July 21st, 2012: Dead of Night (1945)

Cast and Crew:  H.G. Wells (Author of “Golfing Story”)

What It’s About: Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) experiences a strong sense of déjà vu when he arrives at the house of a prospective client.  There he meets a group of people that he’s sure he’s met before though none of them know him.  He realizes that where he knows them from is a recurring dream, which starts pleasantly, but becomes a nightmare.  He never remembers the details very long when he wakes up.  Each of the guests, in turn, tell Walter of their own supernatural experience…and with each tale Walter becomes more certain that  he is trapped in his dream…

Why Watch it Today?: When I was a boy, my older brother owned a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll.  The doll unnerved me, and, whenever possible, I’d shove it under my brother’s bed, hide it in closets, or beat on it.  Eventually I gave the doll away to one of my cousins, after a particularly unnerving nightmare about the doll coming out from under the bed and pulling me down towards it.  I awoke lying on the floor, staring at the doll, grinning at me from under the bed.  Needless to say, horror movies featuring ventriloquist dummies put me on edge, but there is none that matches Dead of Night, which caps off a series of mood building stories with the creepiest dummy in film history.  Today is the last day of the Vent Haven Convention, the world’s largest and oldest ventriloquist convention.  I am very happy that it is far, far away from me.

Where to Get It: Watch the film on YouTube:

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