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Movies From the Black Lagoon: Nothing But the Night

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Nothing But the Night - 1972, Rated PG
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer

Two legends of horror films take on an evil cult on a remote Scottish Island in this thriller that has finally landed on DVD.
The story begins with a chilling trio of scenes depicting the violent deaths of senior citizens. The first is killed by sitting perfectly still in her Rolls Royce whilst an off-screen character release the parking brake and sends it off a cliff. The next one goes out a third story window while the third elder sits by a cozy fire while a second off screen presence cocks a pistol and puts them down. These disturbing images have no time to settle on you before you are plunged onto a bus full of rowdy children. It's a festive place with noise and many balloons as well as a crabby driver who appears to like children almost as much as having a bout of pink eye. The driver goes to light a smoke and one little girl freaks out and screams like she's seen three old timers getting topped off.
The film picks up at a hospital where caregivers are trying to help the young lady. The case appeals to a retired detective named Bingham. He is sure that there is a connection between the young lady and the deaths that were shown previously. Apparently the seniors were all members of a group of affluent citizens devoted to a small orphanage. Bingham enlists the help of his doctor friend Ashley and the pair soon discover that the cases are linked.
They head out to the Scottish Island that houses the orphanage under the guise of protecting the children from a parent, and former prostitute, who now regrets giving up her little girl. While on their way to the island our heroes observe a private boat alongside them. They are told that it belongs to the Trust Group that runs the orphanage just before the boat explodes into a million pieces. Chalk up five more seniors to the conspiracy.
Ashley winds up doing he autopsy and the plot thickens as he reveals that the remains found in the wreckage were dead before they ever stepped foot on the boat. Meanwhile the remaining Trustees refuse to allow police protection inside of their facility. They don't budge from this stance even when one of their children turns up dead-stabbed in ritual fashion. You won't believe the final reveal here but it is a corker. Turns out theses orphans are being groomed by brain surgeons to become the hosts for the trust members who are not so ready to go off into the dark night.
It all leads to a tense conclusion that finds the children attacking Bingham and trussing him up like a holiday bird. Unfortunately they choose to do this while perilously close to a bonfire. The eerie conclusion sees them follow their leader over a cliff like Lemmings after she gets too close to the flames. It is a chilling image that is sure to stay with you long after you have ejected the flick from your player.
This one works because you are in the hands of masters. The film stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing who get a chance to finally play the heroes of a horror movie. The film was the first and only picture released by Lee's production company. What a shame as he and Cushing are superb together, as always, and are totally convincing even when the script gets a little wonky. This one is a keeper and belongs right up there alongside the gems these two made for "Hammer Studios".
Best Line: "I stabbed him with a hat pin. Wasn't that clever?"

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to:

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