Night Creature (1977) aka Out of the Darkness
I happened to pick this title up in a Scream Theater Collection form VCI Entertainment. I had recalled seeing it years ago on late night T.V. so this afforded me the opportunity to revisit this made in Thailand thriller.
Starring as a self made man we have big game hunter Donald Pleasence called in to rid an area near the river Kwai of a black panther that is wreaking havoc on the locals. With no fear Donald marches off into the jungle to face down the man eater. Things don’t go quite his way allowing the silky black cat to briefly get the better of him. Realizing he has been truly scared for the first time in his life he sends in a group of hunters to catch the killer alive. They must then deliver it to his private island where he can face down the demon one on one as well as reclaim his manhood that he feels has been taken from him.
Believing he is all alone on the island he goes about hunting the big cat. Little does he know that his two daughters and grand daughter have taken a boat over to his private resort which of course complicates matters. Before he knows it the cat once again has the upper hand.
Hong Kong actress Nancy Kwan also stars here as one of Donald’s daughters. She’s a long way from the quality of leading roles she experienced in the early sixties in films like The World of Suzie Wong. She’s Asian and Donald isnt. Don’t let that stop you from seeing them as a father-daughter team. Just look over the screen credits of Donald and you’ll quickly see he was a trouper having never read a script he wouldn’t do.
Directed by Lee Madden, the film ‘s black panther is a gorgeous looking creature. Madden mostly films it in slow motion and at times with Pleasence doing a voice over narration. As for the cat actually sharing the screen with any of our main stars, not likely. Spliced in to be sure. Dubbing on the film isn’t exactly well done but don’t let that stop you from seeing Donald going over the top. With eyes bulging and a loved one mauled to shreds in his arms he cuts loose slicing the ham extra thick.
Obviously drive in fare but to see Donald ham it up can make for a fun experience. The final scene where we get some superimposing is downright weird and good for a chuckle as is a scene where Mr. Pleasence utters the line “Oh my God.” five times in succession. I guess the screenwriter was somehow at a loss for words.