A Cold Night's Death (1973 film)

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A Cold Night's Death (1973), AKA Chill Factor and Terror in the Mountains


Two scientists suspect that there is someone other than their research primates inhabiting their polar station.


Front cover of the novelization of A Cold Night's Death (1973 film)...
  • Release Date: 1973
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Suspense, Horror, made-for-TV
  • Setting: 1970s Tower Mountain Research Station, Washington USA
  • Runtime: 1 hr 14 min
  • Starring: Robert Culp, Eli Wallach, Michael C. Gwynne
  • Director: Jerrold Freedman
  • Writer: Christopher Knopf
  • Producer/Production Co: 20th Century Fox Television,ABC Circle Films,Spelling-Goldberg Productions
  • View Film: (link)
  • Wikipdia: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: not rated (Equivalent to a G or PG)

As a 1970s era made-for-TV film, there's really not much here that would get rated higher than a PG and it probably would have rated a G a couple decades ago. Still, it's an atmospheric and creepy little movie, and it's possible it might unsettle very young and impressionable viewers.

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

There's not much here of Lovecraft's sense of breathless weirdness, but the paranoia descending on a small team in an icy mountain-top research station is reminiscent of "The Thing" (and, by extension, "At the Mountains of Madness (fiction)"), while the antagonists revealed in the twist ending won't be too far out of line with Lovecraftian science.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Review by R. B. Armstrong at The Classic Film and TV Cave (link) ("Essentially a two-character play, A Cold Night’s Death benefits from compelling performances from Culp and Wallach. Credit must also be given to Christopher Knopf’s clever script... ")
  • Review by Brian Brankston at Cool Ass Cinema (link) (["...slow pans and tracking shots frequently crank up the sense of unease while Berlatsky complements it with his cutting techniques in crucial scenes. For example, a simple camera motion gives clues as to the horror awaiting our protagonists...
  • Mike Cole at Rivet on the Poster (link) ("...I have no idea how Aaron Spelling, the master of inexplicably popular trash, managed to make such an eerie, little SF horror film. That may be more than anyone can explain.")
  • Review by Richard Scheib at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review )(3/5 Stars (link) (3/5 Stars) (Contains spoilers) ("...the nature of what is happening is never made clear until the very last scene. What we have is a paranoia and cabin fever drama that works rather effectively.")
  • Review by Lance Vaughan at Kindertrauma (link) ("I can’t think of many films television or otherwise that so convincingly portrays the tightening noose of cabin fever or takes such cunning advantage of mankind’s natural fear of the unseen.")

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Two scientists suspect that there is someone other than their research primates inhabiting their polar station after taking over for a predecessor who seems to have frozen to death after heart failure. Their paranoia leads them to turn on each other, leading up to one's death, before the antagonists reveal themselves as the hyper-intelligent primates.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

  • (TO_DO)

Keeper Notes