“I will not be responsible for what happens to us if you make me give up my protections!”
A highly rational professor (Peter Wyngarde) is disturbed to discover that his wife (Janet Blair) has been practicing black magic to help him achieve tenure, and forces her to stop — but soon a series of tragedies befall them, and Wyngarde must reconsider his lack of belief.
Film fanatics who’ve not yet seen this low-budget British horror flick are in for a real treat. Based upon a simple yet inspired narrative premise — a young professor seeking tenure would surely be more in need of assistance from the Dark Side than anyone else! — it possesses clear echoes of Rosemary’s Baby (was Polanski inspired by it?) in its depiction of a loving couple whose lives are nearly destroyed by their divergent spiritual beliefs. Director Sidney Hayers and DP Reginald Wyer film the entire affair with extraordinary skill, evoking horror in seemingly mundane interactions and objects; we come to truly believe that dark forces are ruling this unfortunate household. The final half-hour brings an unexpected plot twist, one which suddenly sheds new light on the narrative — and the tension simply never lets up. This is a film which really must be seen to be appreciated, and merits multiple enjoyable viewings.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Peter Wyngarde as Norman Taylor
- Janet Blair as Tansy Taylor
- Margaret Johnston as Flora Carr
- Wonderfully atmospheric cinematography and direction
- Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, and George Baxt’s clever, spooky script
Yes, most definitely. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.