Released a matter of days after the end of the Second World War and a dozen years ahead of the first full-blooded Hammer Horror, the Ealing Studios horror anthology film Dead of Night featured contributions from some of the finest directors, writers and technicians ever to work in British film. Since its release it has become evermore widely regarded as a keystone in the architecture of horror cinema, both nationally and internationally, yet for a film that packs such a reputation this is the first time a single book has been dedicated to its analysis. Beginning with a brief plot precis 'road map' in order to aid navigation through the film's stories, there follows a discussion of Dead of Night's individual stories, including its frame tale ('Linking Narrative'), a consideration of the potency of stillness and the suspension of time as devices for eliciting goose bumps, an appraisal of the film in relation to the very English tradition of the festive ghost story, and an analysis of the British post-war male gender crisis embodied by a number of the film's protagonists. The book includes a selection of rarely seen pre-production designs produced by the film's acclaimed production designer, Michael Relph.
Jez Conolly is Head of Student Engagement with University of Bristol Library Services and author of The Thing (Auteur, 2013) in the Devil's Advocates series. David Owain Bates is a contributor to the World Film Location series of books (Dublin, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and Liverpool).