A phone rings. Architect Mervyn Johns is wakened from a nightmare and summoned to the country estate of Roland Culver. Here he meets several strangers, all of whom seem vaguely familiar to him. The conversation turns to nightmares, with… More A phone rings. Architect Mervyn Johns is wakened from a nightmare and summoned to the country estate of Roland Culver. Here he meets several strangers, all of whom seem vaguely familiar to him. The conversation turns to nightmares, with each guest relating a recent disturbing dream or real-life event. Anthony Baird weaves a tale about being invited into a hearse with the words "Room for one more, sir." Teen-ager Sally Ann Howes speaks of the time that she met a strange, melancholy child dressed in 19th-century garb during a birthday party. Googie Withers recalls with a shudder how an antique mirror purchased by her husband Ralph Michael nearly prompted her strangulation. There is a comic interlude involving golfers Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, one of whom is flummoxed by the ubiquitous ghost of the other. The best is saved till last: the story of unbalanced ventriloquist Michael Redgrave and his malevolent dummy. At the end of this round-robin, Johns suddenly and without warning kills psychiatrist Frederick Valk -- just as he predicted that he would. Johns runs from the house, confronting scenes from the various aforementioned nightmares, and then finds himself safe in his own bed. It's all been a horrible dream. And then, the phone rings, and Johns is summoned to the country estate of Roland Culver.....Perhaps the single most influential "portmanteau" film ever made, Dead of Night was for years available only in a crudely re-edited version, eliminated the Sally Ann Howes and the "golfing" vignettes. Even when fully restored, the full effect of the film was lost whenever some thick-witted projectionist would shut off the film before the "deja vu" closing credits.
Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.