First released in 1961 and directed by Curtis Harrington, Night Tide stars a young Dennis Hopper as Johnny, an awkward sailor. Johnny meets Mora (Linda Lawson), who works as a “mermaid” on the pier. For Johnny, it’s love at first sight. However, the more that Johnny pursues her, the more he learns about both her mysterious past and the dark fate of her previous boyfriends.
Night Tide is low-key and atmospheric gem of a movie, one that serve as an inspiration for low-budget filmmakers every where. Lawson is perfectly cast as the enigmatic Mora but the film really belongs to Dennis Hopper. Hopper’s naturally off-key presence made him perfect for the role of Johnny.
Night Tide is one of those low-budget movies that, because it’s in the public domain, has been released on DVD (often in inferior form) by dozens of different companies. Often times, films like this turn out to be fairly forgettable. Night Tide, however, is an exception.