Scream Factory has done a tremendous job of bringing a lot of the lesser-known Hammer Horror films to Blu-ray in America. I’ve written reviews for many of them and have really enjoyed the surprisingly well-plotted and acted films, often featuring early roles by some very big film stars. I was recently given the chance to review their latest offering, 1962’s Night Creatures which be releasing on April 19th.
Night Creatures is interesting because I found the movie to be much less a horror film and more a crime caper almost in the model of something like Ocean’s 11. Set in 1792, a coastal English town is involved in smuggling in untaxed French wines when the government tax enforcement arrives to try to catch them in the act. The ‘horror’ element here is a wild card of phantom horse riders that are apparently racing through the marshes and terrorizing locals.
Anchored by Peter Cushing and a young Oliver Reed, and also moving at a fast clip in its brief 82-minute runtime; Night Creatures was an enjoyable and compelling film. The film is titled Captain Clegg back in the UK but changed in America (this is a good thing as the original title is a total spoiler when you watch the movie). Its only downside was a tendency to telegraph the plot reveals well in advance so don’t be surprised if you figure the ending out in the first third of the movie.
The film on Scream Factory’s disc looks beautiful, having just received a new 2022 2K scan. The image is very clean, and the colors really pop. The artwork on the disc slipcover seems to reflect this with a wonderful image of the phantom horsemen in blues and browns with bright red lettering for the title. This is a Collector’s Edition and Scream Factory has put together a large, if peculiar, assortment of extras on the disc. Given the films age, there are fewer cast and crew still with us, so the audio commentary is provided by a historian, and they did secure an interview with someone who worked on the effects team. There are the standard making-of doc and the trailer and image gallery, but then there is also a short doc on the vintage carriages that were provided for the film and the history of the man who maintained them.
Adam Ruhl is a writer and life long Cinephile. He is the Executive
Cinema Editor of Pop Culture Beast’s Austin branch; covering festivals,
conventions, and new releases. When not filing reports, Adam can be
found stalking Alamo Drafthouse Programmers for leads on upcoming
DrafthouseFilms titles. Adam once blocked Harry Knowles entrance to a
theater until he was given extra tickets to a Roman Polanski movie.