A lonely sailor, Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper), meets the beautiful, mysterious Mora (Linda Lawson) who performs as a mermaid on the Santa Monica Pier. After they become lovers, Johnny discovers that Mora's past two boyfrie... more »nds inexplicably disappeared. As his suspicions grow, Mora's doomed and sinister past is slowly revealed. In his first leading role, Hopper is captivating as the naive and eager Johnny. Like Val Lewton's "The Cat People," Curtis Harrington's "Night Tide" is hypnotic and eerie, macabre and haunting.« less
"Great low-budget indy horror film from the 60s inspired by the Val Lewton classic 'Cat People'. Fans of other b/w indy horror flicks like 'Carnival of Souls' should really enjoy it. It stars the great Dennis Hopper ('Giant', 'Easy Rider', 'River's Edge', 'Blue Velvet', etc.) as a naive young sailor named Johnny who falls for a mysterious & beautiful girl called Mora. Mora works as "Mora the Mermaid" in a sideshow during the day on a CA Boardwalk. After they become lovers, Johnny discovers that Mora's last two boyfriends mysteriously drowned and soon he starts wondering if Mora is a real mermaid or one of the spooky "Sea People". The soundtrack is a mix of great bongo numbers & bad b-movie music, but the real highlight is the eerie atmosphere and great stylized photography. The director tried hard to raise "Night Tide" out of the usual b-movie abyss and it shows. Excellent flick!"
A Strange, Moody, Effective Low-Budget Film
tokyodoll | 04/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Night Tide" makes extensive use of the Venice, California milieu in which the story is set, telling the story of a lonely sailor (Dennis Hopper) who is attracted to Mora (Linda Lawson), a young woman who enacts the role of a mermaid in one of the sideshows on the pier. Mora, her guardian, and several of the people who make up the sideshow subculture hint at the possibility of a terrible secret about Mora's past loves and perhaps her true otherworldly nature, and the film takes off from there. The streets of Venice (as it appeared in the early '60s when the film was made) are turned into a shadowy, bizarre landscape through the excellent photography and editing, and the colorful supporting characters contribute to the strange, dreamlike mood. Performances are uniformly excellent and right, from the leads to minor characters. Director/writer Curtis Harrington, in his feature debut, has made a low-key suspense/fantasy film that, like the films of Val Lewton in the 1940s (Cat People, The Seventh Victim, et. al.), substitutes our dread of monsters for the monsters themselves and keeps us guessing until the end. Though not well-known except in cult cinema circles, this is a beautifully-done, effective film you can watch again and again."
Poetic horror movie
William Kersten | Reno, NV United States | 10/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a fine example of how low budget is sometimes better than big budget: its qualities come partly from moody black and white lighting on ordinary locations and subtle suggestions of fear and the supernatural with lighting and editing rather than blatant special effects. It has a quiet and eerie, dream-like atmosphere, with excellent acting by Dennis Hopper, Luana Anders, and Linda Lawson as "Mora the Mermaid." The music score by David Raksin is excellent, and a rare example of a major film composer working on a very small budgeted film. Curtis Harrington's directing creates a sense of psychological eerieness and shadowy imagery rarely seen since the Val Lewton classics of the forties, which it is similar to (especially the original "Cat People" with Simone Simon). This DVD release is very good quality, and features an excellent and informative commentary by Curtis Harrington and Dennis Hopper."
Something's happening here....
Peter | California | 12/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A haunting, mysterious and magical movie. Marjorie Cameron adds an element of real life magic. Kenneth Anger also had done this when he used her in `The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)'. Marjorie Easton also adds to the spell, and Dennis Hopper is wonderful. The carnival is the perfect background for a a plot about fantasy and reality. Filmed at the Santa Monica Pier, Venice and Ocean Park, California, where Anton LaVey played organ at strip joints in the late 1940's. The name Mora is found in many parts of the world as the death aspect of the `Triple Goddess', or Night Mare, or female vampire. "
Classic film done justice on disc
Surfink | Racine, WI | 08/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't go into a treatise on the film except to say that it is one of my sentimental favorites of the fantasy genre (inspired by Val Lewton's films of the 40s, particularly Cat People) even though there's no monsters, sci-fi apparatus, etc. Just a wonderful, evocative mood and sense of place, offbeat and interesting characters, effective photography, etc. According to the accompanying commentary, Harrington and Hopper felt they were making a "movie of the streets" like the Italian directors and I think that's part of what contributes to Night Tide's uniqueness; that feel really comes through. Anyway the DVD is very clean, the best I've ever seen the film, letterboxed, with no video or audio problems that I noticed. The commentary, although there are occasional lulls, is quite interesting. Harrington and Hopper have to jog each other's memories a bit (although Hopper eventually remembers quite a bit more detail about the movie than one would expect) and some fascinating bits are revealed (they identify nearly every location they shot on, many of which could still be visited by the intrepid.) In summary, fans of serious, atmospheric fantasy-horror (or Lewton freaks) won't be disappointed in the movie or the DVD."