Top-notch 60s English horror starring Peter ‘Jason King’ Wyngarde. A sceptical university professor discovers that black magic is rife on the campus and his wife is among its practitioners.
"Do the undead demons of hell arise to terrorise the world?" asked posters at the time of the film’s release. The answer, of course, is yes, and the result (also known as Burn, Witch, Burn) is a swift, solid and at times genuinely scary entry into the canon of overlooked British horror treats.
Norman Taylor (Wyngarde) is the fiercely rational professor back in Britain after a spell in the West Indies. Successful in his personal and professional life, things start to go wrong when he discovers his new wife Tansy (Janet Blair) has a secret stash of occult artefacts. Taylor burns them and before long he’s being accused of assault, receiving spooky doctored tapes of his own lectures and being threatened by his students.
Much of the success is down to the artful unfolding of the plot and a solid script. In early scenes Wynegarde displays the same unflappable authority that made Jason King so convincing. But as the film progresses, Taylor’s scepticism no longer seems so appropriate and a last-minute dash to save the trance-stricken Tansy from driving off a cliff is a testament to Sidney Hayer’s triumphantly tense direction.
Peter Wyngarde as Norman Taylor
Janet Blair as Tansy Taylor
Margaret Johnston as Flora Carr
Anthony Nicholls as Harvey Sawtelle
Colin Gordon as Lindsay Carr
Kathleen Byron as Evelyn Sawtelle
Reginald Beckwith as Harold Gunnison
Jessica Dunning as Hilda Gunnison
Norman Bird as Doctor
Judith Stott as Margaret Abbott
Bill Mitchell as Fred Jennings
Art Direction: Jack Shampan
Director Of Photography: Reginald H. Wyer
Camera Operator: Gerry Turpin
Costume Design: Sophie Devine
Hairstylist: Iris Tilley
Makeup Artist: Basil Newall
Sound Recordist: Len Shilton
Sound Recordist: Eric Bayman
Director: Sidney Hayers
Editor: Ralph Sheldon
Producers: Samuel Z. Arkoff, Albert Fennell
Original Music Composer: William Alwyn
Novel: Fritz Leiber Jr.
Writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson
UK | 90 minutes | 1962