FEAR IN THE NIGHT (1972) Reviews of the Hammer psychological thriller

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fear in the night hammer

Fear in the Night is a 1972 British psychological horror thriller film produced and directed by Jimmy Sangster from a screenplay co-written with Michael Syston. The Hammer Film production stars Judy Geeson (10 Rillington Place, Inseminoid), Joan Collins (Tales from the Crypt), Ralph Bates and Peter Cushing.

Fear in the Night was the last of three features directed by Hammer screenwriter/producer Jimmy Sangster, following The Horror of Frankenstein and Lust for a Vampire, both in 1970. In the United States, Fear in the Night was released on a double bill with Demons of the Mind.


A young woman recovering from a nervous breakdown moves with her husband to a boys’ school, but finds herself being terrorised by a mysterious one-armed man – and nobody believes her…

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Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Geeson is impressive in a role which requires her to show weakness and mental fragility yet still keep viewers identifying with her. The plot is pleasingly twisted and the climax suitably dramatic, if a little drawn out. Though there’s not much to make the film stand out…” Eye for Film

“The acting is quite good from everyone here; Judy Geeson and Joan Collins do fine, fourth-billed Peter Cushing is excellent as usual, and Ralph Bates gives the best performance of his that I’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, it’s at the service of one of the most predictable scripts I’ve encountered in some time…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“A relatively by the numbers rift on Les Diaboliques (1955), director Sangster compensates for the minimalist script by wringing every last possible drop of atmosphere out of prowling through the deserted classrooms, dormitories and across the windswept school grounds after woman-in-terror Peggy.” Fleapits and Picture Palaces


Fear in the Night is a good, if somewhat slow-moving film. The quality of production, the acting and the twisty climax make the film worth watching throughout. While certainly not one of Hammer’s best, or most remembered works, it should still please Hammer fans and all those looking for an unfolding and dramatic film.” Horror Digital

“One can pull the coincidences in Fear in the Night apart but it does work. It works particularly from the director’s chair where Jimmy Sangster demonstrates a slick ability in telling an economically constructed film. All the twists work effectively. Sangster constructs some nice shocks…” Moria

“Quite simply it becomes far-fetched and whilst maybe that worked back in 1972 it certainly struggles now some 40-plus years later.” The Movie Scene

“Excellent performances from each of the four primary cast members, good secluded schoolhouse atmospherics from Hammer, packs some nice plot surprises.” The Terror Trap

Digital releases:
Scream Factory released Fear in the Night on Blu-ray on August 27, 2019.  The film is presented in two aspect ratios: 1.66:1 and 1.85:1. Special features:
Audio commentary with film historian Troy Howarth (new)
Audio commentary with co-writer/director Jimmy Sangster and Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn
Vintage interview with co-writer/director Jimmy Sangster
End of Term: Inside Fear in the Night
Theatrical trailer
Still gallery

On 30 October 2017, Studiocanal reissued the film in the UK remastered on Blu-ray + DVD. The release includes a featurette, End of Term: Inside Fear in the Night and the trailer.

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

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Choice dialogue:
Robert Heller (Ralph Bates) referring to Peggy Heller (Joan Collins): “Hmm, she can be a terrible bitch.”

Cast and characters:
Judy Geeson … Peggy Heller
Joan Collins … Molly Carmichael
Ralph Bates … Robert Heller
Peter Cushing … Michael Carmichael, the Headmaster
James Cossins … The Doctor
Gillian Lind … Mrs Beamish
Brian Grellis … Second Policeman
John Bown … First Policeman
Jimmy Gardner … Psychiatrist [uncredited]

Film Facts:
The working title was The Claw.

The movie was later retitled Dynasty of Fear for American VHS release to exploit Joan Collins’ fame in the TV soap opera Dynasty.

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fear in the night portrait




ten years

Buy Ten Years of Terror: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Filming locations:
Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire, England
Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England
Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, Butterfly Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire, England (school playing fields/pitches)
Letchmore Heath, Hertfordshire, England (Piggott’s Manor – now Bhaktivedanta Manor)

Tykes Water Lake, Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire, England

Filming dates:
15 November 15, 1971

Technical details:
1 hour 34 minutes

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