Midnight (1982)

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Mild Spoilers

A Startling & Shocking Adventure – As Three College Students Take a Strange Detour to the Land of the LIVING DEAD!

Written and directed by John A. Russo

AKA

Backwoods Massacre

John Russo’s Midnight

Terror ved midnatt (Terror at Midnight)

John A. Russo co-wrote the screenplay of Night of the Living Dead (1968) with George A. Romero. Russo also wrote the novel Return of the Living Dead (1977) as a sequel to Romero’s film but the 1985 film directed by Dan O’Bannon does not follow the same plot as the book.

Devil worship horror Midnight, based on Russo’s novel of the same name, stars Melanie Verlin as Nancy Johnson, a girl who runs away from home to escape her abusive stepfather Bert (Lawrence Tierney). She’s given a ride by Tom (John Hall) and Hank (Charles Jackson) in their van. They’re a couple of friendly guys who also happen to be petty criminals.

The trio stop for gas and meet Reverend Carrington (Bob Johnson) and his daughter Sandra (Lachele Carl). The reverend asks Hank for a ride and tells them that half a dozen people have been found dead in the area, some who were obviously murdered. They drop the reverend and Sandra off at the cemetery they are visiting and Sandra leaves her father to go home shortly after they reach the grave. The reverend is attacked and murdered by a laughing man. The man then carries the body to the reverend’s house where Sandra is alone.

Nancy helps Tom and Hank steal groceries from a store and they are chased by the cops but manage to get away. They see the laughing man carrying what appears to be a body and then find somewhere to camp for the night. Tom and Nancy hear the man laughing in the dark woods.

The next morning Tom and Hank wake up to two aggressive cops. Nancy gets back from a walk and seeing what’s going on stays out of sight.

That’s all I’m saying about the plot. It’s a great little film. The opening scene is pretty disturbing; a young girl caught in a bear trap is terrorised, beaten and murdered by a woman and her children. This isn’t a very gory film but it’s pretty dark and has special effects by Tom Savini so some scenes are fairly nasty. It looks all of its low budget and the acting isn’t great but despite this it works a treat. If you like low budget 70s/80s horror with a nasty streak you might enjoy it, I know I did.

Arrow have done a bang-up job of releasing this little gem and it’s definitely one for the discerning horror collector.

Also stars Robin Walsh as Cynthia, David Marchick as Cyrus, Greg Besnak as Luke, John Amplas as Abraham, Jackie Nicoll as Mama, Amy Brinton as Girl in Trap, Debra Smith as Young Cynthia, Billy Green as Young Cyrus, Daniel Costello as Young Abraham, Chris Riblett as Young Luke, Doris Hackney as Harriet Johnson, Dan Kamerer as Gas Station Attendant, Ellie Wyler as Gwen Davis, Maura Minteer as Sharon, Doug Mertz as Billy, Bud Mellot as Sheriff and Lucian White as Man in Car.

If you like Midnight you might also like:

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Lisa, Lisa (1977)

Unhinged (1982)

Midnight

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