Straight On Till Hammertime

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

Written by Michael Carreras and directed by Peter Collinson, Straight On Till Morning is one of Hammer’s more original films. Although you can tell it was consciously trying to catch up with the directorial innovations coming out of the New Hollywood (for example, it makes frequent use of brief flashbacks and cut-aways to convey details of the narrative), the actual concept is pretty unique – it’s a serial killer story shot through with allusions to fairytale and children’s fantasy, and in particular (as you might have guessed from the title) Peter Pan.

We open with socially awkward Brenda (Rita Tushingham), who writes light-hearted children’s fairytales in her spare time, making her preparations to move down to London from her home in Liverpool. Flashbacks intercut with the move process imply that she’s moving because she’s is pregnant and she hopes that in London she will be able to find someone to be a husband to her and a father to her child. (It’s also a tip-off to us that we should expect a lot of flashbacks and cut-aways in the movie before the structure of the cut-aways starts getting complicated). Once Brenda arrives in London, she has to find a job, find somewhere to live, navigate the shallow social scene her work colleagues inhabit…

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