Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Night Walker (1964)

Starring Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, Judith Meredith, Hayden Rorke, Rochelle Hudson
Directed by William Castle
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A wealthy widow's dreams of a young man romancing her become so vivid, she's convinced they've really happened.

This is an effective little chiller from producer/director William Castle, anchored by old Hollywood stars Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck.  After a prologue on the nature of dreams with spooky illustrations and grim narration by the great voice actor Paul Frees, Castle plunges us into the story, written by Psycho's Robert Bloch, introducing us to Stanwyck and her husband, played by actor Hayden Rorke in a great creepy makeup, whose blindness and Stanwyck's dreams of a nightly lover drive him into a jealous paranoia.  When Rorke's character meets his maker in a mysterious explosion, but no body turns up, Stanwyck's dreams begin to include not only her young lover but a terribly burned Rorke who terrifies her, and makes us wonder if he's not really dead.  The film keeps us guessing as it drives to his climax, and the suspense increases, complemented by an eerie music score by Vic Mizzy.  This may not be a great film, but it's an awful lot of fun.

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