The Nightmare (1964)

Suspense/Thriller/60s/Hammer Horror

In 1952 the French novel Celle qui n’était plus (She Who Was No More) was published by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. 

In 1955 the French film Diabolique based on the novel was released. (Excellent. Atmospheric. Recommend if you can handle subtitles.)

In 1964 Hammer did it again without Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, castles, crypts or a healthy budget for fog machines. One might not recognize this gem as a Hammer film at all.

In 1996 Diabolique was remade again with Sharon Stone. It’s quite good, too.

But don’t dismiss the Hammer version, it’s atmospheric and suspenseful. In this version, Janet’s mother went mad and killed her father on Janet’s birthday. She was soon packed off to a boarding school for girls where she frightens the other girls with her terrifying screams at night. She is plagued by recurring dreams that her mother is luring her to a room at the asylum; Janet is tormented by the fear that she will go mad like her mother. She is soon sent back home to the cold care of a distant guardian, a hired nurse and a housekeeper. Her terror continues as she hears and sees things no one else does. Is she going mad? She has another birthday looming. The birthday cake with candles is a trigger of past trauma; the birthday seems nothing to celebrate…

Jennie Linden does a terrific job as a terrorized teen. Moira Redmond– trivia point, she tested for the Emma Peel role in the Avengers–she has that cool beauty–won’t say more but she has a juicy part! Even though I’d seen Diabolique, I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to end. Had me anxious to find out! The dog wanted to go out with eight minutes left to the end. Aargh!

I give it

Four Monkeys!

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