Night Fright


Year 1967

John Agar as   Sheriff Clint Crawford  
Carol Gilley as Nurse Joan Scott
Ralph Baker, Jr.   as Chris Jordan
Dorothy Davis as Judy
Bill Thurman as Deputy Ben Whitfield
Roger Ready as Prof. Alan Clayton
 
Director - James A. Sullivan
Screenwriter - Russ Marker

Night Fright makes The Giant Gila Monster look like a work of art. This movie may work as something to make fun of, but not as being entertaining otherwise.

In the very first scene a couple is parking and necking...in a convertible. A radio announcer is talking about a flaming "whateveritwas" that landed in the same location as the couple. They never saw anything flaming, except for their own passion (ahem). Big trouble looming. As you see through the eyes of the monster, it is approaching the couple through some trees. Then some branches. Then some more branches. Then even more branches when you thought there couldn't be any more branches. I'm surprised the monster didn't have to push aside branches attached to the sides of the car! Oh, wait. It did. Nevermind.

Speaking of branches... Nice hair.

The plot is that a monster came to Earth and is now feeding on people, mostly teenagers who have convertibles. It's up to Sheriff Clint Crawford (Agar) to save the kids and kill the beast. He's really a facist telling the newspaper what to print and ordering people away from their own property. He's not exactly cuddly. When the beast almost eats him, I knew he'd get away, but a part of me was hoping that he wouldn't.

More annoying than the 30 year old teenagers (Frank Jolly looks at least 30) is the acting. Chris Jordan (Baker) is anything but the chick magnet he's portrayed to be. Add to his dearth of acting skills a name like Ralph Baker, Jr. and teeth like a hamster, I figure that Mr. Baker must be related to the director or producer or something. Surfing the web, I can't find a connection, though.

His current love interest, Judy (Davis), is another one for discard pile. At one point she forces this mirthless laugh so that Chris can tell her how her laugh makes her "unique". Yeah, and Jojo the Dog-Faced Boy was unique, too. He's not complimenting you, Judy. Beware.

How "cool" can this kid be? He drives an Oldsmobile Toronado. Oh, they're cool now in a retro kind of way. But in 1967? They were old people's cars. Nurse Joan Scott (Gilley) drives a Mustang fastback, fer cryin' out loud. A nurse drives the cool car? The two should've switched cars for the movie. Maybe they used their own cars and didn't trust the other driver? Who knows?

Do you like accents? I detected a Florida, a Texas, and a mid-Western accent. Where is this place, Hollister, supposed to be?

I think that was the name on the reporter's car, as in "The Hollister News" or "The Hollister Sentinel". But to really confuse things, on the side of the ambulance, it didn't read ambulance. It had a Murray Somebody's name on the rear fender. Not sure what that was about.

The monster? It's some horn browed furry ape with black fur from the neck down that shuffles around yet leaves footprints as if it walked instead of shuffled. And the footprints resemble an aligator's footprint. The monster, except for the teeth, doesn't look a bit like the one in the cover art above. Give me the Robot Monster any day.

And speaking of the cover art, who's the woman supposed to be? John Agar? That's what it says. Maybe it's his girl Nurse Scott? Maybe sort of if the woman on the box was about ten years younger, trimmed her eyebrows, had blonde and not mousey brown hair, etc. (i.e. If it's night and if you squint really hard and you turn off all of the lights and you turn your back to the picture, then it could almost be Nurse Scott.)

The camera work is, uh, distracting. One second you're looking at a couple through, you guessed it, branches and the next you're practically checking out a girl's naris. (That's a nostril. Get your mind out of the gutter.) Back and forth, in and out, but too far in and too far out. It's as if they couldn't find a place for both the camera and the actors, so the camera is either in too close or out too far. The trouble is that this "technique" was used when there was no forest to hinder camera placement.

Way too much time was spent showing the teenagers dancing. Watching them and thinking about graceful movement is an exercise in futility. One or two of the girls could do the epileptic seizure move popular at the time. But the cameraman once again got too close. This time he got right up and personal with a couple of less than shapely backsides. I really didn't need a close-up of plaid polyester slacks over a spreading derriere. (Too much plaid! I'll be dreaming of purple plaid! It won't be nice, either.)

Maybe this one's related to the sound. Except for one instance, why does no one use the passenger door of a car? Everyone gets in and out on the driver's side. I'm thinking that the passenger door is where the microphone was placed. No one could open the passenger door or they'd ruin the microphone placement.

Oh, and the U.S. sent out a rocket more than 300,000 miles. "That's farther than the moon," according to Prof. Alan Clayton (Roger Ready). (Roger Ready? Seriously? Why not Roger Wilco? Or Abe L.N. Ready?) Well, it's true that 300,000 miles are further away from the Earth than the moon, but not by much. The moon is sometimes over 252,000 miles away. Why not make it a million miles?

The explanation for the monster goes to show how little screenwriter Russ Marker understood science. You really should understand a little science before writing science fiction. And the final trick to kill the alien works as easily as Cinderella's step-sister trying to fit her foot into the glass slipper.

No nudity or profanity. An instance or two of blasphemy. Your attempt to achieve Nirvana in this life will not suffer if you skip this movie. Very little chick flick potential unless a woman wants to learn how to spaz out to music by "The Wildcats".


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