Dead of Night (1945)

Dead of Night




Critic Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.

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Movie Info

Considered the greatest horror anthology film, the classic British chiller Dead of Night features five stories of supernatural terror from four different directors, yet it ultimately feels like a unified whole. The framing device is simple but unsettling, as a group of strangers find themselves inexplicably gathered at an isolated country estate, uncertain why they have come. The topic of conversation soon turns to the world of dreams and nightmares, and each guest shares a frightening event … More

Rating: R
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By: , , ,
Written By: Angus MacPhail, John V. Baines, T.E.B. Clarke
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 27, 2009
Universal Pictures

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as Maxwell Frere

as Walter Craig

as Joan Courtland

as Eliot Foley

as Mrs. Foley

as Dr. Van Straaten

as Mrs. Craig

as Joyce Grainger

as Mrs. O'Hara

as Hearse Driver

as Sally O'Hara

as Jimmy Watson

as Dr. Albury

as Peter Courtland

as Hugh Grainger

as Dealer

as Sylvester Kee

as Mitzi

as Harry Parker

as George Parratt

as Larry Potter

as Mary Lee

as Maurice Olcott
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Dead of Night

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (4)

Producer Michael Balcon turned each individual episode over to a different director and, told via flashback, they're equally good.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Top Critic

Spasmodically effective.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Nearly 60 years on, Ealing's compendium of spooky tales remains scary as hell.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Although the stories here related are probably familiar to all who are devotees of such mysticisms, they are tightly and graphically told.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The directorial contributions of Dearden and Hamer, the art direction (Michael Relph), lighting (Stan Pavey and Douglas Slocombe) and editing (Charles Hassey) combine to make this the smoothest film yet to come from an English studio.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
Monthly Film Bulletin

There's some genuinely skin-crawling stuff tucked away: some ghastly business with a ventriloquist's dummy, and one of the creepiest invitations from a bus conductor ever.

Full Review… | October 12, 2014
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Dead of Night


A super-psycho-natural flick. For a 1945 flick, the scripting seems quite advanced. Not the best, but definitely worth a watch (and maybe even more entertaining if you can resist looking for plot-holes).

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Many of the reviews I've read over the years of "Dead of Night" seem to sideline the "Christmas Party" episode as being less successful and effective than the other stories involved. At first, I tended to agree with them; however, after a while it dawned on me that there was something rather unusual about the sequence that I couldn't quite place my finger on. Normally, in a ghost story, any part of the story containing the appearance of the ghost looks rather unreal in comparison with the everyday part to underline the supernatural aspect of the spectre's apparition. However, in this particular story, it's the (real) children's party that looks unreal, and the (supernatural) ghost that looks real. The party shows a massive house, with a roaring log fire, loads of toys, food, etc, and the children enjoying themselves enormously, without any adults present. It has the look of a fantasy of the perfect party any child would want. However, the meeting with the young boy seems more rooted in reality, and this is the irony of the story - that Constance Kent, the sister he mentions, actually did exist and did admit to killing her younger brother. In real life, the boy was actually a baby when he was murdered, but his age has obviously been changed so that Sally could talk to him. This gives an extra poignancy to the story, in that he likes Sally and presumably would have wanted her for his real sister, but instead had Constance, who killed him - the worst crime she could have committed against a helpless child.

I think it would be wrong to overlook this sequence as unworthy of comment, and reassess its value in "Dead of Night". It may not be as frightening as the famed ventriloquist story, but it does carry an emotional power which is perhaps its strongest point.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

The best horror movie of 1945, maybe even of the whole decade! See it for yourself.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

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