US made-for-tv film (1970). Bing Crosby Productions for ABC-TV. Produced by Everett Chambers. Directed by Ted Post. Written by Chambers, Robert Specht, based on Night Slaves (1961) by Jerry Sohl. Cast includes James Franciscus, Lee Grant, Leslie Nielsen, Andrew Prine and Tisha Sterling. 72 minutes. Colour.
Clay Howard (Franciscus) and Marjorie Howard (Grant) are a couple having some marriage problems as the film begins; they soon find themselves stranded in a small western US town when their automobile breaks down. Repairs, they are informed, will take at least two or three days. On the first night, Clay is astonished when everyone else including Marjorie falls into a trancelike state (see Hypnosis), and proceeds to go into the desert. Clay seems the only person immune from this force, apparently due to a metal plate in his cranium from a wound received in the Korean War. Nobody remembers anything about their nocturnal activities when questioned, though it happens every night. Clay follows them one evening and learns that an Alien Spaceship is hidden near the town, and that the townspeople are being used as a workforce on the craft. Uncertain what to do since local Sheriff Henshaw (Nielsen) won't believe him, Clay considers trying to escape with Marjorie who also refuses to accept his accounts. He meets Annie Fletcher (Sterling), a mysterious young woman, and eventually discovers she is an alien in human form whose true name is Naillil. She is able to reassure him after some effort that her people are not hostile, and only wish to have their craft repaired so they can depart, which they successfully do at the end.
Originally presented as part of the ABC Movie of the Week series of original films, Night Slaves has some plot similarities to the Jack Arnold/Ray Bradbury film It Came from Outer Space (1953). [GSt]
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