Nothing but the Night (1973)

Rating: D+

Dir: Peter Sasdy
Star: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Diana Dors

Having recently written of the shortage of horror films set in Scotland, this week I stumbled across this odd little number from 1972, which pits pathologist Cushing and policeman Lee against what seems at first like a straightforward murder enquiry. Someone is offing trustees of an charity, and suspicion falls on ex-Broadmoor inmate Dors, whose daughter is now a ward in a Scottish orphanage which they run. She heads off up there on a mission of reclamation, the authorities in hot pursuit, only for the film to suddenly teleport sideways fifteen feet, as the real truth is revealed.

It’s hideously spoiled by one of the film’s alternative titles, which I won’t give here, but falls somewhere towards Village of the Damned. As a period piece, it’s a classic – Edinburgh Airport consists of two Nissen huts – and is an interesting precursor to The Wicker Man, made the following year, which possibly gained inspiration from a sequence where Lee is dragged towards death by immolation on a bonfire. Cushing and Lee lend their authority, to what is undeniably a totally ridiculous plot that comes out of nowhere, and this probably explains why it’s now been all but forgotten.