Also known as: Captain Clegg (UK)
Release Date: June 13th, 1962
Directed by: Peter Graham Scott
Written by: Anthony Hinds
Music by: Don Banks
Cast: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen, Oliver Reed, Michael Ripper
Major Pictures, Hammer Films, Universal-International, 82 Minutes
“Well if you’ve all done staring.” – Imogen, “If it’s all the same to you miss I’d like a few minutes more.” – Jack Pott
A movie featuring pirates should always feature a good amount of swashbuckling. This one doesn’t but it actually doesn’t hurt it, as it is a Hammer horror picture and there’s more emphasis on the creepy and weird than any sort of pirate action. For this film, non-swashbuckling pirates just work. But adding in some swashbuckling would’ve made it even cooler.
Also, this features three heavy hitters for Hammer with Peter Cushing, Oliver Reed and Michael Ripper. All three of these guys did multiple Hammer movies and their performances were always up to snuff and typically exceeded it.
That being said, I love this movie and I especially loved the concept of it, as well as how the monsters looked, what they actually were and how it all played out visually onscreen.
While Hammer was most known for their re-telling and re-imagining of classic monster stories, they’d always fill in the blanks with cool motion pictures like this that have an original, haunting story and also fit perfectly fine within the larger Hammer horror oeuvre.
The plot here is about a small town that sits near a marsh where the ghosts of men on ghostly horses haunt the area. There is also a creepy scarecrow that seems to appear in different places, watching those who pass through the marshes.
The town’s leader is a minister played by Peter Cushing but we soon learn that he is a famous pirate that has faked his own death and hid within this small community. The other men in the town were also his crew and they have to protect themselves when a hard-nosed naval commander comes to the village in search of the pirate Captain and the truth about what happened to him.
Night Creatures isn’t a complicated film and even the twists aren’t that surprising but honestly, they don’t need to be, as this is just a cool picture with a neat premise and great monsters.
The movie has a very eerie vibe and yet, it’s still a lot of fun and pretty lighthearted. While this might not be very high up on classic horror fans’ lists, it’s always been one of my favorite Hammer movies ever made.
Pairs well with: other Hammer horror films of the era, especially those starring Peter Cushing.