A Cry in the Night

(Robin Spry, France/Canada, 1992)


It may come as news to some filmgoers, but author Mary Higgins Clark became one of the undisputed stars of the video shop in the early ’90s – and continues to live on into the twenty-first century on cable television.

Her fiction is a very intriguing mix of elements from diverse genres, combining romances of the Female Gothic variety with horror and thriller devices that derive from the contemporary slasher film.

In effect, this mix resembles a dark Hitchcock romance of the ’40s – a wife in peril, locked up in a lush mansion as in Rebecca (1940) – updated with the gory violence of the Halloween film series. It is a riveting combination, to say the least.

A Cry in the Night is the story of harried single mother Jenny (Carol Higgins Clark – presumably a relative!), hitherto unlucky in love, who finds the man of her dreams in suave painter Erich (Perry King).

Ensconced in his idyllic country retreat, Jenny soon learns that Erich harbours deadly fixations borrowed equally from Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and the Stepfather films (1987, ’89 & ’92).

An even wilder Clark confection from this series worth checking out is For Better and for Worse (1992).

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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