Black Noon (1974)

   

Make Up Effects & Directed by: Bernard L. Kowalski

Produced & Written by: Andrew J. Fenady

Starring:

Roy Thinnes .... Reverend John Keyes
Yvette Mimieux .... Deliverence
Ray Milland .... Caleb Hobbs
Gloria Grahame .... Bethia
Lynn Loring .... Lorna Keyes
Henry Silva .... Moon
Hank Worden .... Joseph
William Bryant .... Jacob
Buddy Foster .... Ethan

Special Appearance:


Leif Garrett .... Towhead

Release Date: Made-for-TV: November 5, 1971

 

 

Rating:

 

A travelling Reverend John Keyes (Roy Thinnes) and his sick wife Lorna (Lynn Loring) are stranded in the middle of the desert and are picked up by Caleb Hobbs (Ray Milland) and a mysterious somewhat mute woman Deliverance (Yvette Mimieux) and brought into a small town but the two of them realise that the place is run by an evil satanic cult.

 

The beginning was an impressive but yet a cheesy start off in which we spot a catherdral being burned to the ground as well as spotting Deliverance as well as her cute cat watching this moment happening as you get a feeling that she's behind this madness.
Plus an impressive and convincingly struggling moment when Reverend John Keys is stranded in the desert with his sick wife Lorna while his carriage is busted and tries to see on fixing it but looking like he's suffering from a heat stroke along with a buzzard watching carefully as all of this looked quite intense to watch wondering if these two will be endangered by the wildlife there.
In the small town there's moments when the locals stare at the black villian Moon when he comes in and causing trouble as well as trying to tie up the old eccentric coot Joseph to take him away along with a struggling moment on John trying to stop him as all of this was supposed to look suspenseful but it looked quite stale by how everything was put together.
Also there's a situation when Joseph preaches to others outside but this looked uninspired and quite dull to watch as well as crappy camera shots on others around him listening. Alot of this looked pretty uneven.
Yet in the story starts to turn more interesting as Joseph is dreaming and involves him running into the night and a strange bloodied looking character stalking him as well as a strange moment with Deliverance approaching him which can be entertaining for a cult worshipping type of horror flick such as this one since this is often used and works in well.
Then it gets just as entertaining when Lorna gets out of her bed after hearing some chanting outside and spots children in masks doing a cult ceremony and goes out to see what it's all about. Plus some good moments when she sees something horrifying which also is a nice touch to a horror flick and then others come to see what's wrong and nothing is there from what she spotted like she was hallucinating. Also the moments later on looked crazed and intense like this woman was losing her mind as this was another good pointer to the scene.
A decent moment with a scene between John and Lorna in which they have a mild romantic discussion with one another as this seems to suit the story in a mediocre fashion and then he goes to a mirror spotting the figure he saw in his dreams which leaves a nice creepy feel to the flick which was a perfect touch.
Another near powerful moment when Moon returns to the town and challenges John when he tries to kidnap Deliverance and dares him to use his gun on him as it's a not too shabby peer pressuring moment on this preacher whether or not to kill this man to rescue this woman from his clutches. Makes you almost watch carefully on what he does but I've seen better and it needed a bit of an improvement but not too bad either.
Perfect creepy situation when Lorna is sleeping and having a nightmare that someone cuts a sample of her hair and then Deliverance uses it on some sort of a wax voodoo doll that she places it on as this leaves an eerie impression on what's going to happen later on in the story.
Also another neat nightmare sequence involving John that had Deliverance and Moon involved as well as Moon himself being shot a few times and a nice close up shot on him cackling which looked perfectly twisted to watch all of this happening.
Effective moment when Deliverance uses her voodoo doll while Lorna is asleep and does some deadly things to it with this woman reacting to what is happening and going crazy which looked perfectly intense to watch and fairly well done for a horror tale so I give the makers some fair credit for this moment.
Perfectly twisted moment when John is preaching at the church and we see the people laughing evilly at him which makes you wonder why they're acting weird which draws in perfectly mysterious moments and then it unravels with John towards the end which is creepy by how things turned out making you not trusting anyone who seemed innocent during the beginning of the story which of course works in cleverly for a horror film involving a satanic cult.
Bottom line is that the film is a little rusty and very roughly done especially by how it was shot. It's slow in alot of situations but then there's creepy and mysterious moments which saves it from being below average. A low budget TV movie that is almost unheard of these days which I can totally understand. Tried hard to make it a horror entertaining piece but needed a bit of a push to make it worth while watching.

The acting is very dated for a film of it's time as lead actor Roy Thinnes (Reverend John Keyes) seemed to have the right clean cut looks and portraying the ideal innocent and loving husband as he pulls some of these things off but when he does some preaching he seems to try too hard while behaving like this. At the same time seemed to show okay energy when performing a nightmare sequence and reacting to stuff. So he was okay doing some characteristics.
Yvette Mimieux (Deliverence) stood out the most in her role and was one of the best performers in which she certainly drew her mysterious behavior in very well especially when she watches someone or doing a nightmare sequence. Also had the perfect deceivingly innocence coming across onto the screen. Does well later on forcing out her words and speaking perfectly softly.
Ray Milland (Caleb Hobbs) seemed to draw in a good serious middle aged type of personality on what he was doing and shows a deceivingly friendly type of attitude. Does well with his strongly presence by what he does here. He seemed to try hard to get into his characteristics as much as he could. Also offers a good wickedness at the end of his performance.
Lynn Loring (Lorna Keyes) really got into her characteristics a great deal as she pulls it off well by acting sick. Also does nicely reacting while she's tormented in her nightmares or being in pain. Plus shows it off greatly when she sees something evil happening. Drove her intensity to the extreme when she acts wild and crazy with her upsetting emotions. Yet at times she gets carried away which is my only criticism.
Henry Silva (Moon) performed very mediocre in his role as the local villain causing trouble at the small town as he tries to act menacing but seemed a little off on his intense energy while doing so and wasn't intimidating enough to me at all. He just lacked while doing all of this. Yet seemed a bit effective in a nightmare sequence with his cackly laughter and crazed expressions.
Hank Worden
(Joseph) had quite the key supporting role in the film as he does well with his elderly behavior and coming across as perfectly eccentric within everything that he did here. He drives it to the extreme with his odd ball characteristics. Plus he had the right slim looks and appeal for all of this in which he was a perfect choice in casting if I do say so myself.

The composing by George Duning is also dated and a bit out of tune but yet seemed to work in okay for the scene's at the same time. We hear many low rumble drum booming sounds as well as cymbals clashing too which had a nice forceful feel to it. Plus there's some spooky types of music quiverring and moments like that which also fits the scene's that was used for the strange events. Also some good whooshing sounds too which was a plus. So the music wasn't all that bad just dated for it's time as it suits for both a western and a horror feel with the storyline that we spot here.