Director: Russell Mulcahy
Writer: John Harrison
Cast: Elizabeth McGovern, James Wilby, Ronan Vibert, Edward Tudor Pole, Peter Guinness, and John Kassir
Composer: J. Peter Robinson
Air Date: 5/24/1996
Similar to The Shining, “Horror in the Night” makes chilling use of the Hell Hotel trope. This episode should, however, evoke criticism for its mediocre twist in the final scene.
For its haunting and surreal imagery, this offering deserves praise from horror buffs and fans of experimental television alike. In one sequence, for example, a mysterious woman (Elizabeth McGovern)—at first implied to be a ghost, succubus, or other demonic entity—grows a pair of wings and pins Nick to a bed, now crawling with tentacles and squirting a yellow substance all over his body. Also worth noting is that the hotel walls, heaters, and bathtubs appear to “bleed” at various points throughout the story, providing an ominous indication of Nick’s dark and terrible connection to said hotel.
By relying on horror clichés to build claustrophobia around Nick’s predicament, “Horror in the Night” lacks an original, compelling theme to distinguish itself from similar works of fiction (e.g. the aforementioned The Shining).
In addition to its hackneyed premise, this episode employs a superfluous amount of backstory/exposition to support the twist ending, weakening the revelation of Nick’s past involvement with Laura Kendall.
The fate of Nick, possibly a victim of guilt-induced hallucinations, will satisfy viewers with a sense of justice.
This episode is a creepy, nightmarish installment of Tales from the Crypt. Series enthusiasts may therefore enjoy “Horror in the Night,” unoriginal subject matter notwithstanding.
Overall Quality: 6/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.