4.8/10
783
44 user 26 critic

Midnight (1982)

A teenage runaway and 2 guys traveling cross-country encounter a family of satanists.

Director:

John A. Russo (as John Russo)

Writers:

John A. Russo (novel) (as John Russo), John A. Russo (screenplay) (as John Russo)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melanie Verlin Melanie Verlin ... Nancy Johnson (as Melanie Verliin)
Lawrence Tierney ... Bert Johnson
John Hall John Hall ... Tom
C. Anthony Jackson C. Anthony Jackson ... Hank (as Charles Jackson)
Charles Jackson Charles Jackson ... Hank
Doris Hackney Doris Hackney ... Harriet Johnson
Bob Johnson Bob Johnson ... Reverend Carrington
Lachele Carl ... Sandra Carrington (as LaChele Carl)
David Marchick ... Cyrus
Greg Besnak Greg Besnak ... Luke
John Amplas ... Abraham
Robin Walsh Robin Walsh ... Cynthia
Jackie Nicoll Jackie Nicoll ... Mama
Amy Brinton Amy Brinton ... Girl in Trap
Debra Smith Debra Smith ... Young Cynthia
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Storyline

A teenage girl runs away from home because police officer/stepfather puts the moves on her. Hitchhiking to California, she's picked up by two guys who are also traveling cross-country. Along the way, they decide to camp out in the woods and run across a family of Satanists who keep their dead mother in the attic. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite some similarities to Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), director/writer John A. Russo said he had never seen the film at the time he wrote and shot Midnight. According to him, Chainsaw was not an influence. See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's closing credits only include the cast, something common in older films, but unusual for a film made in the 1980s. See more »

Alternate Versions

The region 1 DVD release from Lion's Gate is two and half minutes longer than the original release. Several scenes of extra violence are in this version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Violence 2 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Midnight Again
Written by T. Mazzei, E. Mazzei, F. Mazzei, and L. Mazzei
See more »

User Reviews

 
Excellent premise executed poorly.
27 November 2019 | by doorbomb62See all my reviews

The book of John Russo's 'Midnight' is a very taught, brief little thriller. The premise is an exciting one though. A young runaway, whom takes up with two college frat boys travelling cross country, runs into trouble with a satanic batch of siblings. This one line premise has all the makings of an excellent drive-in spectacular in the vain of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Race With the Devil, and The Last House on the Left. Not so surprising that it falls in line with such films as Russo was a co-writer of Night of the Living Dead, which set many genre standards in that period of time. Thus it further exemplifies the promise it does NOT add up to.

Sometimes the author has no business taking his material to a new medium, in this case novel to screen. Stephen King fared none to well with 'Maximum Overdrive' as well. 'Midnight' was probably around the time when producers were managing to get their hands back on final cut after the paramount decree, and with this film in particular, it's not hard to see why. The budget here is so non existent that it looks to have been filmed in someone's garage, and I guarantee you some of it probably, quite literally was. With more money, and some bigger producers putting some elbow grease into it, this could have worked much better. The novel wins you over right away, but here, Russo has no creative aspect to his direction. Just setting up a camera and filming. No tension to build up on, and without that, the shock moments are just as dull as the rest of the film. Also, he sets up a very poor and ineffective atmosphere. There is a total lack of vision for what the novel provides as an after school special gone to hell. This needed someone to oversee it on a more end-result basis to assure it was delivered properly and to the completed satisfaction of all parties involved.

The casting is WAY off save for Robin Walsh to rises emotionally AND physically to Cynthia as we are introduced to her in the book. Everyone else, including Romero alumni John Amplas, are simply thrown in and directed to move about as they're told, but with no clear motivation or actions driving what they're doing onscreen. The direction with them is totally uninspired and everyone looks like they'd rather be reading the original novel at the beach instead. Two or three of them (Ellie Wyler as Gwen) are downright horrendous to watch as they clearly have NO talent in this regard. I point out Ms. Wyler in specific because her character is supposed to be defiant and strong willed against the tormentors (Think Phyllis Stone in Wes Craven's 'The Last House on the Left). Here, the uncharacteristic Wyler is simply in a cage saying her lines to no distinction or direction. Very bland and embarrassingly cheap. More so obvious than anything else.

The film DOES have ONE thing going for it, the soundtrack! It features eerie organ music and a soft dark vocal Mass for the satanic rituals that fit quite properly. There is also a fun chirpy pop tune used repeatedly throughout as the theme, known as "Midnight Again". It is VERY addictive to hear and suits the novel much better than the film. Almost too good a thing to be heard here. Alas, moments with the score in tow are actually arousing and engaging enough but they are far and few in between the bad bland acting the the overall lack of proper direction.

It says, here , that a remake is in the works. It's definitely in need of one, but better yet...GO OUT AND READ THE DARN BOOK INSTEAD! The movie in your mind will far outweigh what has been provided here, and what might ever be provided again, if it is to be provided again.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Russo's Midnight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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