Dead of Night (1977)

dead of night dvd cover 1977 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Bobby, No Such Thing as a Vampire

Second Chance

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Dead of Night

Studio:   Dan Curtis Productions

Genre(s):   Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):   March 29, 1977

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

dead of night second chance ed begley jr

Wow…time traveling car…

A man named Frank (Ed Begley Jr.) finds himself transported to the past when he restores a car from the 1920s…but also discovers that changing the past could have an effect on his future.  A woman named Alexis (Anjanette Comer) is haunted ever night by a vampire intent on draining her blood, and her husband (Patrick Macnee) has a plan to stop the terror.  A mother (Joan Hackett) loses her son (Lee H. Montgomery) in a drowning and finds herself wracked with guilt.  When Bobby comes back, his mother learns that it might not be a blessing.

Directed by Dan Curtis, Dead of Night was a made-for-TV horror film.  It premiered on NBC on March 29, 1977.

Horror was alive and well on TV in the ’70s and there were some great and scary films.   Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and other horror entries were gold standards for not only TV but horror in general.  Dan Curtis directed Trilogy of Terror in 1975 with stories by Richard Matheson and here Curtis and Matheson team-up again for an anthology (with extra help by Jack Finney).

dead of night no such thing as a vampire patrick macnee

Well, there are other ways of getting rid of an adulterer

Anthologies are always iffy, and Dead of Night is no exception.  Despite being horror, the film plays out more as episodes of Night Gallery or even The Twilight Zone (Curtis proposed a series by the name Dead of Night in 1969 which might have gone a similar direction).  “Second Chance” (based on the 1956 story by Jack Finney) is a bit of a snoozer and not the best way to kick off the film.  The movie does improve with “No Such Thing as a Vampire” (based on Matheson’s 1959 story) which provides a twist ending to a standard vampire tale.  It is the final segment which seals the movie as a decent horror story with “Bobby” which was an original story penned by Matheson…and ends with a great chilling image.

The cast is quite typical for when the movie was made.  Ed Begley Jr. was all over TV at this period of time and Patrick Macnee was a horror and TV vet.  Joan Hackett gives it all as the grieving mother in Bobby but it’s the creepy Lee Montgomery who steals the  whole movie as the dutiful son who returns to his mother.

dead of night bobby ending monster h lee montgomery

I want to give you a hug, Mom

The movie unfortunately looks rather cheap.  Being a TV movie actually helps the film in that the creators probably were working with a small budget and needed to get the maximum scares from it.  The movie couldn’t go gory since it was on TV and instead builds suspense through “No Such Thing as a Vampire” and “Bobby”…which is effective.

Dead of Night isn’t a great horror film, but “Bobby” needs to be seen if nothing else.  The movie is readily available online and quick watch.  The TV horror from the mid-’70s to early ’80s was great, and it was great because it pushed the limits and was forced to do it through creativity rather than gore…often providing greater shocks and jumps.  Dead of Night was an interesting entry into this TV genre…just know how many doors there are in the house before you do.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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