15 July 2024

Rude Awakening (1980)
50 min.
Airdate: September 27, 1980
Directed by Peter Sasdy.
With Denholm Elliot, Lucy Gutteridge, James Laurenson, Pat Healy, Eleanor Summerfield, and Gareth Armstrong.
Jose Cruz
Norman Shenley (Elliot), real estate agent, is having trouble coming to grips with life. His wife won’t give him a divorce, his sexy secretary is constantly teasing him and changing her wardrobe, and he’s being plagued by mysterious voices and disappearing houses.

This may be due to the fact that Norman cannot seem to wake up from a never-ending nightmare, one in which he is endlessly accused of killing his nasty little wife.

Though by no means new to the genre, the dream motif is one that still has the power to generate some effective chills, be they however familiar to jaded fans. “Rude Awakening” comes close to seeming like another in a long line of these stories, but it’s nicely buoyed by dream sequences that pack a small but significant punch.

Director Peter Sasdy creates some truly eerie moments; just check out the hospital scene with the pasty-faced, fanged surgeons smiling at Norman as they load him into the morgue’s fridge! Brr.

Elliot is appropriately slimy as the lead, and his comeuppance is reminiscent of the radio dramas and EC Comics of years past. Credit to writer Gerald Savoy for squeezing in a neat, final twist to his tale.

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