Hammer House of Horror - Rude Awakening
Roy Skeggs, Brian Lawrence (executive), David Reid (executive) for Chips Productions, Cinema Arts International, Hammer/ITC
directed by Peter Sasdy
starring Denholm Elliott, James Laurenson, Pat Heywood, Lucy Gutteridge, Eleanor Summerfield, Gareth Armstrong, Patricia Mort, Pat Gorman
written by Gerald Savory, music by Paul Patterson, musical supervision by Philip Martell
Hammer House of Horror
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Norman (Denholm Elliott) is a henpecked realtor who is deeply in love
with his secretary Lolly (Lucy Gutteridge) - and she with him as well -
but his wife Emily (Pat Heywood) just won't give him a divorce. Then he's
called away to a decaying country estate on business ... where he
witnesses his wife'd dead body falling out of a dumb waiter before two
empty suits of armour start attacking him, all to the chorus of "why
have you killed her" - upon which he awakens, lying next to his
(alive) wife. It was a nightmare of course, but it doesn't leave him
during the day, so much so that Lolly suggests he just pays the mansion
another visit to find piece of mind. But the mansion isn't there, just a
phonebooth, and when he enters it, Lolly mysteriously shows up in the
booth as well, undresses ... well, it's too good to not be a dream, right.
soon turns out that every time Norman wakes up, he just awakens to another
dream that usually involves his wife, Lolly, and a certain Mr Rayburn
(James Laurenson), who usually acts as bringer of doom of some sort or
other, and of course the usual accusations of Norman having killed his
wife - which he hasn't actually in any of the nightmares.
involve ghosts, a building under demolition, brain surgery and the like,
and they won't stop ... until Norman actually kills his wife. He comes to
the office a changed man and proposes to Lolly on the spot - but without
knowing yet what he has done, Lolly is completely freaked out by this, as
if they never have had an affair at all. Then Rayburn turns up, and he's a
policeman now ... and it slowly dawns upon Norman that this is no dream no
more, he has actually killed his wife, and now he has to pay for it ...
of the best episodes of the rather uneven Hammer House of Horror
anthology-series, as it throws logic overboard early on with relish to
tell a really creepy story following the logic of nightmares rather than
anything else (and if nightmares aren't the stuff horror is made of, I
dont know what is), that despite the a tad predictable ending features
enough twists and turns to keep the audience on its toes throughout. Add
to that an excellent cast and a few visual puns (like Lucy Gutteridge
completely changing her look and attitude in each new sequence), and
you've got yourself a very decent horror story!