Straight On Till Morning (1972) 1/5
Rita Tushingham plays a rather pathetic and timid Brenda, who moves to London in a desperate move to find someone who will give her a baby. Like you do. Of course, this was before the days when you could advertise on Facebook, get someone to come around and get you pregnant, delete and block them, then meet up with them again some years in the future on Jeremy Kyle.
Unfortunately for her, the first man who shows any interest, after she makes the initial pursuit, is psychotic Peter, played by Hammer regular Shane Briant, who has the unfortunate compulsion to destroy anything of beauty, be it women or, erm, dogs.
We soon learn that Peter is behind the disappearance of several girls in the Earl’s Court area of London. Rest assured, Plain Jane Brenda is perfectly safe among the capital’s bright young things. That is, until she decides to help herself to some of Peter’s money and goes out to have a make over. Purely to please him, you understand. She has a habit of these faux pax, doesn’t she?
In the beginning the film jumps around a little, drags in the middle, and has an ambiguous ending: Brenda learns the truth of Peter’s true nature when he plays her a horrific audio recording of him killing his dog, and also of the murder of Brenda’s friend, and she tries in vain to flee from his home while he assures her he would never harm her. The last thing we see is him sitting alone, with no sign of her. Is she in the bedroom? Did he kill her? Do we care?
The film does have its moments, as well as its fans, but I hated it. It was too slow, and the character of Brenda was too pitiful for me to care about. This is one of the few Hammer films that I wouldn’t sit through again. I’m not really selling it to you, am I?
Released as a double feature with Fear In The Night (last week’s Hammer post), Fear is far superior to this one.