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  • 1970's "Night Slaves" is one of those curious little films that, on the one hand, probably won't go down as one of the greatest movies ever made but never the less, does seem to have something deeper going on under the surface. It all begins when businessman Clay Howard (James Franciscus) is seriously injured in an auto accident and as a result, is left with a metal plate in his head and the emotional scars that come from the experience. To make matters worse, he and his wife, Marjorie (Lee Grant), have been drifting apart for some time. So, in an attempt to rekindle, they go on a road trip and come to a small town, where they decide to spend the night. Trouble is, something strange is going on at night; the town's folks are roaming around town like zombies onto trucks and being driven off somewhere! It gets even more troubling when Clay's wife is caught up in the spell as well. He tries but fails to stop her and the next morning, nobody remembers a thing; nobody that is, except Clay. Night after night, this happens and things get even more interesting when a mysterious young woman keeps appearing to Clay while all this is going on. Rather than being scared, Clay finds himself falling in love with this mysterious girl and from there, Clay begins questioning his own life, about whether or not he is truly happy in this life and wondering if all this is the key to changing that. The movie is able to tell its story through good use of night filming, an effective music score, good acting on the part of Franciscus and Grant, and competent writing that examines love, one's place in the universe, and happiness. The film is certainly not perfect, but like I said, there does seem to be something underneath it all that is worth looking at. So, if you get the chance, check this one out on you tube because even small TV movies can have something to say about life. Also starring Leslie Nielsen as the town sheriff. 8 out of 10.
  • At first glance, this looks like a typical, dreary TV movie. The production could be more extravagant, but the story is good. Given a chance, it turns into a "love against all the odds", interplanetary love story. The search for love is shown to be universal. When the aliens (creatures of mind) must inhabit human bodies to repair their ship, two "souls" (one human, one alien) in search of something more, find each other. They find, in each other, what we all desire and sometimes never achieve. Will they have each other? Will they escape? Will love conquer? I ended up caring...

    A LOT !!!
  • Although I only saw the film once and quite a while ago I remember it to be an entertaining film that had a very interesting premise.

    From what I remember of it, I thought that it showed some interesting possibilities in the story line. That a marooned alien spacecraft would use local talent, so to speak, to effect repairs was to me a novel idea. And to have the locals be unaware of their being used was even better.

    It put me in mind of "Strange Invaders" which as I recall had a similar idea but the people in that one I think were replaced by aliens who assumed their identities. I like this idea much more as the visitors seemed to be trying to have as little impact as possible on the hometown folks and it fell more in line with the non-interference provisions upheld throughout the Star Trek series and movies.

    I would like to see it again, though not bad enough to buy it anytime soon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Night Slaves" is a pretty obvious remake of "It Came from Outer Space" but on its own terms, it's a good film. The movie starts out with James Franciscus cracking up his car and ending up with a metal plate in his head. He and wife Lee Grant decide to recover by vacationing in a small California town. While there, Francsicus discovers that the entire town (except him) is mysteriously disappearing every night and returning before the sun rises.

    Franciscus finally finds out that an alien spacecraft has crashed nearby, the population has been hypnotized into repairing the ship, and the chief alien has cleverly disguised himself as the local dimwit. Franciscus is immune from the alien's powers because of his metal plate.

    Franciscus then gets the hots for one of the aliens (played by Tisha Sterling), and wants to leave with her. Why he would want to leave faithful wife Lee Grant isn't really explained. The ending of the movie is truly offbeat.

    Franciscus and Grant are very good, while a pre-"Airplane!" Leslie Nielsen stars in a serious role as the local sheriff. This mystery/sci-fi film is well worth watching if you can locate it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A businessman Clay Howard is involved in a car accident. As part of his recuperation process he and his wife go on a vacation to a remote village. Later, in the night, Howard observes everyone, including his wife, leave the town in trucks like somnambulists. He then tries to find out why.

    Night Slaves is another of a subset of American 70's TV movies whose objective was partially to chill its audience. Obviously its television restrictions mean that it can only go so far but it does have a nicely mysterious undercurrent that keeps things interesting. This one certainly goes into fairly unexpected territory when the source of the mystery is discovered to be aliens who have become stranded on Earth. They invade the bodies of the townspeople in order to make them repair their damaged spaceship. It's not ultimately the most interesting solution to the puzzle to be perfectly honest but the film does have an interesting ambiance in the lead up, while it does end on an ending that could almost be described as poetic. Of additional note is the fact that it features Leslie Neilson as the sheriff in a pre-comedy role, which always feels a bit unintentionally surreal nowadays.
  • I saw this movie again very recently for the first time in many years. It is not generally available for purchase. Anyone wishing to see it will have to search far and wide to locate a used copy, most likely recorded from television. The movie is little known and was probably never marketed for purchase.

    The movie itself is unremarkable, in terms of its story and presentation. In both story and presentation, "Night Slaves" is similar to other films of the science fiction/paranormal genre that marked this period. Films such as "The People" and "The Stranger Within" are siblings of "Night Slaves," stylistically speaking. All three films have the added distinction of being "made for TV" adaptations. "Night Slaves" is directed in a style that reminds me of sci-fi thrillers of the 1950s. Watching this movie, I am especially reminded of the classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." In keeping with the boundaries imposed by television, the direction of "Night Slaves" is characteristically low-key. Consequently, "Night Slaves" story and style never made and never will make an impact on the viewer.

    "Night Slaves" impact on the viewer is primarily in terms of nostalgia. It was first seen by many viewers in their childhood or young adulthood and may very well transport them back to a time many of them remember fondly. A time when, in addition to the ordinary pleasures of childhood, talk of UFOs and aliens from outer space generated a sense of expectancy and adventure not only in the children but in the adults in the family as well.

    "Night Slaves" might also be worth viewing if you are a fan of one of the actors. Actors such as the underrated James Franciscus, the stalwart Lee Grant, and the lovely Tisha Sterling are here for viewers' entertainment.

    "Night Slaves" is not a movie to shout praise about, but it will evoke often pleasant memories--even if they are corny--of an earlier era of life, when UFOs and beings from outer space caused quite a stir.
  • AAdaSC5 February 2017
    James Franciscus (Clay) gets a metal plate in his head after a car crash and takes a road trip vacation with his wife Lee Grant (Marjorie). They come across a sleepy town – literally. There are strange night-time goings-on that Franciscus observes and everyone seems to be affected except him. The whole town seems to go off somewhere every night and it is unstoppable. He tries. At the same time, a mystery woman Tisha Sterling (Nailil/Annie) appears to him and they fall in love. Who is she and can their love transcend whatever is going on?

    This is an enjoyable short film that zips along and has you questioning what will happen. You may well guess various elements of the story but it doesn't matter as it is an interesting story and everyone ends up with who they should. Leslie Nielsen also stars as the Sheriff of the town. Somehow, it stays with you after it has finished.
  • When the film begins, the Howards are involved in a serious car accident. Clay Howard (James Franciscus) is badly injured and required a steel plate in his head*. After his recovery, the couple go on a vacation--a road trip to unwind and relax after this incident. Their trip takes them to a strange little town where everything appears totally normal by day...but at night the townspeople become zombies and disappear on trucks bound for who knows where! When he tries to investigate, he finds a force field is in place and he cannot penetrate it. Apparently he's unaffected by whatever or whoever is controlling everyone due to his steel plate...but why? What is this all about and are these people, including Clay's wife, safe?!

    I liked this made for TV film because it was original and quite strange. The only apprehension I have is about the ending. I didn't mind it but it does leave the viewer a tad confused as to really what happened after all. I didn't mind this...some might. Still, it is a neat little film and I found a copy of it on YouTube....though, sadly, the print was pretty terrible. If you like other supernatural made for TV films such as "The Stranger Within" (with Barbara Eden), "Dont' Be Afraid of the Dark" (with Kim Darby) or "Crowhaven Farm" (with Hope Lange), then you will most likely enjoy "Night Slaves".

    *I did find it silly that the husband looked not only okay following getting a metal plate in his head but he was STILL the very handsome James Franciscus! No scars...nothing!
  • After a fatal car accident that leaves two people dead, the driver of the other car named "Clay Howard" (James Franciscus) manages to survive due to surgery which results in a metal plate being inserted into his head. Needing recuperation afterward he and his wife "Marjorie" (Lee Grant) drive off and eventually decide to stay for the night in a small town along the way. That night Clay wakes up and finds everybody in the town walking in a trance and being driven out of town in a couple of trucks-including Marjorie. Sitting in his bedroom is an attractive woman named "Naillil" (Tisha Sterling) who seems amused by his puzzlement. Anyway, rather than detailing any more of the movie and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that this was a rather fun made-for-television film. I thought James Franciscus put on a decent performance while both Lee Grant and Tisha Sterling certainly added some scenery as well. All in all I rate it as slightly above average.
  • Delrvich24 July 2020
    Of course, it was a 70s movie but also had me guessing it was going one or three ways. Didn't think it would end the way it did.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Joseph Millard in 1941 wrote a novel titled "The Gods Hate Kansas" which was filmed as They Came from Beyond Space in 1967 fully credited. The premise is that disembodied aliens are stranded on earth, and so possess the people of a small town and enslave them to repair their space ship, the plan is foiled when they arouse suspicion of a couple who stumble upon the town. Night Slaves stole the premise, the plot and everything else except the character names. Very disappointing. Even more disappointing was that both films and the novel where remade again in 1993 as The Tommyknockers, by which time Millard was long since deceased.
  • I recently purchased this movie NIGHT SLAVES, but I received a copy, so my guess is that this was never released on video, which is a shame, because it is a fun film. Now, I didn't think the film was great, but it was entertaining and short. I could see some stupid producer making a boring mini-series out of this story, but luckily this film is short and never loses your attention. The plot is not perfect, and the acting is subtle. I would only recommend watching this movie if you are bored and want some entertainment, not if you're looking for a great movie to watch with some great actors and a "sounds-interesting" plot.

    SUMMARY: Clay Howard (Jim Franciscus) is in a horrible car crash, which kills another couple involved. Clay is put in the hospital, while his wife Marjorie (Lee Grant) and friend Matt (Scott Marlowe) plan to leave him and become lovers. A metal plate is inserted into Clay's head, he leaves the hospital and takes a road trip with his wife. They stop in a small town for the rest of one day and evening. That night Clay wakes up from his slumber to discover the entire town loading into one truck and vacating the town, his wife included. He meets Naillil/Annie (Tisha Sterling) who tells him she's to make sure he doesn't escape. The next morning Clay wakes up to find his wife in bed, sleeping and everything back to normal. Was it a dream, or is he really going crazy? Clay decides to stay in town a few more days and figure out what really is going on.

    This is a great made for TV film. I suggest you check it out if the chance arises. The setting is creepy in the old town. The ending is no big surprise. A recommendation for this film would definitely be: THE STEPFORD WIVES. ** 1/2 STARS and 7/10.
  • So this one middle class businessman seeming type named Clay Howard wants to drop out of the rat race, and after a little celebration, Splat! Ka-pow!, near fatal car crash. He winds up with a metal plate in his head and his wife and he go on a bit of a recuperation vacation. Stopping in a small town, they stay a couple of nights, enjoy pleasant rural company and good food at the local diner, purchase a lovely Art Deco lamp for a song at a local antiques store, then head on their way having experienced a delightful rest in rural Americana. Actually, there's weird sh!t going on. Sorry to disappoint fans of films about cookery and antiquing, this probably isn't for you. Though thinking about it, like cookery and antiquing it does offer some interest and mild thrills, so maybe it is a good recommendation. But yeah, weird sh!t is going on. I have to give Night Slaves some credit, it goes for some thing different to the many devil cult/political conspiracy/murder set up explanations so popular at the time, though not entirely original it does make a nice change. Also interestingly, the mystery of what's going on plays out with intrigue rather than menace, an enticing but inconsequential puzzle that largely avoids the standard escalating paranoid tension. It's a film favouring reason and acceptance, an approach that raises some moral problems that are never resolved but does give it a nicely unconventional yet very much of its time vibe. On the other hand the general lack of tension means that the film is far more likely to bore people, and the actors have to work harder. Happily the cast do well in selling events, James Franciscus may not bring much depth to Clay but his matinée good looks and easy charm make him a pleasant protagonist, and he is neatly balanced out by Lee Grant as his fretful and nervous wife, cagily watching a situation play out that she never even intended getting into in the first place. The two have good chemistry and an effective charge to their more dramatic moments, and the rest of the cast support them well, most notably Leslie Nielsen as the local Sheriff, a sturdy and realistic type who wants no trouble, just to get to the bottom of things, as well as oddball character acting legend Andrew Prine as a local weirdo who ends up playing a bigger role than expected and the lovely Tisha Sterling as a mysterious girl who may hold the key to proceedings. So the cast and the general interest of the film hold it together for a pretty solid 70 minutes or so, but it isn't the most memorable, thought provoking or exciting of films. Probably only recommended to science fiction and made for television buffs, and not at all bad as such, just a little above average.
  • In case you're somewhat familiar with my user-comments' account, you might know that I have a strange fondness for made-for-TV horror/thriller movies from the early 1970s. Quite often they are genuinely well-scripted, tense, atmospheric and in desperate need for rediscovery. But I even tend to be generous and mild towards the ones that are obviously less qualitative, like this "Night Slaves", for example. The plot is implausible, the surprise twists are absurd and the characters are antipathetic, but nevertheless I enjoyed how director Ted Post ("Magnum Force", "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") and his talented cast (including James Franciscus, Andrew Prine and Leslie Nielsen) desperately attempt to uphold the mystery. Recovering from a terrible car accident that put a metal plate in his head, Clay Howard takes his estranged wife Marjorie on a road trip through rural California. They stop for a hotel in a sleepy little town, and you may the "sleepy" very literally, since practically every local is taking a nap in the middle of the day. When night falls, however, all residents - and Marjorie - are suddenly mass-hypnotized and led into trucks. What happens from there is quite reminiscent to the very first zombie movies ever made, as well as to certain alien-invasion Sci-Fi movies from the fifties! In all zombie movies made prior to "Night of the Living Dead" in 1969, like "White Zombie" and "Plague of the Zombies", the dead are solely brought back to life to work as slaves in mines or in plantations, and also in a few B-movie classics in the Sci-Fi genre (such as "It came from Outer Space", "Invaders from Mars") human beings are enslaved by superior extra-terrestrials. The denouement in "Night Slaves" is much simpler and sillier, but at least the premise felt like a nostalgic throwback. The film honestly doesn't deserve a rating higher than 5 out of 10, but I also happen to be a sucker for bleak and depressing endings, and the best and most shocking part about "Night Slaves" is definitely the climax.
  • cmodzins12 November 2001
    Now this movie had potential. However, several things were basically done wrong in the movie.

    Most of the people in the movie sleep in their clothes. The aliens who control everyone (save the hero) shouldn't understand about things like robes and slippers, yet the hero's wife dons hers before leaving. The town is about 95 percent male as well. The people move at normal speed from time to time, not looking like sleepwalkers at all.

    This could have been one of the great mind control movies. Instead, being made for TV in 1970, did not deliver.
  • Night Slaves (1970)

    ** (out of 4)

    Clay Howard (James Franciscus) survives a tragic car wreck that sadly killed the people in the other car. Him and his wife (Lee Grant) decide to get out of town for a while and they end up in a small town out West where he soon begins to think something isn't quite right. At night the townspeople get loaded onto a large truck but in the morning only Clay can remember what happened.

    NIGHT SLAVES is a pretty bland made-for-television horror film that simply doesn't have too much going for it. Often times these movies were extremely well-made by people who wanted to do something fresh and original. Other times these movies just seemed to be rushed so that they could have something on air by a certain date. Everyone here just seems to be going by the numbers and the cast appear to just be picking up a paycheck.

    The biggest problem is that there's really not enough done with the central story. I won't ruin why the people are being loaded into the trucks but it's not the greatest storyline out there and I'd argue that there's no suspense gained from it. Both Franciscus and Grant are pretty much going through the motions and even Leslie Nielson is wasted as the Sheriff. NIGHT SLAVES remains partially watchable if you enjoy these types of movies but there's certainly nothing special about it.