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Dead of Night$
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Jez Conolly and David Owain Bates

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780993238437

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780993238437.001.0001

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‘I’ve dreamt about you over and over again, Doctor’

‘I’ve dreamt about you over and over again, Doctor’

(p.27) ‘I’ve dreamt about you over and over again, Doctor’
Dead of Night

Jez Conolly

David Owain Bates

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses ‘Linking Narrative’, directed by Basil Dearden, which is considered to be loosely based on a 1912 short story by E.F. Benson entitled ‘The Room in the Tower’. While the source story's repeating dream motif defined the film's framing mechanism, its theme of vampirism failed to make it onto the screen, although it might just explain the presence of a looming, fang-baring vampire bat in Dead of Night's most well-known poster artwork painted by Leslie Hurry, a monster that is entirely absent in the film. Nevertheless, the link story that charts Walter Craig's tortuous passage through Pilgrim's Farm presents a monstrous circumstance that, gradually and horrifyingly, is altogether more frightening than any manifestation of a monster could ever be. Indeed, Dead of Night is regarded as ‘a horror film without a recognisable monster, or rather a film where the monster turns out to be the film itself’. Dearden's connective sequences are the firm foundation for the film's deserved reputation, and the seamless ellipse that they constitute has earned Dead of Night a unique place in cinema history.

Keywords:   Linking Narrative, Basil Dearden, repeating dream, vampirism, Dead of Night, Walter Craig, horror film, connective sequences, cinema history

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