Dead Of Night

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Dead Of Night (1945) is a British horror film made by the Ealing Studios. It's an anthology of several stories, directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer, including the most well known one: a ventriloquist who believes that his dummy talks back to him.

The film quickly became an influential cult movie.

Plot

Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) arrives at a country house party where he reveals to the assembled guests that he has seen them all in a dream. He appears to have no prior personal knowledge of them but he is able to predict spontaneous events in the house before they unfold. The other guests attempt to test Craig's foresight, while entertaining each other with various tales of uncanny or supernatural events that they experienced or were told about. These include a racing car driver's premonition of a fatal bus crash; a light hearted tale of two obsessed golfers, one of whom becomes haunted by the other's ghost; a ghostly encounter during a children's Christmas party (a scene cut from the initial American release); a haunted antique mirror; and the story of an unbalanced ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) who believes his amoral dummy is truly alive. The framing story is then capped by a twist ending.

References

Zappa named "Dead Of Night" as one of his favorite films in Fifty-Four Fab, Boss Questions ... and The Fanzine Questionnaire.

William S. Burroughs told Zappa in preparation of his lecture of Burroughs' short story The Talking Asshole that he was inspired by the ventriloquist scene from "Dead Of Night".

See also