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The Night Walker (1964) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Details

4 beersPicture it: composer Vic Mizzy, writer Robert Bloch (Psycho), director William Castle, actress Barbara Stanwyck and actor Robert Taylor; all together in the same film. Already I’m in love with the this thriller from 1964. William Castle’s The Night Stalker is packed with a million reasons why it should be endlessly praised. Just consider its intriguing opening – even before its main cast is introduced – in which a landscape of bizarre and disturbing images splash across the screen. A narrator guides us through it all.  We don't know what to expect from this beginning; we just know it's all going to Hell.

Is she just dreaming, we are asked, or is there another man? This is the troubled concourse of one blind and aging billionaire. His name is Howard Trent (Hayden Rorke) and he suspects his wife, Irene Trent (Stanwyck), of having an affair. She talks in her sleep and it has set him on edge. Who is this man she speaks so highly and so loving of, he wonders?  She must be cheating!

Trent’s become possessive and violent, lashing out at any man more handsome than he. For his personal attorney, Barry Moreland (Taylor), this means that he’s his primary suspect. Except Moreland is having none of it. Or is he? When an explosion rocks the upper parts of the mansion and doors start opening and closing on their own, Irene suddenly discovers the truth behind her secretive dreams. And it all has to do with the upstairs laboratory that inexplicably keeps exploding, leading Irene to wonder where the dreams begin and reality ends.

With insane images of burned bodies filling the evenings and Stanwyck’s bloody screaming filling the house she used to share with her husband, audiences will also be questioning their sanity as she decides to move out of the house and into the salon only to be haunted once again by the man (Lloyd Bochner) in her dreams. He’s darkly handsome, elegant, and hides a secret that tells plenty about murder and madness.

The ever-popular composer Vic Mizzy (The Addams FamilyGreen Acres, and beyond) creates a dark and repetitive guitar-driven soundtrack that has – alongside an image of mannequins in a wedding – intriguing moments of full throttle terror. The score is as haunting as it is hip; rivaling the work he did for The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and is the perfect accompaniment to Castle’s freaky images as he ventures into the subconscious with a psychological thriller.

The movie, while not considered one of Castle’s best effort, is more restrained than his previous films, making this one immediately more impactful. It's misunderstood.  This flick is smart.  He’s definitely perfected his craft with a movie like this one that is full of echoes and mood. He doesn’t even have a gimmick to sell the movie with. Sad but true, for this release, Castle drops the gimmicks and lets the movie stand on its own. (Of course, there is a gimmick as the movie features the reunion of Stanwyck and Taylor, her real-life ex-husband, in what would be her final appearance in a motion picture.)

Finally available on Blu-ray thanks to Scream Factory, The Night Walker and its collection of strange visuals will have you pacing the floor of your own home, day or night, in search of the next nightmare.  Pleasant dreams.



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Film Details

The Night Walker (1964) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 86 mins
Director: William Castle
Writer: Robert Bloch
Cast: Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, Judi Meredith
Genre: Horror | Mystery
Tagline: Will It Dare You To Dream of Things You're Ashamed to Admit!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Dreams have no names."
Theatrical Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: December 30, 1964
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 20, 2018
Synopsis: Following the death of her millionaire husband, Howard (Hayden Rorke), Irene Trent (Stanwyck) endures dreams so real and terrifying, that she finds herself trapped in an eerie world existing between fact and fantasy. Isolated from the world by her husband's possessive nature, Irene feels there is no one she can turn to except for his personal attorney (Taylor), the only visitor Howard ever allowed to the house. But even as her dreams begin to take vivid shape, Irene begins to walk into a very real nightmare of deception, murder and betrayal.



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The Night Walker (1964) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - February 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Language: English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono mix, the film absolutely blossoms with this new 2K scan of the original film. Using a “fine grain print”, the 1080p transfer of this film looks amazing in the textures it now presents to film buffs. The local landscapes used in the movie are preserved with fine lines and the surreal effects – suggesting a depth to the film that was not financially possible – are items of beauty. There is a new crispness throughout the black-and-white film thanks to the HD upgrade and the lab itself looks impossibly detailed. And the 1.85:1 image from Scream Factory preserves the film’s intended look. The DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio track is fairly strong, delivering the dialogue and dramatic score with nice clarity.



The feature length commentary for this release is masterfully provided by author and film historian Steve Haberman. It is quite good and damn interesting.  

Special Features:

The film's trailer and promotional spots are included.

Original Theatrical Trailer
Radio Spot
Still Gallery 


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The Night Walker (1964) - Blu-ray Review