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Night Creatures Blu-ray Review

“Night Creatures” is a top tier Hammer film.

Partially based on Russell Thorndike’s “Doctor Syn” novels (which have also been adapted by Disney), 1962’s “Night Creatures” (AKA “Captain Clegg”) is billed as an adventure-horror film and that’s fairly accurate. The story starts in 1776 in which a sailor has his tongue taken out before being banished to an island by his Captain (Clegg) before jumping to 1792 in the Romney Marshes in England. It is here where Clegg is now allegedly buried. Strange things happen in this town. There are legends of marsh phantoms (men in skeletons riding horses in skeleton outfits) and there are apparently alcohol smugglers that are being sought after by the Royal Navy. The smugglers and the phantoms, however, might not be what they seem.

Hammer may be best known for horror films and while this certainly has horror elements (namely the marsh phantoms), it’s more of a pirate tale than anything else. And a good one at that. Director Peter Graham Scott and writer John Elder have crafted a tightly paced yarn brimming with excitement, intrigue, memorable characters, action, and note perfect location shooting (which feels like a character itself). There are no wasted moments here and there’s no unnecessary build-up. It unfolds in a way in which secrets are revealed little by little which only adds to the entertainment value. Can you see the story elements coming? Sure, but the way the story is told is nothing short of involving.

The cast only elevates the already fun swashbuckling adventure. Peter Cushing looks like he’s having the time of his life as Reverend Blyss. Oliver Reed may have a small role as Harry, but it’s a memorable one. Character actor Michael Ripper shines as the coffin maker Jeremiah while Patrick Allen gives a commanding performance as Captain Collier.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.00:1 1080p. How does it look? The Blu-ray disc boasts a print with a new 2k 2022 scan from the interpositive. The result is a nice crisp print that will surely please Hammer aficionados. 

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a fine, respectable Mono track.

Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* Image gallery
* A new interview with special effects assistant Brian Johnson who talks about Les Bowie and the film.
* “The Mossman Legacy: George Mossman’s Carriage Collection”- A brief featurette on the man’s life.
* “Making Of Captain Clegg”- A thorough 32 minute making of featurette that touches on author Russell Thorndike, Peter Cushing and the cast, the production and more.
* “The Hammer Must Fall- Peter Cushing’s Changing Directions”- This 28 minute extra covers Cushing’s career, his interests, his involvement with “Night Creatures” and horror films, and many more details.
* “Pulp Friction- The Cinematic Captain Clegg”-Kim Newman talks about literary origins.
* Commentary by film historian Bruce Hallenbeck.

April 19, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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