HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
   
 
Newest Articles
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
   
 
  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 3905 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
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: