Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 7th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1973
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Brian Hayles
Cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Diana Dors, Georgia Brown, Keith Barron, Gwyneth Strong
DVD released: October 18th, 2011
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: The trustees of a orphanage find themselves the target of a psychopath.
Nothing but the Night was directed by Peter Sasdy who is most known for a trio of films that he directed for Hammer Films, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Countess Dracula and Hands of the Ripper. The screenplay for Nothing but the Night was written by Brian Hayles, who is most known for his work on the T.V. series Doctor Who. The screenplay for Nothing but the Night was adapted from British author John Blackburn’s novel of the same. Though he wrote a handful of novels within the horror genre, he is actually more known for his work within the thriller genre, most notably ‘The Gaunt Woman’ which was adapted into the made for T.V. movie Destiny of a Spy. Nothing but the Night was the first and only film to immerge from Christopher Lee’s Charlemagne Productions. Other alternative titles that Nothing but the Night is also known under include The Resurrection Syndicate and The Devil’s Undead.
Content wise. Nothing but the Night though there are elements in this production that one would normally associate with the horror film genre, this film can be best summed up as a supernatural thriller.
And while the narrative is not much more than your standard whodunit yarn, with the film’s finale twists everything up to that point on its head. This dramatic shift in tone, is not only jarring, it is a bitter pill to swallow, due to the farfetched explanation given to the events which have just unfolded.
From a pacing stand point, things tend to move at a leisurely pace, which makes it hard for each new revelation to have any lasting impact. The direction can be best describe as workman like, with only the revelation moments showing any hint of style. Of course the films most interesting moment visually is saved for its climax.
Though Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man) and Peter Cushing (The Horror of Dracula) are billed as this films lead performers, their performances are this films weakest link. When it comes to the performance that leaves the strongest impression, that would easily be Gwyneth Strong in the role of a young girl named Mary, who’s mysterious accident at the beginning of the film, sets the bizarre events that unfold in this film into motion. Another performance of note is Diana Dors (Theater of Blood) in the role Mary’s slightly unhinged mother, who has recently been released from prison. Ultimately Nothing but the Night is an overly ambitious production that struggles to find its voice and when it finally does hit its stride by its final act, it is too little, too late by then.
Scorpion Releasing presents Nothing but the Night in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels fare well. There are some mild instances of print debris, nothing that is ever to distracting. It should be noted that in some scenes that edge enhancement is more prominent then it is in other scenes.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no problems with distortion, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 50 seconds -anamorphic widescreen), a text based extra that includes liners note about the film and a text based interview with director Peter Sasdy. Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature. Rounding out the extras are trailers for The Devil Within Her, Humongous, Final Exam and The Incubus. This release comes with a reversible cover that features the cover art with Katarina Leigh Waters or a second option without her on the cover. Overall Nothing but the Night gets a good DVD release from Scorpion Releasing.