Dead of Night is a 1977 American made-for-television anthology fantasy horror film directed by Dan Curtis (Burnt Offerings; Dark Shadows; The Norliss Tapes; Trilogy of Terror). It originally premiered on NBC on March 29, 1977.
The film consists three stories written by Richard Matheson (although the first segment, “Second Chance”, was adapted from a story by Jack Finney). The third story, “Bobby” was recycled by Curtis and Matheson for Trilogy of Terror II (1996).
Dead of Night was released on DVD by Dark Sky Films in 2009. The extras include a 1969 TV pilot episode, “Darkness At Blaisedon”, for a Dead of Night television program.
Ed Begley Jr. (Ghostbusters; Transylvania 6-5000), Anjanette Comer (Netherworld; The Baby; The Night of a Thousand Cats), Patrick Macnee (Masque of the Red Death; The Howling; Incense for the Damned), Horst Buchholz (The Savage Bees), Elisha Cook Jr. (Messiah of Evil; Black Zoo) and Joan Hackett (The Possessed; How Awful About Allan).
Second Chance: A young man named Frank (Ed Begley Jr.) restores a 1926 Jordan Playboy roadster and finds himself transported back in time…
- Ed Begley Jr. as Frank
- E.J. André as Mr. McCauley
- Ann Doran as Mrs. McCauley
- Christina Hart as Helen
No Such Thing as a Vampire: Alexis (Anjanette Comer) is a noblewoman who seems to be actively terrorised by a bloodsucking vampire. Her husband, Doctor Gheria (Patrick Macnee), attempts to deal with her terror by engaging the services of a friend, Michael (Horst Buchholz)…
- Patrick Macnee as Doctor Gheria
- Anjanette Comer as Alexis
- Elisha Cook Jr. as Karel
- Horst Buchholz as Michael
Bobby: A grieving mother (Joan Hackett) uses black magic to resurrect her drowned son, Bobby (Lee H. Montgomery) and the lengths she will go to see him again.
- Joan Hackett as Mother
- Lee H. Montgomery as Bobby
“Bobby” is a fright-filled gem, and even though Matheson’s story somewhat relies on the familiar Monkey’s Paw theme, it’s a gratifying segment — with a truly terrific final shock — that’s in a class with “Amelia” from Trilogy of Terror. As a whole, Dead of Night runs a brisk, enjoyable 73 minutes, and it’s admittedly the last segment that makes it all worthwhile.” DVD Drive-In
“A pitch-perfect miniature, “Bobby” is a perfect example of how to tighten the screws through skilful performances and taught, imaginative writing … Everyone’s at the top of their game here, and the story manages to wrap up with the single most terrifying moment ever broadcast on network TV.” Nathaniel Thompson, DVD Delirium 4
” …this made-for-TV anthology features three tales; two of which are only fair and the last good enough to make the rest of it worth sitting through.” The Bloody Pit of Horror
“Good performances highlight this solid trilogy of telehorror from director Curtis … Hackett is especially superb in the memorably creepy Bobby episode…the last image a haunting capper.” The Terror Trap
“My favorite bit involves a mocking, paranoia inspiring phone call from the never seen Dad. It’s a classic moment of all-consuming dread that really gets under your skin. As mediocre as Dead of Night begins, this last tale more than makes up for it. “Bobby” is not only classic Dan Curtis, it’s some serious classic Kindertrauma as well.” Kindertrauma
“Dead of Night is an enjoyable anthology, it never emerges from the limitations of this form of storytelling, but it has at least one stand out segment, and in all honesty, that’s a pretty good result for an anthology horror film.” The Celluloid Highway
Image credits: Parlor of Horror