Directed by Peter Graham Scott
Written by Anthony Hinds and Barbara S. Harper
Hammer Films/Major Pictures
First viewing/Netflix rental
1st Sailor Jack Pott: If it’s all the same to you miss i’d like a few minutes more.
This was a different movie from what the poster promised. Still quite OK though.
As a prologue to the story, we get the incident of a mariner who murders the wife of a pirate captain. He is captured, has his tongue cut out, and is stranded on an island with no food or drink.
In 18th Century England, a coastal town is plagued by “marsh phantoms” that can make locals die of fright. This does not stop the populace from going out into those same marshes to conduct a flourishing smuggling operation. The pirate captain from the earlier incident is buried there. Rev. Dr. Blys (Peter Cushing) provides spiritual guidance by day and an iron rule by night. His ward is in love with the local Squire’s son (Oliver Reed)
Things get exciting when a gang of men from the King’s revenuers comes to arrest the smugglers. Many adventures and much violence ensue.
While there are “night creatures” at a few points, this is basically a period piece and pirate film. Oliver Reed certainly was a handsome young man at the time. I thought this was one of Cushing’s better performances. He switches back and forth between kindly old parson and vengeful leader of men at will.