This article is missing information about the film's production, and theatrical/home media releases.(April 2018)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Harvey Hart|
|Produced by||Jack Laird|
|Written by||Barré Lyndon|
|Music by||Lalo Schifrin|
|Cinematography||John F. Warren|
|Edited by||Edward W. Williams|
Universal Pictures (United States)|
Rank Film Distributors (United Kingdom)
Dark Intruder is a 1965 horror film made for TV that was released theatrically, and starring Leslie Nielsen, Mark Richman and Judi Meredith. The film is set in San Francisco in 1890 concerning playboy sleuth and occult expert Brett Kingsford (Nielsen). This atmospheric black-and-white film is only 59 minutes long, was directed by Harvey Hart, and was the pilot for a failed television series called The Black Cloak and was written by Barré Lyndon.
The Black Cloak was to be produced by Alfred Hitchcock's television company, Shamley Productions, which also produced The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Thriller. When the show was deemed too scary and violent for mid-sixties television,[dubious ] NBC sold it to Universal, who sold it to drive-in theaters as the second feature on a double bill that also included William Castle’s I Saw What You Did (1965).
In plot and character it greatly resembles Chamber of Horrors (1966), which was made the next year and had a similar fate. Critic Leonard Maltin wrote that Dark intruder featured: "Intricate plot and exceptional use of the time period blending with suspense" and that this made it "a one-of-a-kind movie." Dark Intruder showed up from time to time on late night TV throughout the 1970s.
The film opens, after the murder of a woman in dark alley by a mysterious caped figure, on a scene between Kingsford and his fiancé Eveleyn Lang (Meredith). Kingsford is an expert on the supernatural and along with his dwarf assistant Nikola (Charles Boldender) he is called in by police to uncover the scheme of a Sumerian demon to return to earth and take over a human body. A series of murders of women similar to those committed in 1888 London by Jack the Ripper has taken place in San Francisco; in the San Francisco killings, however, a series of statuettes carved of ivory and depicting a repulsive reptilian head is left beside each body. In each statue found at a victim’s feet, the demon in the little figurines emerges from the back of a man, budding out farther with each crime.[clarification needed] It as though with each killing, the demon is freeing itself from its host a little bit more.[original research?] There also seem to be connections between the four victims.
Kingsford initially consults an old Chinese curio dealer, Chi Zang (Peter Brocco) for advice. The dealer, (whose shop has a statue of a multi-armed Chinese god who may be Yu Lueh) shows Kingsford a mummified creature with a hideous fanged mouth which the priest claims is a Sumerian demon. The mummified demon is accompanied by a seven-spoked wheel. The priest says that the demon will commit seven killings, one for each spoke, until it accomplishes its purposes, according to mystic periods of time known only to itself. Kingsford picks up the small mummy but drops it when it becomes hot and leaves him with a scratched hand.
Kinsford then goes to the import shop of his friend Robert Vandenburg where they earlier arranged to meet. A shadow trails him, and in the shop, Kingsford is attacked by the hump-backed, long-finger-nailed, black hat-wearing, caped and demonically-growling figure who murdered the woman at the start of the film. Kingsford fends off the attack and the figure disappears. The police arrive, as does Vandenburg.
- Leslie Nielsen as Brett Kingsford
- Peter Mark Richman as Robert Vandenburg
- Judi Meredith as Evelyn Lang
- Gilbert Green as Harvey Misbach
- Charles Bolender as Nikola
- Werner Klemperer as Professor Malaki
- Vaughn Taylor as Dr. Burdett
- Peter Brocco as Chi Zang
- Bill Quinn as The Neighbor
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Author and film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film three out of four stars, calling it 'a nearly flawless supernatural thriller'. In his review, Maltin commended the film's intricate plot, and "exceptional use of time period", but criticized the film's uneven performances. Dave Sindelar, on his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings gave the film a positive review, commending the film's atmosphere, interesting characters, and surprises in the film's story. TV Guide however, gave the film a mixed review; awarding it two out of five stars.
- Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
- Sindelar, Dave. "Dark Intruder (1965)". FantasticMovieMusings.com. Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Dark Intruder - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- "Dark Intruder" in Andrew Migliore and John Strysik, The Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H.P. Lovecraft, Seattle WA: Armitage House, 1999, pp. 10–11.
- "Dark Intruder" in Charles P. Mitchell, The Complete H.P. Lovecraft Filmography. Westport CT and London: Greenwood Press, 2001, pp. 73–77.