Transmission Date: 29/03/1977
Almost exactly two years to the transmission date of Trilogy of Terror (1975) writer/director/producer Dan Curtis returned to the anthology format for three more tales of mystery, imagination, and terror, in the shape of Dead of Night. In those two years he had had departed from the horror genre and offered up a small screen action movie with The Kansas City Massacre (1975), and much more significantly realised an opportunity to helm a feature film in the shape of Burnt Offerings (1976). It’s clear from this insipid and monotonous cinematic exercise that Mr. Curtis was far more comfortable operating within the regimen of network television. It seems likely to me that had Burnt Offerings being a major critical and commercial success we may not have had Dead of Night, which on the strength of the final story Bobby, would have been a great shame indeed. The chief thing it has in common with Trilogy of Terror, aside from being an anthology, is that its reputation entirely rests on the final story. Trilogy of Terror has rightfully become something of a cult item, but this has never detracted from the fact that the first two stories are pretty lousy. Unfortunately the same fate befell Dead of Night, whose first two stories are so trivial and dull that they have completely undermined the films claim to the same type of cult following enjoyed by Trilogy of Terror. They both also have Richard Matheson in common, and I’m increasingly of the opinion that anything written for the screen by Mr. Matheson is worth a look.
© Shaun Anderson 2012