HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
   
 
Newest Articles
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
   
 
  Cold Night's Death, A Walk Out To WinterBuy this film here.
Year: 1973
Director: Jerrold Freedman
Stars: Robert Culp, Eli Wallach, Michael C. Gwynne
Genre: Horror, Thriller, TV Movie
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's a research station on the White Mountain in California which is designed to find out how far astronauts' endurance can be tested, only they haven't been using people for the experiments, they have been using apes. There was only one scientist at the Tower Mountain station, but for some reason contact has been lost with him over the radio for five days now, and with winter weather causing the conditions to become perilous, his bosses are growing concerned. With that in mind, they send a couple of scientists, Robert Jones (Robert Culp) and Frank Enari (Eli Wallach) out by helicopter to see what has happened...

But when they get there, the place is as quiet as the grave in this well-remembered, horror-inflected television movie from the golden age of such efforts, the nineteen-seventies. As with many of those which are either strong memories or dimly recalled, A Cold Night's Death had one purpose, and that was to scare the viewer, so it was that a generation of kids of the day would have nightmares about the creepily claustrophobic atmosphere of encroaching paranoia generated by Christopher Knopf's amusing script and the way most of the action took place in one location. Oddly, that script looked forward to John Carpenter's The Thing remake, as there were comparisons to be made.

Carpenter's work was a cult classic of course, and superior to this low budget effort, but you could hazard a guess that the director might have caught this at some point before he crafted his work even if the original The Thing from Another World would have been his main inspiration, they were very much of a piece with one another. Naturally this is of a far lower profile, but having taken a simple idea - there's something at the station which is menacing the two scientists and they don't know what it is - and conjured up something of very reasonable quality for what was essentially a two hander television play, it was understandable it would arise in fond reminiscences.

A Cold Night's Death was certainly worthy of mention alongside other notables broadcast during its decade which put the wind up viewers, including Horror at 37,000 Feet, Duel, Bad Ronald, Killdozer, Panic at Lakewood Manor (OK, maybe that last one was a bit ropey) and so forth, and the acting from Culp and Wallach helped lift what could have been rather daft. They behaved as if they truly believed there was a presence in the station, as their tempers frayed, with Robert the macho man and Frank the more bookish boffin, though little wonder when they arrive at the location to find the test animals lying practically unconscious due to the cold and the previous scientist sitting alone in a room with the window stuck open, covered in frost and very dead.

You can almost feel the freezing temperatures, especially in the latter stages when Robert, out clearing the ever-building snow from the front door, is locked out and has to struggle to get back in to survive. Is it one of those two who are sabotaging the mission, perhaps without even realising it? Frank continues the experiments which provide a heavy hint to what is actually going on, something Robert works out when it's too late to do anything about it, and the final scene is among the most famous in seventies television horrors out of Hollywood, a punchline which is at the same time ridiculous and strangely satisfying. There's no real explanation for what has happened other than the balance of the scales tipping the other way after too long weighed down on one side, but it tapped into an increasing sense of environmentalism in the mood of the time, as well as confirming the worst fears of those who had been paying attention to a celebrated science fiction franchise around back then. Also worth watching for was Gil Melle's electronic score.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 993 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: