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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Midnight Hour (1985)

The made for T.V. movie marathon continues. This time we dip into the mid ‘80s for a bit of Halloween fun. This ABC movie premiered the day after Halloween and tells the story of one terrible All Hallows Eve when the dead came back to haunt the town of Pitchford Cove. This is a good one so let us waste no time diving in.

The local teenagers are getting ready for Pitchford Cove’s annual costume party on Halloween night. They get the bright idea of breaking into the local museum and stealing the authentic costumes from the towns legendary witch and witch hunter. While poking around the find a chest and take it with them as well. After finding a scroll they decide to break the seal and read it in the cemetery! Really teenagers are so stupid… All the dead and demons from hell are unleashed and it is up to one of the teens to save the day. But first we get some mayhem.

The Midnight Hour is a well assembled movie that is paced quickly, has a lot of humor, some creepy monsters, and a satisfying ending. The story wastes no time establishing the characters and getting them right to the good stuff. We go from meeting them to holy crap there are bad things everywhere quickly and that is one of the things that makes the movie fun. The casting is perfect and features some familiar faces. Let me give you a prime example that will blow your mind (if you are a child of the ‘70s anyway…). Vampire dentist Dick Van Patten! How can that not bring a smile to your face? Oh, and the legendary Kevin McCarthy shows up playing the father of one of the kids. Towards the end of his career no one did the angry old guy better.

The movie is also surprisingly sweet. While the characters might not realize that the cheerleader, Sandy, who shows up is a ghost we certainly should. Her reactions at “modern” 1985 is amusing to watch. She also gets to have a romance, completely innocent in a ‘50s sappy way, that she never had in life. There are also some funny bits the ghouls as they show up at the big costume party. Everyone assumes that they are just people dressed up which means you have zombies making out on the couch and a little demon guy commiserating with a spurned teen boy. Maybe not laugh out loud but it was amusing. It is also a very sad twist when Sandy is forced to help save the town, knowing that it will send her back as well. There is a song and dance routine that is quintessentially an ‘80s thing that put a smile on my face as well.

Not bad makeup for a made for television movie!
The creature designs are good. The ghouls/zombies look stellar. We get a couple of them that seem to be featured. They get a lot of screen time and the makeup holds up really well. Even when viewed in close-ups. We get a lot of background zombies in the cemetery scene that are just tattered clothes and grey skin, but they aren’t really seen until the end. There are also a couple of werewolves that look okay. The vampires are mostly just teeth and not much else. We do get a nice vampire attack in a wine cellar that is staged in a unique and memorable fashion.

There is a lot to like about The Midnight Hour. I can’t think of a made for T.V. horror movie that I like any better than this one. I put it right up there with the Kolchak movies from the early ‘70s and Dark Night of the Scarecrow from 81. This movie used to be impossible to find (I still have my bootlegged VHS rip on DVD!) but while writing this review I found it on YouTube. See the link at the top of this page. Really you should check this one out!

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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