Dan Curtis Productions brings you yet another anthology film to satisfy your needs. If you're unfamiliar with who Dan Curtis is, it's possible you may have heard of his other work - Dark Shadows which ran from 1966- 1971, 1975's Trilogy of Terror, and the 1996 sequel Trilogy of Terror 2. Curtis has produced, written, and directed a good portion of his work and in addition, most of it was broadcast on television. In collaboration with Dan Curtis is famed horror/science-fiction writer Richard Matheson. Matheson's work spans across many decades in and out of the genre; his credentials are very impressive indeed.
This 1977 anthology is not related to the 1945 title by the same name. Curtis may have paid tribute but I cannot back that claim with proper documentation. Keep in mind that Bob Clark's Deathdream from 1974 also goes by the name of Dead of Night.
The runtime of this film is about an hour and ten minutes. In that span of time Curtis brings you three different tales, with of course, varied results. Even though these stories do not share a unified theme the term "anthology" is still applicable. In the first tale, a young man (Ed Begeley, an actor with a seemingly endless resume) restores a classic car from the 1920's in the hopes of driving it like it was intended. During a strange occurrence, he is transported back in time. It's apparent that this particular tale focuses on the supernatural rather than horror. I enjoyed the atmosphere but the pay-off was lackluster - there just simply wasn't enough material to be impressed with. This story seems to fit in more with the likes of The Twilight Zone than the others.
The second tale is a period piece involving a vampire, starring Patrick Macnee. This was clever but the wind was taken out of my sails when I noticed a glaring mistake on the set. Shortly after one of the characters arrives and is let in through the front door you see in the same frame the distinct appearance of a set of light switches. Curtis never specified what time period the piece takes place in but given their clothing, even if it was the late Victorian era, they certainly did not have technology like that!
The third and final tale is entitled "Bobby." The story involves a mother who dabbles in black magic with the hopes of bringing her deceased son back to life. Be careful what you wish for! Some consider this a slight adaptation of The Monkey's Paw. Most viewers of this film would also agree that "Bobby" is easily the most disturbing tale out of the three. In addition to previously mentioning Dreathdream, that too borrows from the tale of The Monkey's Paw. Isn't it interesting the steps one can take to tie things in together?
Dead of Night is a short film and I'd categorize it as one that would serve perfectly for a slow Saturday afternoon - just be sure you get the right version. It's all about the dates!