Secret of Blood Island / The Night Walker (both 1964) UK Quad DB Poster
One of Hammer’s war atrocity films teams up with a William Castle psycho-thriller, a sort of companion piece to the 1961 Terror of the Tongs / Homicidal double bill. From a script by John Gilling, Hammer queen Barbara Shelley plays a wounded agent, disguised as a young man, and helped to escape by the inmates of a men’s POW camp. She only has to worry about starvation, whippings and machine gunnings, all courtesy of some (now) breathtakingly offensive yellowface casting, rubber eyelids and all. Director Quentin Lawrence made The Trollenberg Terror (1958) and one of Hammer’s best (co-funded) thrillers, Cash on Demand (1962) but returned to TV after Blood Island.
The Night Walker is one of Castle’s most nightmarish horrors, with wonderfully disorientating cutting from Edwin H. Bryant (Castle’s in-house editor since The Tingler - 1959). Barbara Stanwyck, in her final screen role, plays a woman on the edge, fighting with her blind, obsessively controlling husband, who proceeds to blow himself up in a laboratory experiment. But still her dreams haunt her, a bizarre wedding ceremony peopled by waxworks and from which she can’t escape. Stanwyck does have a rather raucous pair of lungs on her, and her ‘screams’ are something else. But it’s an enjoyably twisted tale, exploiting a welcome pairing with Robert Taylor. They hadn’t played together since Lady of the Tropics (1936) and This is My Affair (1937).
Condition: VERY FINE / NEAR MINT
Cast: Jack Hedley, Charles Tingwell, Bill Owen, Glyn Huston and as the Japanese Patrick Wymark, Michael Ripper / Judith Meredith, Hayden Rorke, Lloyd Bochner