Horror anthology. Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) arrives at country house Pilgrim Farm thinking that he has been hired to remodel it. He finds the building strangely familiar, and upon entering discovers that he recognizes all of the house's occupants from a recurring nightmare he has experienced. One by one, everyone present relates their own horrific nightmare: Grainger (Anthony Baird) dreams that he is a racing driver recuperating from an accident; teenager Sally O'Hara (Sally Ann Howes) dreams of a Christmas party where she discovers a lone crying child; Joan Courtland (Googie Withers) relates a story of an antique mirror linked to an ancient murder; the next story concerns two golfers who vie murderously for the attention of a young lady; and the final story features a ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) whose dummy comes to life.
While horror conventions may change from generation to generation, there are ideas that will scare us no matter what time period we inhabit. Dead of Night
is a classic horror anthology that effectively plays on those timeless fears. Mervyn Johns stars as a man who has been summoned to a house with a group of strangers he has never met but has seen in his dreams. As they convene, he predicts certain events will happen as they do in his dreams and when they do, the other guests relate their own experiences with the supernatural, including tales of a possessed mirror, a sinister ventriloquist's dummy and an eerie premonition of death. Throughout the group meeting, the protagonist fears something horrible will happen to him and we are left to wonder what it might be. The film's final, revelatory sequence offers an unexpectedly horrific surprise. It may have been made in 1945 but Dead of Night
is still spooky. --Bryan Reesman