Night of Fear (1972)

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Released 16-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Rod Hay (Producer) And Carla Hoogeveen(Actress)
Gallery-Stills
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Long Weekend, Thirst, Turkey Shoot, Road Games
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 50:50
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Terry Bourke
Studio
Distributor
TerryRod
Madman Entertainment
Starring Norman Yemm
Carla Hoogeveen
Mike Dorsey
Briony Behets
Case ?
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Night of Fear is a short feature horror film which was originally made as the pilot to an ABC TV series called Fright. The series never got off the ground, but Night of Fear, having been shot on 35mm, ended up being released in cinemas. Well, that was after it was banned by the censors for indecency, a ban which was overturned on appeal.

    A young girl (Carla Hoogeveen) who has just spent an afternoon playing tennis and making love with a man (Mike Dorsey), gets accidentally run off the road by a truck. Ending up on a dead-end dirt road, her car gets stuck in a ditch, where she starts getting terrorised by a drooling, gibbering psycho (Norman Yemm), who also has a colony of rats.

    These days it's hard to see what the fuss was all about. There isn't anything really offensive about the movie and today it would probably get no more than an M rating, though the OFLC seems to have issues with horror scenes.

    The movie has no dialogue, the soundtrack consisting entirely of effects, music, screams and grunts. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the film is very effective, though it is obvious what is happening from quite early on and it isn't that scary. An eerie mood is well conveyed and the short running time means that there is little in the way of unnecessary padding.

    It was shot partly in the ABC studios and partly in the Kuringai Chase National Park, very familiar due to the sandy soil and light bushland. It was also amusing to see the truck used in the film was from Nuss Removals, whose vehicles I still see around on the roads over 30 years later. I'm sure this particular vehicle has long been retired.

    Also in the cast is Briony Behets, who plays another victim seen in a prologue sequence. Like the other actors in the film, she is probably best known for her work on television, being one of the stars of The Box. Hoogeveen starred in Class of '74, Yemm in Homicide and Dorsey had a featured role in Number 96.

    Something of a watershed in Australian film due to the controversy that attended its release, it has been little seen in decades and it is good to see it released with some care and in good condition.

    This film is included on a single disc with another production by director Terry Bourke and producer Rod Hay (Terryrod Productions), Inn of the Damned, made two years later. That film will be reviewed separately.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.70:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I'm unsure about the original aspect ratio, though it may have been 1.66:1, a common ratio for non-American films of the era. In any case it does not seem to have been significantly cropped, if at all.

    This is an excellent transfer in terms of sharpness and detail. It looks like it is taken from a newly struck print and there is plenty of detail visible, though not so much in shadows (not that this is an issue). Contrast is very good and the transfer is bright and clear.

    Colours are a little saturated, but generally they are bright and vivid. Flesh tones tend to be a little ruddy, but in some sequences they are just about right. Black levels are good, though some low level noise is evident in some of the darker sequences.

    The only film to video artefacts present are aliasing, which is mainly confined to the vehicles in the first part of the film, and moiré, which can be seen on the grill of the girl's car. Film artefacts are limited to white specks indicating either print damage or dirt on the negative, most probably the latter. At some stages in the film the image is a jumpy, with the top part of the frame looking a bit wobbly, as though it was slightly warped. I did not notice this on the first viewing, but it became obvious while listening to the audio commentary.

    No subtitles are provided, not surprisingly given there is no dialogue.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, but the layer change occurs in the other feature on the disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The main audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is very good. Obviously there are no problems with dialogue and the music and sound effects come across clearly.

    Music is by an unnamed hand, possibly compiled from music in the ABC library. It is very effective, being one of those electronic-sounding scores that many horror films and TV shows had during the 1970s. I would not be surprised if a Moog synthesiser was used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with Rod Hay (producer) and Carla Hoogeveen (actress)

    Also on this audio commentary is Mark Hartley, who barely gets a word in edgewise. Hay talks a lot, almost non-stop and he gives a good account of the film's origins, the banning controversy and the success of the film when it was eventually released. Hoogeven also has things she wants to say, but often is not allowed to quite finish. It was amusing to hear her pleas to Hay to remove the dream sequence from the film and her stories of director Terry Bourke. An enjoyable commentary well worth listening to.

Gallery-Stills

    An excellent stills gallery, which features a lot of contemporary news clippings and advertising material, even down to those little newspaper advertisements for screenings. The news clippings are mostly readable and reflect the coverage the film received when it was banned and afterwards.

Theatrical Trailer (2:01)

    An effective trailer, not in the best of condition but it is 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer-Long Weekend, Thirst, Turkey Shoot, Road Games (8:18)

Trailers for other Umbrella releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as I can tell, this is the first DVD release anywhere, so there is no competition.

Summary

    A good little low-budget horror film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are much more substantial than you would expect for a film of this type and age.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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