Perish all who betray Captain Clegg.
In 1792 Captain Collier (Patrick Allen) is tasked with investigating reports of smuggling in the small town of Dymchurch on the English coast. He and his small band of sailors have with them a mulatto (Milton Reid). He is a mute. Years before his tongue was cut out by the pirate Captain Clegg for attacking Clegg’s wife. Captain Collier saved the mulatto from certain death when he was abandoned on an uninhabited island. Collier now keeps him as a slave, sort of a human bloodhound.
Collier has the local ale house ransacked looking for contraband alcohol. The ale house is run by Rash (Martin Benson) and his ward Imogène (Yvonne Romain). The mulatto finds a hidden cellar. Unbeknownst to Collier the ale house cellar is connected by a secret passageway to the home of Jeremiah Mipps (Michael Ripper), the coffin maker. Wine is hidden in the coffins. The building serves as the smugglers' headquarters. The parson of the village is Dr. Blyss (Peter Cushing). He is the leader of the smugglers. When the mulatto sees Blyss he inexplicably attacks him and is subdued by the sailors.
That night, the smugglers move their stash of contraband wine to a nearby windmill and on for shipment. The squire's son Harry (Oliver Reed) is shot in the arm by Collier and wounded. Harry is in love with Imogène. They are secretly engaged. Meanwhile, at the ale house, Rash kills one of the sailors to prevent him from notifying Collier about the smuggling operation. The mulatto finds the key to his chains on the dead soldier and frees himself. The mulatto then goes to the churchyard and breaks into Clegg's grave. The Mulatto makes another attempt on Blyss’s life. Collier is now suspicious of Blyss.
A small fire at the parson’s house results in Rash finding Clegg's last will and testament. He learns from it that Imogène is Clegg's daughter. He attempts to exploit that knowledge by forcing himself on Imogene. She escapes and flees to Blyss’s home. Blyss and Harry both tell her they already know about her heritage. Harry confronts Rash. He is arrested by Collier when the captain notices his bandaged arm. Harry is taken away to Collier's ship. He escapes when the Marsh Phantoms appear, distracting the sailors. The phantoms seem to know the right time to make an appearance.
“Night Creatures” AKA “Captain Clegg” is one of Hammer’s forgotten films. It was released in 1962. The film was directed by Peter Graham Scott and stars Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen, Oliver Reed, Martin Benson and Michael Ripper (who steals the show). “Night Creatures” was mislabeled as a horror movie. Technically it is an adventure story. Even so, it’s got that Hammer flair. Great period costumes and sets. Good acting. The story is basic. The phantoms are well done. Hammer did a good job of creating the ghost horse and rider effect. Unfortunately it’s only seen in a few places and for a short time but when it’s used it adds a lot to the movie. They are actually cool looking.
If you like period pieces or love Peter Cushing than this is something you may be interested in. Don’t think horror movie, think Eroll Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks but with a lot less swashbuckling.