor Peggy has to spend a lot of time on her own. A nice little cottage, singing birds and plenty of fresh air; it doesn’t sound too bad really, does it? And Peggy has always dreamed of a life in the country, but on her first night there, she notices a strange figure lurking outside the school. Robert assures her there is nobody there, but explains that if she did see anyone it was probably only the headmaster. Apparently he has a habit of wandering around the school on a night.
On her second day at the School Peggy decides to do
a little exploring on her own and
runs into the headmaster, who offers to give
her a guided tour. Carmichael is a stern-looking man, but he seems to
be amicable enough. A little creepy perhaps, but harmless. He is also
armless, but Peggy fails to notice that.
Peggy meets Mrs Carmichael a little later, out in the woods. It doesn’t take too much of her women’s intuition to work out the headmaster’s wife is a grade A bitch, and it is apparent from the start that although they may be willing to go through the motions these two ladies are never going to be friends. Peggy has other things to worry about though. The one armed man has already attacked her again, this time in the cottage, and, just like Mrs Beamish, Robert puts everything down to Peggy’s imagination. Not surprisingly it is not long before she appears to be headed for another breakdown.
Fear in the Night probably contains more of the elements of a thriller than a horror movie, but the school is a suitably creepy setting and it becomes apparent fairly early on in the movie that there is something not quite right about the school and its headmaster. Even for non-term-time the school is very clean and the boys—if there are indeed any boys—have left behind very little evidence of their residence at the school.
Peter Cushing was a good choice for the role of
headmaster, and Joan Collins
displays her natural talent for playing the bitch, but you might be
surprised to hear that neither one of them has very much screen time.
Alan Bates gets to spend a little more time in front of the camera, but
all in all this is a movie for Judy Geeson fans and she does a good job
of bringing her character to life. She probably shines her brightest
though, in the scenes were Peggy seems to be bordering on another
If you decide to watch Fear in the Night you will feel plenty of suspense, and possibly a few chills, but if you are looking for high action and plenty of thrills you will probably be disappointed. Fear in the Night has a much slower pace than modern movies and it has to be said that it ends with more of a fizzle than a bang. All the loose ends are tied up, however, and everything makes sense. I for one can’t ask for more than that and I would happily watch this one again sometime.