Another Half, A… – Dark Intruder (1965)

Leslie Nielson takes the lead in Dark Intruder which turns out to be a somewhat enjoyable excursion into the realm of horror, mitigated by the fact that it leaves the viewer wanting much more than it ultimately gives. The story involves Nielson who plays an investigator of things involving the occult and the supernatural and when he gets called in on a case by the police, he finds it comprised of not only a possible demon, but something more.

As a whole, the film works just fine and Nielson is decent as the leading man, but even when he tries to be serious, it is hard to take him as such due to his long and lengthy career of taking roles portraying the opposite. Starring across from the man would be Mark Richman as both friend and villain and his performance would often temper the almost carefree act of the former, adding horror to the picture just as much as any of the special effects present, which were incidentally, really quite good. The two would end up playing an almost chess-like game throughout the picture, Nielson’s character knowing that something is up with Richman and coming to the conclusion that whoever is committing the murders, has to in some way, be tied to the man – in more ways than one.

What is quite frustrating about this fifty-nine minute film is the fact that it asks a multitude of questions without giving any answers. Why does Nielson deal with the occult as he does and why is his house filled with so much supernatural paraphernalia? What does he mean when he says those cryptic words to the police about working with them and how does he actually make any money? The film even ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger, nothing so much as to do with the case they are dealing with at hand, but simply through the words as spoken by his servant Nikola as played by Charles Bolender. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that this was originally supposed to be the pilot for a television series that never actually became a reality and one can assume that all of these questions and more would have eventually been answered in future episodes, but it would have been nice to see the writing in this motion picture end up being a little stronger, making it seem a more complete story than it was.

At the end of the day, Dark Intruder is an interesting curiosity as one does not often see Nielson in something other than a comedy. Viewers can only wonder just how the television series might have ended up if it had been given a green light and just where Nielson’s career might have went as a result of it. It was a good short film that showed a lot of potential that sadly, would go no further.

3 out of 5

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