Reviewed byKanterTheSharkVote: 9/10
Without a shadow of a doubt, screenwriter/novelist Robert Bloch (1917 - 1994) will always be best remembered for the 1960 film that made Alfred Hitchcock a household name: "Psycho"; and young Janet Leigh played what small part she had, in The Bates Motel, to the hilton.
But the four-years-after thriller, "The Night Walker", which starred an actress who'd already been a star for more than a decade had a story line that haunted its lady in distress, rather than having her killed off after one scream.
Irene Trent (Barbara Stanwyck) was a troubled woman from the very start--having nightmares that seemed so real, she didn't know the meaning of the word "reality"; and having a literally-blind, eccentric husband (Hayden Rorke)--who was so demanding of her, that we might as well have wished she got away with murder.
Enter her lawyer and supposed friend, Barry Moreland (Robert Taylor) and a very overbearing "dream lover", (Lloyd Bochner), and you've got the formula for a workable "B" grade drama which, however predictable it might seem, isn't going to be very predictable at all. Throughout the entire story, there's a very gradual, even-paced sort of building-up-of-the-plot.
Had Alfred Hitchcock been handed this script, he'd probably have put in a subtle common-thread of humor. And, too, he'd probably have put himself in a cameo shot, in one scene or other. (Which scene that would've been would be anyone's guess: an observer at the wax figure wedding? Maybe he'd have himself under a hair dryer at Irene's beauty salon.)
But there was no room for that sort of thing, here. The story moved along on an even keel. Even by the time Irene had the final piece of her personal life's puzzle in place, the way the very final scene was to pan out was anything but predictable.
William Castle did one royal job, here, for insomniacs everywhere, for many generations to come.
Reviewed byOrielVote: 8/10
Perhaps the key to enjoying this movie is to come to it with no expectations, as I did--or to be a fan of William Castle (as I am becoming!). If you know William Castle's work, you know to expect low-budget chills that don't take themselves very seriously. What's surprising about this film is that it's actually fairly sophisticated. The plot has some excellent twists; the chills are more psychological and less gore-dependent than in other Castle films I can think of; and it's just fun to see two great (albeit aging) stars get their teeth into a horror script. Barbara Stanwyck is excellent, and Robert Taylor comes a close second.
Why this little gem isn't available on DVD with (what I consider to be) lesser Castle works baffles me. It's definitely worth seeking out for your next cheesy horror fest.
Reviewed byjonkru12Vote: 8/10
William Castle has successfully managed to thrill audiences with low-budget films that manage to creep into our collective psyches and scare us silly. Being the showman that he is, he used a lot of gimmicks and tricks. "The Tingler", "House On Haunted Hill", and others are examples of this unique technique. He knows what scare us. "Night Walker" differs from this format somewhat. There are no gimmicks, no tricks. Just a solid, believable script of a woman tormented by troubling dreams after the death of her husband. Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck add credence to the story by virtue of their considerable "star" power, making a possibly unbelievable story believable. The casting is exceptional, the music is appropriately effective, and the ending is...well, quite surprising.
A wealthy woman is terrorized by recurring dreams regarding her jealous, blind husband who supposedly burned to death in a recent fire. She tries to convince her attorney that the nightmares are real.