The Hand of Night – UK, 1966 – overview and review

   

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The Hand of Night (also released as The Beast of Morocco) is a 1966 British horror film directed by Frederic Goode. The movie stars William Sylvester, Diane Clare (Witchcraft; The Vulture) and Aliza Gur.

Plot:

After losing his wife and child in a car accident, Paul Carver (William Sylvester, also in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Die Monster, Die and Gorgoseeks solace in Morocco whilst on a business trip but is soon unsettled and is torn between archaeology assistant Chantal (Diane Clare from The Haunting and Plague of the Zombiesand sultry temptress Marisa (Alizia Gur) who has an even more exciting occupation as leader of a desert-based cult of vampires. Carver slowly descends into depression and confusion and the vampire sees an opportunity to lure him into her harem of the damned…

Considering it was released at the height of vampire interest post-Christopher Lee’s Dracula debut, the film takes little heed of the conventions and styles that had already been developed and instead conjures up a decidedly mysterious and down-beat atmosphere. Shot almost entirely on location in Morocco, the feeling of alienation and exotic landscapes add to the narrative of Carver’s despair and loss and offer a completely unique slant to the vampire mythos.

Although it’s rather ponderous and lacks enough blood and action to elevate it to the premier league of vamp-pics (that said, there is one oddly thrilling living dead destruction), it’s an engrossing watch, in particular the atmospheric night scenes which are shot in daylight through a filtered lens and have a really spooky twilight quality. Worth seeking out though – at the time of writing – we still await an official DVD release.

Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA

x-cert british independent horror film 1951-1970 john hamilton hemlock film

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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