Thursday, 1 January 2009

THE NIGHT HAS EYES/Terror House (1942)

Directed by Leslie Arliss and written by John Argyle, both stalwarts of British cinema of the 3os and 40s, this is a rather neat old dark house thriller set on the Yorkshire moors. Two young female teachers go to visit a remote area in the north of England where a colleague had previously disappeared. They discover an isolated house on the edge of a mire where shell-shocked Spanish Civil War veteran and composer James Mason comes over all mean and moody (not to mention homicidal) at the time of the full moon. Lots of mist and a couple of servants who might not be quite what they seem. It succeeds where other films of this genre fail not because it is particularly scarey but because it actually has a story that holds the interest. Mason's performance is good and set the mould very much for the rest of his 1940's roles. Nothing special but if you really can't resist another old dark house film (I'm sucker for them) you could do worse than this. Rating **

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

I have always found James Mason very very watchable. Even if the movie itself isn't spectacular (and THE NIGHT HAS EYES is, as you say, good if not great), Mason usually brings a great deal to every film he's in - at least in his younger years before, I think, he would walk through a part every once in a while. Like you, I am indeed a ducker for "old dark house" movies and never tire of even the most hoary of genre cliches in them. THE NIGHT HAS EYES is indeed a cut above many of them.