The Night Walker (1964)

86 mins | Horror | 30 December 1964

Director:

William Castle

Writer:

Robert Bloch

Producer:

William Castle

Cinematographer:

Harold Stine

Editor:

Edwin H. Bryant

Production Designers:

Alexander Golitzen, Frank Arrigo

Production Company:

Castle Co.
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HISTORY

The 3 Feb 1964 DV announced The Night Walker as filmmaker William Castle’s first project under his Universal Pictures contract. He claimed it would feature “a form of human destruction never before seen on the screen.” Castle dismissed criticisms of movie violence as “ridiculous,” adding that such pictures were earning considerable profits. He described his latest production in the 16 Sep 1964 Var as his transition from “gore into pure shock and suspense.”
       According to the 3 Jun 1964 Var, Castle was interviewed several months earlier by Chicago, IL, journalist Shirley Eder. During the interview, Castle stated that he would like Barbara Stanwyck to star in his next production. After suggesting Stanwyck’s ex-husband, Robert Taylor, as co-star, Eder promised to share Castle's request with the actress. Castle responded by promising Eder a trip to Hollywood, CA, if she could persuade Stanwyck and Taylor joined the cast. Both Castle and Eder kept their promises. The 15 Apr 1964 NYT noted that it was the first time in more than twenty years that Stanwyck and Taylor appeared on screen together.
       The 4 May 1964 DV stated that Taylor was forbidden to show Stanwyck his assigned “horror mask” until the day he was to wear it. Ten days later, DV reported a cocktail party at Universal’s commissary to launch the production. The 15 May 1964 LAT included George Kennedy among the cast; his participation has not been determined. Other casting announcements included Paulle Clark and Kathleen Mulqueen (3 Jun 1964 ... More Less

The 3 Feb 1964 DV announced The Night Walker as filmmaker William Castle’s first project under his Universal Pictures contract. He claimed it would feature “a form of human destruction never before seen on the screen.” Castle dismissed criticisms of movie violence as “ridiculous,” adding that such pictures were earning considerable profits. He described his latest production in the 16 Sep 1964 Var as his transition from “gore into pure shock and suspense.”
       According to the 3 Jun 1964 Var, Castle was interviewed several months earlier by Chicago, IL, journalist Shirley Eder. During the interview, Castle stated that he would like Barbara Stanwyck to star in his next production. After suggesting Stanwyck’s ex-husband, Robert Taylor, as co-star, Eder promised to share Castle's request with the actress. Castle responded by promising Eder a trip to Hollywood, CA, if she could persuade Stanwyck and Taylor joined the cast. Both Castle and Eder kept their promises. The 15 Apr 1964 NYT noted that it was the first time in more than twenty years that Stanwyck and Taylor appeared on screen together.
       The 4 May 1964 DV stated that Taylor was forbidden to show Stanwyck his assigned “horror mask” until the day he was to wear it. Ten days later, DV reported a cocktail party at Universal’s commissary to launch the production. The 15 May 1964 LAT included George Kennedy among the cast; his participation has not been determined. Other casting announcements included Paulle Clark and Kathleen Mulqueen (3 Jun 1964 DV) and Rochelle Hudson (20 May 1964 Var).
       The 24 Dec 1964 LAT noted that a replica telephone booth was placed on a Los Angeles, CA, street corner in the Wilshire District for use in an exterior scene. After the scene was completed and the studio retrieved the booth, eight dimes were discovered in the coin box.
       An article in the 30 Jul 1964 DV indicated that photography had recently been completed. Editing was underway, according to the 5 Aug 1964 Var. The 7 Aug 1964 DV reported that recording of Vic Mizzy’s score, conducted by music supervisor Joseph Gershenson, began that day.
       A news brief in the 13 Oct 1964 DV announced that Castle began production that day on a six-minute promotional film, titled Experiment in Nightmares. The $25,000 short subject featured Pat Collins, known as “the Hip Hypnotist,” questioning six mesmerized subjects on their nightmares. The 16 Dec 1964 Var noted that Universal also planned a “‘dream’ contest” to be offered in the Jan and Feb 1965 issues of Modern Screen magazine. An item in the 30 Dec 1964 Var reported that Castle, associate producer Dona Holloway, and cast members Stanwyck, Taylor, and Lloyd Bochner were scheduled to begin a series of promotional tours on 4 Jan 1965. Cities included New York City, Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, Detroit, MI, Chicago, IL, and the TX cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
       The Night Walker opened 30 Dec 1964 in Los Angeles, and 20 Jan 1965 in New York City. Reviews were mixed, with the 1 Jan 1965 LAT recommending the film as “one of the better horror efforts” currently in release, and the 21 Jan 1965 NYT calling it “eerie nonsense.” The 3 Mar 1965 Var reported that the Dallas Citizens’ Committee for Decent Movies (CCDM) objected to advertising copy, which included the phrase, “Lust, murder and secret desires.” The picture was still in release as of 7 Jul 1965, according to that day’s DV.
       A version of the title song was recorded by the Sammy Kaye Orchestra for Decca Reccords. A related album, titled The Night Walker’s Dead-Time Stories! was released on Vee-Jay.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
3 Feb 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
4 May 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 May 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1964
p. 7.
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1964
p. 6.
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Dec 1964
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Jan 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1965
p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
15 May 1964
Section C, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1964
Section B, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
24 Dec 1964
Section C, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jan 1965
Section C, p. 5.
New York Times
15 Apr 1964
p. 46.
New York Times
19 Jan 1965
p. 28.
New York Times
21 Jan 1965
p. 22.
Variety
20 May 1964
p. 13.
Variety
3 Jun 1964
p. 5.
Variety
5 Aug 1964
p. 3.
Variety
16 Sep 1964
p. 17.
Variety
16 Dec 1964
p. 15.
Variety
30 Dec 1964
p. 21.
Variety
5 Feb 1965
p. 48.
Variety
3 Mar 1965
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
In charge of prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
Stills
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Main titles
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 December 1964
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 30 December 1964
New York opening: 20 January 1965
Production Date:
mid May--July 1964
Copyright Claimant:
Castle Co.
Copyright Date:
13 February 1964
Copyright Number:
LP33024
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Irene Trent's sleep-talking convinces her blind husband, Howard, that she is having an affair with another man. He suspects his attorney, Barry Morland, who denies the charge. Irene reveals to Barry that she repeatedly dreams of an unknown lover. After a quarrel with Howard, Irene leaves the house; shortly thereafter, Howard is killed in an explosion in his laboratory. Irene's dreams continue. She is visited repeatedly by her lover, who transports her to a chapel peopled by wax dummies, where a bizarre wedding ceremony is enacted. Irene enlists Barry's aid, and the lawyer reveals that Howard had hired George Fuller, a private detective, to spy on her. Fuller is later identified as the dream lover. Joyce, a new beautician in Irene's shop, is murdered by a man resembling Howard. Barry then informs Irene that Howard is alive and has attempted to slay him. In Howard's laboratory, however, Barry removes the mask with which he had impersonated the dead man. He further reveals that he had murdered Howard, having first named himself the blind man's beneficiary. As Barry attempts to stab Irene, he is shot and wounded by George, who informs Irene that he is the husband of the dead Joyce. Although George menaces Irene, Barry revives. During a final struggle, Barry and George fall through a gaping hole in the laboratory floor. Irene is now ... +


Irene Trent's sleep-talking convinces her blind husband, Howard, that she is having an affair with another man. He suspects his attorney, Barry Morland, who denies the charge. Irene reveals to Barry that she repeatedly dreams of an unknown lover. After a quarrel with Howard, Irene leaves the house; shortly thereafter, Howard is killed in an explosion in his laboratory. Irene's dreams continue. She is visited repeatedly by her lover, who transports her to a chapel peopled by wax dummies, where a bizarre wedding ceremony is enacted. Irene enlists Barry's aid, and the lawyer reveals that Howard had hired George Fuller, a private detective, to spy on her. Fuller is later identified as the dream lover. Joyce, a new beautician in Irene's shop, is murdered by a man resembling Howard. Barry then informs Irene that Howard is alive and has attempted to slay him. In Howard's laboratory, however, Barry removes the mask with which he had impersonated the dead man. He further reveals that he had murdered Howard, having first named himself the blind man's beneficiary. As Barry attempts to stab Irene, he is shot and wounded by George, who informs Irene that he is the husband of the dead Joyce. Although George menaces Irene, Barry revives. During a final struggle, Barry and George fall through a gaping hole in the laboratory floor. Irene is now safe. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.