Riding in at the end of Hammer’s dabbling with psycho-thrillers, Fear In The Night is an enjoyable, albeit slight romp that is likely to please fans of old-school British horror.

Showcasing a standout turn from lead Judy Geeson, backed up by Ralph Bates, Joan Collins and the man himself, Peter Cushing, director Jimmy Sangster’s effort shows flashes of brilliance, but never quite adds up to the sum of its parts.

Long in planning, Sangster and Michael Syson’s script centres on Geeson’s Peggy Heller, recovering from a nervous breakdown and very much still on edge.

Peggy has also recently married Robert (Bates), a schoolteacher who has just taken up a job at an isolated, idyllic countryside school, allowing the couple to leave their city dwellings and take up residence out in the sticks.

Trouble is, Peggy feels she is being stalked by an unseen menace with a prosthetic arm, although surprise, surprise no one seems to believe her.

Throw in the seemingly-sinister head of the school, Michael Carmichael (Cushing) and his brash wife Molly (Collins) and Peggy finds herself growing increasingly strained, teetering on the very edge of sanity.

Is she in jeopardy? Is somebody really out to get her? Or is it all merely in her mind?

To be honest, you don’t have to strain the grey matter too much to work that one out, and one of the faults of the film is that it is all a little bit predictable.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable though, and Fear In The Night contains a lot of those traits that make Hammer films, in my opinion, the comfort blanket of genre cinema.

Solid acting, a couple of scares and good production values are all in evidence, and the film moves along at a slick pace.

There are also a couple of memorable moments that will stick with you after the credits roll, most notably a haunting sweep across the school grounds over the opening credits that ends with the sight of a body hanging from a tree, soundtracked by a school choir.

Geeson delivers a good performance in what could very easily have become a hysterical role, Bates trades on his everyman charm, while Cushing and Collins offer up some somewhat over-the-top stylings that add to the mood.

Nobody would claim Fear In The Night to be classic Hammer fare, but it is certainly watchable and, via a new blu-ray that boasts impressive picture quality (as well as an interesting documentary) it is a recommended purchase.

Blu-Ray Review: Fear In The Night
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.