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HAMMER PRESENTS 'NIGHT CREATURES' WITH PETER CUSHING

Oliver Reed and Peter Cushing in Hammer's NIGHT CREATURES Year: 1962 Rating: ****1/2

Hammer's decision to name this hybrid of thriller, horror and mystery CAPTAIN CLEGG proves that that last genre wasn't intended since spoiling Peter Cushing's true identity doesn't only ruin the plot's sneaky, intriguing premise, it makes Cushing's uniquely affable performance yet another fervent and intense one, not battling monsters this time but England's 1800's-era "tax man" himself...

In Patrick Allen's square-jawed Captain Collier, sent with his troops to investigate what he doesn't yet realize is a tightknit, secret-latch, wine-smuggling operation run by Cushing playing local vicar Rev. Dr. Blyss, THE ONLY character that director Peter Graham Scott... until well into the second act... intends him to be...

Peter Cushing and Patrick Allen in NIGHT CREATURES

Plus, Captain Clegg's gravestone lies at the foot of the church where Cushing's Blyss preaches, a cover for the smuggling-trade orchestrated by undertaker/choir-master Michael Ripper and young-resilient Oliver Reed, having an affair with bar-wench Yvonne Romain to the chagrin of her lustful stepdad Martin Benson...

And while NIGHT CREATURES has become the primary spoiler-free title, it should have been THE MARSH PHANTOMS as said skeletal horse-riders are about the only HORROR in this HAMMER, where the real ACTION is the ever-involving mind-games against the unflappable Allen who (flanked by stern David Lodge and a giant wine-sniffing Mulatto) provides CREATURES/CLEGG both a hero and antagonist in this pirate adventure set entirely on land. 

Patrick Allen in NIGHT CREATURES
Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES
Patrick Allen and David Lodge in NIGHT CREATURES
Patrick Allen and David Lodge in NIGHT CREATURES
Patrick Allen in NIGHT CREATURES
Patrick Allen and Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES
Martin Benson and Michael Ripper in NIGHT CREATURES
Martin Benson and Yvonne Romain in NIGHT CREATURES
Oliver Reed in NIGHT CREATURES
A dead or maybe not dead Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES

Patrick Allen and David Lodge in NIGHT CREATURES
Patrick Allen crashes church in NIGHT CREATURES
Michael Ripper and Patrick Allen in NIGHT CREATURES
Michael Ripper and Martin Benson in NIGHT CREATURES
WEREWOLF mom/son Oliver Reed and Yvonne Romain in NIGHT CREATURES
Martin Benson and Yvonne Romain in NIGHT CREATURES
Martin Benson and Yvonne Romain in NIGHT CREATURES with Daphne Anderson
Patrick Allen in NIGHT CREATURES
Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES
Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES with Yvette Romain and Oliver Reed
Peter Cushing in NIGHT CREATURES with Derek Francis and Patrick Allen
Derek Francis with Oliver Reed and David Lodge in NIGHT CREATURES
Oliver Reed and Yvonne Romain in NIGHT CREATURES
The Night Creatures or Marsh Phantoms from NIGHT CREATURES

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