|THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
|Copyright 1985 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 28 October 2001.
- Phil - Our hero, a social introvert. He should have spent more time looking for a hypoallergenic wig.
- Sandy - Ghost of a cheerleader who was killed in the 50's (apparently a previous time the evil was set free). She wouldn't have to ask me twice about climbing in the back seat. Rowl!
- Melissa - Descendant of a famous witch that was hanged in the village square over three hundred years ago. I think that, were I her, a new state of legal residence would have been in order. Becomes a vampiress.
- Vinnie - LeVar Burton! Now we know how Geordi went blind: compulsive masturbation. The boy's libido is in full swing and his girlfriend refuses to give it up. Turned into a vampire.
- Mitch - The group's big, dumb jock member. Strangled to death by his undead father.
- Mary - At first Phil has a fancy for her, but she is blinded by her own crush on some other guy. Yet another vampire victim.
- Capt. Jensen - Kurtwood Smith! Police officer who is turned into a zombie (with fireball fists) at some point.
- Mrs. Jensen - No relation to the above to my knowledge. Maybe asking her to chaperone the teens' Halloween party was a bad idea. She spends most of the night getting tanked on wine, then joins the nosferatu click.
- Phil's Father - Dick Van Patten! As a dentist, he has some "enchanting" views on suffering and relationships. Zombiefied.
- Lester - Local redneck that is savaged by a werewolf. Probably spends a lot of time sniffing his dogs' butts.
- Lucinda - Here is Melissa's (insert "great" a number of times) grandmother, the witch/vampiress.
|Pitchford Cove observes Halloween like so many other sleepy New England towns. The exception here is that, long ago, Nathaniel Grenville (Phil's ancestor) saved the town by hanging their local witch, Lucinda. Okay, so maybe that was not uncommon in New England back then. I am a novice in the background material, but the African-American witch angle seems unique. We will also discover that the evil released by Lucinda was very real indeed.
Following an exciting day at school, the highlight of which was the attractive female substitute teacher, the characters finally decide on their costumes for the Halloween party. In the small building that serves as Pitchford Cove's local museum are housed several wax figures portraying Lucinda, Nathaniel, and a conquistador (odd... ...moving on). The first two are dressed in garments actually worn by the people they represent. Mitch gets the idea that the artifacts would make great costumes for him and Melissa.
I might not be the first to point this out, but the clothing in question is three hundred years old! No doubt the curator who dressed the wax figures probably developed an ulcer from worrying about something ripping. These idiots plan on "borrowing" the attire, dancing, then returning it with no one the wiser. Get a lawyer Mitch, because the plan has some small holes in it.
The teens manage to get past Lester and successfully obtain their costumes. They also happen across an old trunk bearing the Grenville seal. Petty theft loves company, so they take the trunk too. There is only one place befitting to change for a Halloween party; Mitch stops off at the old graveyard. After donning costumes, their interest turns to the trunk (slightly battered by rough handling, at least it is acting its age). Inside are Nathaniel's ring and a timeworn scroll.
To the delight of most assembled, Melissa reads the baneful inscription writ upon the scroll in her best witch's voice. The curse is plenty evil; the only thing missing was a reference to the "black goat of the woods with a thousand young." Why she would cast a spell, intended to raise demons and the dead, on Halloween night, in a graveyard (where a mass murderer and a witch are both buried, to boot), is beyond me. I'm an adult who considers himself rational; go look at that last sentence. Seems to be a bad idea, right?
Nothing happens at first, but after the teens drive off the graveyard soil vomits forth a horde of undead. Leading them all is Lucinda, also resurrected by the scroll's power. The only exception to the evil horde is Sandy. The cheerleader wanders into town to see what's hopping and runs into Phil. Their meeting is brief, both going their separate ways, him to the party and her to where her house used to be.
Phil soon grows weary of the party though. Mary is oblivious to his advances and some weird people are filtering in. The latter would be zombies, who should be conspicuous by their reeking of rotting flesh, but maybe everybody at the party is congested. No, that is not it either. Melissa scolded Vinnie for his costume's smell (bandages smeared with ketchup and leftovers). Heck, I don't know why the smell goes unnoticed. Anyway, Phil changes back into regular clothes and leaves.
The despondent protagonist happens across Sandy again while driving home and immediately has a very spunky cheerleader on his hands. She wants to visit the malt shop, drag race other cars, and fog the windows at lookout point. Plus, to satisfy the male fantasy completely, she improvises a set of pompoms and does a cheer at one point. Yes, there are worse fates that I can think of than being saddled with an uninhibited 1950's cheerleader. A pretty one too. Too bad for Phil that Lester, now a werewolf, interrupts the petting session.
Back at the Halloween bash, Lucinda grows fangs and attacks her descendent in the wine cellar. I have been trying to figure out why all the bottles started either leaping off the racks or spraying their contents when the attack happened. Oh well, it is probably folly to dwell on little things. Melissa soon bites Vinnie; after that the number of undead at the party rapidly multiplies. This sets us up for the film's crowning scene, where Melissa sings "Get Dead." Remember Michael Jackson's "Thriller?" Well, one zombie looked like an extra straight out of the video. Now the partygoers perform their own little music video. It is um, not quite as good as "Thriller."
The police do not believe Phil and Sandy's story, so they depart the station. Stopping by his house to arm themselves, Phil sets about making silver bullets. He melts dental fillings (remember his father's profession) and then dips bullets into the liquid. Two things are wrong with this approach. One is that the bullets are just that, only bullets with no casing (hence gunpowder) attached and Phil has no clue about reloading. Two would be the fact that adding extra diameter to the round will probably make it get stuck halfway down the barrel.
Sandy comprehends the situation facing them completely and tells Phil how to stop the evil. Nathaniel's ring is crucial to sealing the scroll again; wouldn't you know, Mitch was wearing it as part of his costume. The two stop by the party, but find that the place is dead (oh, bad webmaster) and Lucinda is waiting for them. They do manage to get the ring back while fleeing. Finally, cornered in the car, the two frantically work to reseal the scroll as undead swarm over the vehicle (the witches just flap their capes). The cheerleader disappears along with all the other spirits when the spell is undone, leaving a very dejected Phil to mull over his jacket, draped on Sandy's tombstone.
I must say, the movie had some fun points. The music selection was, with one glaring exception, very good. Plenty of golden oldies with announcements by Wolfman Jack thrown in for good measure. The vanilla characters (Except for Sandy - Rowl!) were a major detractor throughout. Accepting Phil as the bona fide hero was onerous, but I took comfort in knowing that he will require lots of counseling before going out on another date.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Never hire a hemophiliac as a paperboy.
- In the old days people were buried with explosives, just in case they woke up and needed to escape.
- Halloween is a dentist's favorite holiday.
- Lycanthropes have 20/20 vision.
- Werewolves can be warded off with silver, wolfsbane, or Keds.
- Driving While Dead (DWD) is far worse than DWI.
- Back in the fifteenth century they burned punk rockers at the stake.
- Vampires are susceptible to crosses, wooden stakes, or being smacked upside the head with a flashlight.
- 1 min - Possibly the dumbest thing I've seen somebody do all year.
- 17 mins - Oh, so that is where fog comes from: piles of leaves decomposing in graveyards...
- 25 mins - Zombie midget! Cool!
- 31 mins - You are a rube; only in this movie would she fall for you.
- 33 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A CLOCK RADIO!
- 57 mins - No way! He must have something other than a stock engine in his convertible!
- 76 mins - "Your suffering will be legendary, even in the field of dentistry!" Hehehehe!
- 80 mins - Enough of the surreal opera stuff, this is annoying.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Phil: "Well, this sounds just like the curse Lucinda let loose on this town exactly three hundred years ago tonight, to set the free the demons of hell and to bring back the dead from the grave."
||Mitch's Father (Kevin McCarthy!): "You kids stay away from me with your stupid Halloween pranks! You hear me? Stupid punks!"
||Sandy: "No, I don't really want to be with a bunch of people I don't know. Especially since I won't be around for long." |
Phil: "What do you mean, you won't be around for long? You're not thinking about doing something crazy, are you?
Sandy: "No, I'm not thinking about killing myself, if that's what you mean. What a waste of time that would be."
||Policeman: "Burglary on 4th and Mason - pack of kids dressed up as zombies. Mrs. Phillips on Jackson swears she saw her husband turn into a bat and fly out of the window. He was heading north on Main Street and she wants us to keep an eye out." |
Captain Jensen: "Halloween, my favorite time of year."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Melissa sings "Get Dead" while the other partygoers (some are already undead) get down. This is better than the song's finale, when all the actors march at the camera as the chorus ends.
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