|Old Tom Ketch|
The film was released in America as "Night Creatures" (and it is this title that is on the DVD release) because apparently that was the name of the film Hammer had sold to the US distributor (they had planned to make a version of Richard Matherson's I Am Legend - later filmed as The Last Man On Earth, and The Omega Man - but the UK censors promised that it would have been banned) So, they took the Russell Thorndike story of Dr Syn and the Scarecrow of Romney Marsh and made the film. The Syn character was changed to Blyss since Disney were making their own version of the story (which is why it might sound familiar).
The story is fairly predictable, but still a whole load of fun and the acting is first class all round, remember this is long before Oliver Reed had turned into a caricature. Cushing is at his best as the Vicar hiding a secret with a wicked grin, and Ripper excels in his expanded role. The film is a brilliant rip-roaring adventure with a few spooky and atmospheric moments with the phantoms on the marsh and the creepy scarecrow but it's not technically horror. Even bearing that it mind it's a brilliant movie and one well worth checking out!
|Martin Benson, the legendary Michael Ripper and Patrick Allen|
8 out of 10.
(* A Mulatto is a term used to describe the offspring of mixed race coupling in the bad old slave days, not a particularly nice expression, but it is how the character is named in the book and film, so I left it. No offence was meant or intended)