Black Noon (1971)

The Western is an acquired taste, and one that I have only begun to appreciate, even savour over recent years. Similar to the Horror scene, you have to wade through a lot of celluloid sewerage to get to the good stuff, and with their desolate locations, blurry morality and high death toll, the two make excellent bedfellows, although this is a fact that hasn’t been taken full advantage of, save a few scattered B-Movies over the decades that mostly end up more schlock than horror, and more cringe worthy than creepy.
But sometimes, you find a diamond in the dirt, and a one made for television at that.

The Reverend John Keyes and his wife Lorna are found unconscious in the desert by three good Samaritans after succumbing to the heat of the midday sun. Caleb Hobbs and his mute daughter Deliverance (now there is a name to strike fear into the heart of most men nowadays, or at least Burt Reynolds and his pals.), take the poor couple in and help to nurse them back to health.
Well doesn’t that sound like a nice little film? Yep I’d be disappointed with that too. Good job there is a town full of Satan worshipping hillbillies to throw into the mix then isn’t there?

Sighs of relief all around then, because now we have ourselves a horror movie!

Black Noon is criminally obscure in the film world, and pretty hard to find even with the wonders of modern technology. If you’re lucky enough to bag yourself a copy then you will see the reason why this is an absolute classic.
A stalwart cast featuring Ray Milland (Dial M for Murder) and Henry Silva (The Manchurian Candidate) really makes this one of the most tense and atmospheric chillers of the late 60’s/early 70’s. It has a definite Hammer Horror vibe about it, and comparisons with films such as Race with the Devil and The Mephisto Waltz are in this case warranted.
This Little House on the Prairie meets The Devil Rides Out style yarn, makes for an interesting take on the days of the wild frontier, and the phrase ‘the family that prays together, stays together’ – which let’s face it, was a creepy sentence without any satanic connotations.

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