31-days-of-hammerNo not that crappy TV show from 1990’s although I’m sure it managed to cause a few nightmares itself but today’s 31 Days of Hammer is the 1965 thriller starring Bette Davis.

10-year-old Joey Fane (William Dix) has been away in a “special” school. It seems that he drowned his baby sister two years ago and has spent in an institute hopefully getting better. Joey’s parents Bill and Virgie Fane (James Villiers and Wendy Craig) are less than thrilled to see their son return home. Virgie even confesses to the always trusty Nanny (Bette Davis) that she fears the boy.

NannyJoey’s doctor doesn’t quite feel the boy is all right yet but he returns home anyway. Joey first refuses to stay in the bedroom that Nanny prepared or eat the food that Nanny made. Virgie is soon hit with food poisoning and hospitalized. Nanny says that she found a bottle of medicine in Joey’s bed which Joey denies. Joey say that it was Nanny and that Nanny killed his sister but it’s hard to tell which one is telling the truth. Both Joey and Nanny are pretty creepy.

Bette Davis revitalized her career in the 1960’s by starring in several thrillers starting with What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? She wasn’t Hammer’s first choice for the role, the producers wanted Greer Garson who turned the role down, but she does an awesome job as the Nanny. Friendly yet menacing the same as then child actor William Dix who couldn’t even watch the movie in theatres at the time because he wasn’t old enough. Davis would return to Hammer a couple of years later for another thriller The Anniversary which isn’t nearly as good as this film.