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Midnight Cabaret (1990)

R  |   |  Horror
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A Broadway producer puts on a play with a Devil character in it. Soon the actors begin having nightmares, and events that are mentioned in the play really start happening.


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Credited cast:
Paul Van Dyke
Paul Drake ...
Laura Harrington ...
Tanya Richards
Leonard Termo ...
Lt. McMurphy
Bruce Wright ...
Det. Angelo
Juan Carlos
Ron Pearson ...
Parking Attendant #2
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Allard ...
Mad Monk
Lada Boder ...
Woman in White


A Broadway producer puts on a play with a Devil character in it. Soon the actors begin having nightmares, and events that are mentioned in the play really start happening.

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Straight To Video Chick-Flick Horror Rental Twaddle
8 April 2009 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Pece Dingo's MIDNIGHT CABARET reveals it's hand early when the fragrant, shaggable damsel at the focus of it's "story" (Lara Harrington, looking fresh), a struggling actress named Tanya, finds herself thrust into a nightmare vision where she is pursued through a Gothic, fashionable Los Angeles by a straight edge razor wielding vampire whom she had witnessed feeding off another hunk in a downright sexual manner. He is stark naked, with plenty of rump shots as he scuttles up various staircases in pursuit of her nightie-clad, rain dampened body. Either the film is gay, or it's for the ladies, which turns out to be the case by the second reel when we get to see her apartment. It isn't a living space for a struggling actress, it's a stylistic flourish dream pad that Mies Van Der Rohe would have had trouble paying the rent on.

The premise for the film is actually interesting: A super high-class nightclub/cabaret type of hotspot staging neo-Grand Guginol type performances which blur the line between reality and dreams. Are the performances for real or imaginary? The answer seems to be yes, they are both. Everyone has perfect clothes, perfect hair, plenty of cigarettes, and behave as though they were in a Duran Duran music video. Which makes sense given the presence of lead actor Michael Des Barres, who fronted a Duran Duran spin off band during the 1980s. He glowers under his highly stylized hairdo, rasping in a mid Atlantic half-British accent while intoning the Prince of Darkness, ironically clad in a perfect white suit. His stage MC evokes a pre-heroin Boy George, and everyone in the cast is apparently on the verge sleeping together in the most casual of ways.

Slowly the dream imagery of the stage plays begins to spill over into Tanya's fashionable life as she finds herself plagued by aspiring rapists or hunky suitors who seem more interested in how they are being lit than actually getting away with anything. Even the film's would-be heroic cop, trying to get to the bottom of things after some untimely deaths, swaggers through the frame in a $1500 knee length designer jacket while wafting cigarette smoke through the diffused lighting. Is he a real person or a functionary of her dream? The film seems more interested in making us wonder if he'd be a good kisser more than how he pays for his wardrobe. The fact that he never bothers to read the lass her rights even when interrogating her over the coincidental murders of everyone close to her suggest that he's either inept or simply hot for a date.

The film gets one thing right which is putting the viewer into a state of confusion over whether what we are watching is supposed to be part of the nightclub act or reality, no easy feat since Ms. Harrington spends an awful lot of time running blindly down empty city blocks while always managing to look freshly showered. The story becomes secondary to the imagery, which has more in common with a Nagel print than it does a standard horror movie, with the complete absence of exploitational female nudity eventually giving the film's agenda away, which is to be respectable at all costs. Even when the characters are having sex the film manages to avoid being sleazy or voyeuristic. Here at last is a horror movie for couples, where all the guys are sensitive minded beefcake and all of the women are resourceful, quick witted, and have fantastic apartments. Nobody seems to have a job or need money, people speak in hushed stage whispers or listen in turn attentively, and hot chicks don't mind having 2nd hand smoke blown in their faces because the smokers all look so great.

In other words I'm not the person to be reviewing this film. It's poised, dramatic sensibilities are wasted on me and will find their most appreciating audiences in fashion minded females in their mid 30s who still go nightclubbing & are nostalgic for the 1990s. Guys watching this will feel under-dressed and somewhat at a loss for what to say, other than perhaps asking "So when do we get to see her tits?" You never do, but afterward you might just find yourself in the mood for a cup of International House French Vanilla coffee. And a cigarette.


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