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Alone in the Dark (1982)

A quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital during a power blackout and lay siege to their doctor's house.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Dan Potter
Lee Taylor-Allan ...
Elizabeth Ward ...
Ray Curtis
Gordon Watkins ...
Detective Burnett
Keith Reddin ...
Marissa Hall
Receptionist at Haven


Thanks to a major power cut, a gang of psychopaths breaks out of the Haven maximum security mental institute in order to lay siege to the psychiatrists who have tormented them over the years with their bizarre theories... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Too frightened to breathe... See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alene i mørket  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was one of the first horror films to be made with Dolby Stereo sound. The advanced sound level would often blow out the speaker systems in older theaters while the movie was being screened. See more »


When the escaped inmates climb into the white van in the parking lot of the strip mall, the van is parked head-on in front of a store. We see the inmates climb in and the next shot has them hurriedly driving forward, which was impossible given the cement barrier and curb that was in front of the van. They would have had to reverse the van first. See more »


Frank Hawkes: There are no crazy people, doctor, we're all just on vacation.
See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


Chop Up Your Mother
Written and Performed by The Sic Fucks
Produced by Andy Shernoff (as Adny Shernoff)
See more »

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User Reviews

Insightful entertainment – great cast
1 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

This here is one more American horror movie that reflects social issues and behavior patterns of a certain era (a truly interesting genre), in this case the early nineteen eighties. The main ‚target' is a small young family in New Jersey. The father is a psychiatrist, who just started working at a lunatic asylum. He is some kind of bleeding heart liberal, down to driving a vintage Swedish SAAB model. The head of the asylum is even more ‚liberal', he does not want to put the really dangerous cases in his custody behind bars. They can't help it being dangerous, they are not insane, but voyagers, is his credo.

Due to an incident in a nearby nuclear power station the wife and sister of the psychiatrist protested against (finding themselves promptly behind bars), the four most dangerous inmates can escape from the asylum. They get after the psychiatrist, because they think he killed his predecessor. Why? Just because they are insane. They set siege to his house, and from there the movie resembles Assault on Precinct 13.

The story may sound simple and dumb, but it works very well. This is not least due to the first rate cast with many venerable thespians. Alone in the Dark is definitely a must-see for fans of Martin Landau. Here he found one of the only too rare occasions to show off his range as an actor. He plays a mad preacher with rolling eyes, swinging around a burning jacket or wielding a sharp instrument. At one point he appears at the doorstep of the psychiatrist's house with a mailman's cap on his head, saying he wants to deliver a telegram. His facial expression just conveys sheer insanity, an unforgettable moment.

Basically, Alone in the Dark is a comedy or a social satire. There are some moments of gore, the suspense aspect is handled very well and in a rather parodic way. The movie and has a good rhythm of tension and subsequent relaxation. It contains a message which is pretty direct and comes through nicely: Some people are just dangerous and have to be kept away. It's OK to search for the reasons of their condition and find possible ways for a cure, but they have to be kept away first.

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