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(aka "Night Drive")

 

Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
USA 1977

 

TV legend Valerie Harper (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda) stars in this mesmerizing thriller about a terrorized motorist. Carol (Harper) learns that her son has been hospitalized and is in serious condition several hundred miles away. Her husband (Michael Tolan, All That Jazz) is out of town and cannot be reached, desperate to be with her son, she’s forced to start out alone on the long, barren drive from Phoenix to Denver. Very late at night and almost out of gas in an unfamiliar area, Carol notices a highway patrolman ticketing a speeding motorist, as she approaches them for directions to the nearest gas station, the officer is suddenly shot by the motorist. Carol in panic, drives off in terror―but not before the killer has seen her. The nerve-jangling events that follow are the tale of Carol’s frantic efforts to reach help―before she’s the killer’s next victim. Night Terror also-known-as Night Drive was stylishly directed by television veteran E.W. Swackhamer (The Dain Curse) and features a stellar cast that includes Richard Romanus (Mean Streets), Nicolas Pryor (Risky Business), John Quade (Every Which Way but Loose), Quinn Cummings (The Goodbye Girl) and Dinah Manoff (Grease).

***

Carol Turner, a frazzled, airheaded mother of two, driving alone from Phoenix to Denver, where her son has been hospitalized, witnesses the shooting of a highway patrolman by a psychopath in a yellow Mustang. Now he is relentlessly pursuing her in order to eliminate the only witness.

Posters

Televisions broadcast: February 7th, 1977

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Review: Scorpion Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Scorpion Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:13:16.433        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,035,562,011 bytes

Feature: 19,623,641,088 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1838 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1838 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1845 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1845 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Scorpion Releasing

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,035,562,011 bytes

Feature: 19,623,641,088 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Author Amanda Reyes and Author/Podcaster Daniel Budnik
Trailers (The Chosen - 2:09)


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 29th, 2021
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray (June 2021): Scorpion Releasing have transferred the Valeria Harper TV thriller Night Terror to Blu-ray. It is the original broadcast edit of the film. It's on a single-layered disc with a high bitrate and looks quite appealing in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There are very few speckles, tight lines and decent detail in the film's many close-ups, and the dominant night scenes have no noise or compression issues. There is some depth and minor but consistent grain (it was shot in 35mm.) The 1080P presentation is pleasing.

NOTE: We have added 52 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Scorpion Releasing use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language. Night Terror has extensive car chases/breakdowns/accidents, gunfire, an explosion and brief helicopter sound effects that come through fairly modest, but authentic for broadcas standards. The score by Fred Steiner (Man From Del Rio, Time Limit, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, The Killers, The Twilight Zone) sounding supportive for the suspense and more intense sequences. Scorpion Releasing offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray offers a new commentary by film historian Amanda Reyes (author of Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999) and Podcaster Daniel Budnik (author of '80s Action Movies on the Cheap: 284 Low Budget, High Impact Pictures.) They reference this as the female version of Duel, the surprising amount of subtext in Night Terror, hints of a second wave feminism, Daniel talks about the differences of the edits (original broadcast vs. 'extended') finding potential continuity errors and they talk about Valerie Harper, Richard Romanus, director Swackhamer, comparable films and how Night Terror is often an action driven film devoid of extensive dialogue. They are passionate about this film analyzing various themes expressed with details of the script.

Night Terror does have similarities to Spielberg's Duel with Dennis Weaver. I found that the original broadcast edit had some gaps with less-explained character and plot details but they don't make the, relatively, simple, thriller story worse, just possibly feeling 'rushed' and you may just have to more embrace a suspension of disbelief. There is a ham-fisted expression of Carol (Harper) as a ditzy, protected, housewife but forced to show strength because of the adversity of her terrifying situation. It's a little silly but Night Terror does have nostalgia value. The Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray gives supportive a/v (looked and sounded fine n my system) and the enthusiastic, edifying commentary has value. It was interesting to step back into 70's TV for this female-based Duel-like effort. I was entertained.

Gary Tooze

 


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