One Dark Night

This is one dark night that actually features the Dark Knight! Adam West in a zombie movie! I love this guy! one_dark_night THE POSTER ART: This image, and all the promotional ads I found for this movie seem remarkably cheesy yet full of classic horror elements. They are kind of fuzzy and goofy and suggestive of horror without actually giving much away. What we can expect are corpses, that shoot lightning out of their eyes and teenagers in love. THE GOOD: Remember Dottie from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? She’s in this! I know this is a really random thing, but that’s awesome! I had a huge crush on her. (And so did my friend James! The plot revolves around the daughter of a psychic maniac or vampire who used his bioenergy to kill young women. He’s entombed in the mausoleum a girl has to spend the night in as part of an initiation into a gang of girls. I have to admit the mausoleum itself looks pretty good. Not like I would expect from a horror movie with a lot of fake moss and bullshit all over the place, but with realistic lighting and imagery. Gotta give them props for that. The best parts of this movie come near the end. In fact pretty much the entire movie is prologue leading up to the events in the mausoleum. This is also where the zombies FINALLY come in to play. As the psychic vampire begins to reanimate, his power over life through bioenergy reanimates the corpses of everyone else in the mausoleum and we get some really intense scenes of the dead rising and coming after the girls who are trapped with them. Some of the makeup and special effects are brutally disgusting and really nicely done. Unfortunately most of the effects are a really dated and amount to little more than wax dummies being dragged around and dropped on the girls. They look not just fake but sort of sadly pathetic. Despite the effects, it’s a great scene. One odd note is that although the music is mostly pretty bad, there are a number of scenes near the end where we seem to be hearing the theme from Terminator. That slow thruuuuuum, thruuuuum, thruuuuum whenever Arnold appears.  I’m pretty sure it’s a coincidence as The Terminator came out in 1984. THE BAD: The copy of the movie I saw was some sort of bad transfer that had been stabilized? or something? It almost looked as if a strange water effect had been applied to the whole movie. This isn’t the fault of the filmmakers at all but it did make it hard to watch this copy. This movie is full of cheap movie clichés like the bad guys getting their comeuppance’s and the sort of teenage drama we saw in a lot of movies of the time. It’s all about teens fitting into groups by passing some sort of initiation. It comes across a little forced to me but when I was a kid, when this movie came out, it seemed totally normal to me. Mostly because I was a kid and didn’t know any better but it’s entirely possible that this sort of thing really was all the rage with teenagers back in the early 80’s. (This movie was made in 81 but released in 83.) Think of movies like Revenge of the Nerds and Animal House and you’ll know what I mean. Although I know it’s movie convention to have all your charters arrive in a  place for the high point of the action it also comes across as unrealistic and overly convenient. The night this evil psychic reanimates just happens to be the same night these girls are all running around in the mausoleum. Unless of course that’s what causes him to reanimate. Cut out the unnecessary subplot about the teens and you have a much tighter and focussed film. But then it would only be twenty minutes long. The daughter of Raymar the psychic defeats his corpse by reflecting his psychic rays back at him with a mirror. How stupid is he? Why doesn’t he just stop shooting out the psychic energy until she puts the mirror down. Why doesn’t he stop the instant the power feeds back on him? If you put your hand on something hot you pull it back right away, but this guy just keeps shooting away with a solid beam of power. Can’t he stop? If that’s the case it’s never made clear. THE UGLY: As a member of the girl gang you get a great purple jacket. Wow. That’s terrible. MY FAVORITE QUOTES: There is a phenomenon, it’s called psychic vampirism. What’s the big rush? I want to get there before it closes NERDLE brain! Do you prefer your corpses fresh or rotted? Literally EVERYTHING Adam West says is incredible to listen to. The movie is nearly worth it just for him alone.


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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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