HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Nightcomers, The Mad Influence
Year: 1971
Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Marlon Brando, Stephanie Beacham, Thora Hird, Harry Andrews, Verna Harvey, Christopher Ellis, Anna Palk
Genre: Horror, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The Master of the House (Harry Andrews), guardian to two children since their parents died in a tragic accident, is growing tired of living with them so far out of the capital in the English countryside, so has made arrangements to leave and go about his business affairs. This means Miles (Christopher Ellis) and Flora (Verna Harvey) are to be left in the care of their teacher, Miss Jessel (Stephanie Beacham) and the housekeeper, Mrs Grose (Thora Hird), yet the one individual who has most influence over them turns out to be Mr Quint (Marlon Brando), the groundskeeper. He is an uncouth Irishman, though the children love him and his stories - but could he be a bad influence?

Henry James' classic short novel The Turn of the Screw has set its readers wondering for over a century: was the new mistress insane, or was she really witnessing ghosts? However, few have been so intrigued as to what was really happening as to invent a whole background to what that phantom couple she thought she was seeing had really gotten up to before she arrived to take care of her charges, yet that is what screenwriter Michael Hastings and director Michael Winner, here apparently going for some literary respect, did. It's still recognisably a Winner film, for all its classic adaptation trappings, as James patently forgot to leave in the scenes of sexual bondage.

It's stuff like that which reminds you the seventies was the decade of films like The Night Porter and books like Let's Go Play at the Adams', but Winner was not really the man to bring that kind of transgressive material to the screen, and as soon as it is introduced, he quickly grows reluctant to pursue it much further. What he does do, in having Quint and Jessel's sex games influence the children's play, is create an air of perversity missing in its inspiration, and the sense of a group of people stuck out on the middle of nowhere as winter draws on (this is a very chilly-looking film, even without a flake of snow) sending each other mad by their very presence is a potent one.

At the heart of this is Quint, essayed by Brando with a leery charm and an unfortunate, sing-song "Oirish" accent that he must have been very proud of, but does his credibility no favours. This was released the year before The Godfather made him a force to be reckoned with all over again - if it had been made after it's doubtful Winner would have been able to afford him, but it does feature a Last Tango in Paris quality to its damaging love affair, so could have been part of the reason the star decided to take his performance even further in that than he does here. It's certainly curious to see him playing scenes with British national treasure Thora Hird: in his autobiography Brando recollects that he could not understand a word she was saying when they took lunch together, which is pretty rich coming from Marlon Brando.

In spite of reservations others have had, The Nightcomers is well cast, with Beacham's prim schoolmistress convincingly corrupted, and the two children, actually two actors in their late teens playing younger than their years, are appropriately squirm-inducing when they fall too far under Quint's spell. The isolation of these characters makes this an odd kind of horror movie, with much of the shock value gauged by what is going on in their minds rather than their actions, but if it all seems a bit unecessary in the first place - the strength of James' original is in its ambiguity - the film is better than its reputation. All right, there are times when Winner indulges Brando - who would argue with him? - as we didn't need part of the running time taken up with a rambling shaggy dog story about a horse, and it's not exactly sparkling entertainment, but it does have a queasiness you don't often get with old dark house mysteries that works in its favour. Music by Jerry Fielding.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4476 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Winner  (1935 - 2013)

Opinionated British producer-director whose early comedies - You Must Be Joking, The Jokers, I'll Never Forget Whatsisname - were promising enough, but come the seventies he had settled into a pattern of overblown thrillers.

Of these, Death Wish was a huge hit, and Winner directed two similar sequels. Other films included horrors (The Nightcomers, The Sentinel), Westerns (Lawman, Chato's Land), thrillers (Scorpio, Dirty Weekend) and disastrous comedies (Bullseye!). Also a restaurant critic.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: