Monday, 3 September 2012

Straight on Till Morning (1972) - Review

Released way back in 1972, this litte-known Hammer came at a time when the famed studio were, shall we say, struggling to compete with the game-changing nature of America horror. It follows a young, withdrawn and weird Carrie-looking woman called Brenda when she moves south from London to Liverpool in order to try and find a "prince" to have a baby with (really). The bloke she chooses, however, might be a serial killer.

The end result is a mixed bag. Both leads do well, Rita Tushingham as the Northern fish out of water in 'Swinging London' is convincingly hopeless, if not occasionally irritating, and Shane Briant is a vacant yet chilling killer. Their relationship, which hinges on his distaste of beauty, is interesting to watch develop. Moment of choice is the horrifying end sequence - the various murders are spliced together and the sounds of the screams drown everything and everyone.

Obviously, this is a Hammer film (and a cheap one at that), so they get things wrong. The song, "Straight on Till Morning", that accompanies the film and gives it its title, features singing that wouldn't even befit a children's nativity let alone a movie from a studio well-know for producing fantastic original scores. It also features moments of sexual exploitation that had became more and more prevalent at Hamer as the money started to run out. Here the camera seems to stare at Katya Wyeth, who plays Brenda's friend Caroline, a little too often.

Ignores those grips, though, and Straight On Till Morning proves itself to be a film that, nearly 40 years on, still feels creepy enough to make one feel uncomfortable.

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