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Latest Member: Brianlep Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Movie Reviews  |  Midnight Madness (1980) « previous next »
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Author Topic: Midnight Madness (1980)  (Read 11780 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« on: January 24, 2009, 12:37:35 AM »

Midnight Madness
Rated: PG

Walt Disney Pictures 1980
Submitted by Ash

(Please bear with me.  This movie has an enormous cast!)

Yellow Team
Adam - David Naughton!  Leader of the yellow team and all-around nice guy.  He seems to have everything together, except for his rebellious younger brother.

Laura - The only female member of the yellow team.  She's got the hots for Adam.

Marvin - African-American friend of Adam's.  He provides the yellow Jeep for the yellow team to get around in.

Flynch - Nerdy guy who goes to Adam for advice on women and dating.  Adam & Laura get a glimpse of his date and bring/force him on board the yellow team.

Scott - Michael J. Fox!  Adam's angry and rebellious younger brother.  He & Adam have serious "brother issues".  Screws his own team over, but then redeems himself near the end of the film.

Blue Team :
Harold - Leader of the blue team and Adam's arch-nemesis.  An overweight, lazy rich slob who tries to cheat his way to victory.

Melio - Harold's goofy friend.  About the only thing he does for the blue team is act like an idiot, steal Harold's cookies and make dumb faces.

Lucille - Harold's girlfriend.  I think that's what she is, though it's never clearly stated in the movie.  She's always on his case about sticking to his diet.

Blade - Hispanic member of the blue team who carries a switchblade.  He doesn't utter a single word throughout the entire film.

Barf - Totally brain-dead member of the blue team.  Has an I.Q. lower than Forrest Gump's.  Faga-Beefe?

Red Team :
Donna - Leader of the red team.  She participates in the game for the sole reason of getting revenge on the green team.

Berle - Donna's right-hand woman.  I don't think she's much into guys.  Has a mean right hook.

Peggy - One of the obese twins.  Likes to eat everything in sight and giggle a lot.

Lulu - The other obese twin.  Also likes to eat everything in sight and giggle a lot.

White Team:
Wesley - Eddie Deezen!  Uber nerd and leader of the white team.  Participates in the game to get revenge on the green team.

Debater #1 - Nerdy friend of Wesley's and member of the debate team.

Debater #2 - Nerdy member of the white team and debate team.

Debater #3 - Yep, you guessed it.  Another nerdy member of the white team and debate club. 

Green Team :
Lavitas - Green team leader.  Football jock who hates nerds and loves beer.

Blaylak - Meathead football jock who hates nerds and loves beer.  Dives into an industrial vat of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and drinks the entire thing!

Armpit - Not too bright member of the green team.  Hates nerds and loves beer.

Cudzo - Another not too bright member of the green team.  Hates nerds and loves beer.

Gerber - Yet another not too bright member of the green team.  Hates nerds and loves beer

Additional Characters :
Leon – Mastermind and controller of the Great All-Nighter game.  Weird nerdy college guy with thick black glasses and an afro. 

Candy - Smokin' hot brunette.  She likes to roller skate everywhere and hang out with Leon for some inexplicable reason.

Sunshine - Smokin' hot blonde.  She also likes to roller skate everywhere and hang out with Leon for some inexplicable reason.

Leon's neighbors - Assorted group of middle age and elderly people who join Leon in his apartment as spectators to find out who will win the game.

Mrs. Grimhouse – Leon’s evil elderly landlord.  Her sole aim is to kick Leon out of her building.  Hauled off to jail by the cops.

Pinball City Proprietor – Paul Reubens!  He’s got a cool arcade.  Too bad the teams completely trash it.


Nerdy single college guys are able to afford the exorbitant costs of setting up an enormous city-wide scavenger hunt.

Some disco music was really, really, really bad.

It is possible to drink an entire industrial sized vat of beer and live to tell about it.

Old 80’s arcade machines burst into flames when toys are thrown into their screens.

Elevators can be manually started with a dental retainer.


4 mins – Chicks roller skating to disco music.  Hot!

43 mins – Flynch’s date.  Run!

35 mins – That’s a bad place to hide marshmallows


37 mins -- Piano recital

52 mins – Where could the two giant melons be?

64 mins -- Harold cheats at miniature golf


Leon:   “Believe me.  By tomorrow night each one of those teams will be dying to play.”

Adam:  “You stand up and face life.  You go for the gusto.  And remember…never walk away from a challenge!”

Harold:  "How should I know?  That’s why my dad gave me a computer!”

Lucille:  “It’s a good thing you have a friend like Melio to help you stay on your diet!”


Melio:   “Hey Harold…  Can I have the van after your dad kills you?” 

Melio:   “No Harold.  There aren’t any cookies left!”

Harold:  “Back off Adam!  There’s no way in the world I’m gonna let you win this game!”


The scavenger hunt. 
Who can resist the challenge of going about town looking for clues to reach the ultimate goal?

Midnight Madness takes place during one crazy night in Los Angeles. 

Somehow, a nerdy college guy named Leon is able to afford the insanely high costs of creating and implementing a game he calls “The Great All-Nighter”.

I couldn’t even begin to imagine handling the logistics of this game.  In the film, Leon says that it took him a year to design it.  He must be pretty good, because in reality, this game would take much longer than that to set up.
He basically studied five different groups of college students.  All of the groups are interconnected due to the fact that one group hates another, and another group hates the other and so on.  Kind of like a Clash of Civilizations, only on a college level.  He knows that they’ll compete in his game because of their rivalries.  And he’s absolutely right.

At the start of the film, Leon sends his beautiful roller skating assistants, Candy and Sunshine, to deliver invitations to the teams.  Leon gets the team captains to meet at his apartment where he explains the rules of the game to them. 
When he asks if they have any questions, they all laugh at him and walk out. 
It isn’t long before the teams swear revenge on each other for some dirty deeds they pull. 
On Game Day at sunset, they all meet at Leon’s to start the game.

The game works like this:
Each team is color coded.  The colors are yellow, blue, green, red and white.  Every team member (except for Flynch and Scott) wears a sweatshirt bearing their team color.  Each team also happens to drive a vehicle matching their team color.  Pretty convenient, don’t you think?

The yellow team rides in a yellow Jeep.
The blue team cruises around in a blue van with flames down the sides.
The green team rides in a green convertible Volkswagen Beetle called the Meat Wagon.
The red team runs around in a red pickup truck.
And the white team motors around town on white mopeds.

To start the game off, each team receives a clue.  Solving it will lead them to the next clue, and so on and so on until one team reaches the final destination.  The finish line.
The winning team will receive a trophy.  And more importantly, they will show that they are the best team of all.

CLUE #1:  “The Sea is reversed.  S.S. Itari is mixed up and blind.  38-22-23/56-10-11

This first clue is one of the most difficult in the game and stops a few of the teams dead in their tracks trying to figure it out.
Eventually, they realize that by unscrambling the letters and taking the two I’s out of S.S. Itari (he’s blind) and reversing the words “The Sea” it becomes ‘Sea the stars”.  “Sea the stars” could mean a lot of things, but the correct answer is the stars in the sky.  The numbers in the clue are telescope settings.
Harold cheats his way through the first two clues by using the computer in the blue van his dad bought for him.  It can solve any clue in ten seconds.  Unfortunately for him, he decides to hide a bag of marshmallows under the keyboard.   When the heat from the computer melts them, it’s bye-bye computer! 

The clue takes the teams to the local observatory.  When the numbers from the clue are entered into a control pad, it points the giant telescope at an electronic bank sign with a digital readout.  Then they are able to see the next clue.

CLUE #2:  “To unlock the next clue, find the 8800 keys!”

8800 keys?  This would also be pretty tough to figure out.  But not for Harold’s computer.  It deciphers it in seconds and directs them to the Los Angeles Piano Museum.
The blue team fumbles about in the museum until they find the clue on a tiny black piano with the words, "Leon's Theme” written on it.  None of them knows how to read music, so they write down the musical notes (letters) and head out to try and figure it out.  Since Harold fried his computer, the only way for the blue team to solve the clue is to try and unscramble the letters. (which won’t work because they’re musical notes)  This sets up one of the most memorable scenes in the movie when Barf tries to unscramble the letters and comes up with FAGA BEEFE.
Ask anyone who’s seen this film and one of the first things they’ll mention is FAGA BEEFE! 

It isn’t long before all of the other teams arrive at the museum and the green team notices the tiny piano.
While the other teams are looking everywhere for clues, Levitas plays the tune and Blaylack, an avid beer drinker, recognizes it. 
It’s the jingle for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer! 
Without thinking, Blaylack yells out that the next clue is in the Pabst brewery!  Unfortunately for them, all of the other teams hear him and yell, "THANKS BLAYLACK!".

At the brewery, Adam’s younger brother Scott (whom the yellow team picked up along the way) tries to steal some beer and gets the entire yellow team kicked out.  For some reason, they’re booted into the warehouse and not onto the street. 
This sets up the next clue.
A forklift driver is stacking boxes of beer and as he stacks them, a picture begins to appear on the sides of the boxes.  It’s a picture of Leon and there’s a speech balloon next to him.  It says…

CLUE #3:  “Mr. Carson’s obese male child

The yellow team deduces that “Mr. Carson” must mean Johnny Carson.  And that “obese male child” means “fat boy”. 
Johnie’s Fat Boy Burgers!
They head out to Johnie’s Fat Boy restaurant where they find the next clue on a menu sign in the front entrance.

CLUE #4:  “Leon’s Special. Have a seat and enjoy!  Look between the two giant melons!”

All of the teams (except for the red team) are present at the restaurant and they’re all sitting in booths ordering melons, trying to figure out the clue. 
The entire time, a busty waitress is busy all around the teams, filling their drinks and bringing them food. (and melons)
Pretty convenient that a hamburger diner just happened to stock up on a ton of melons, don’t you think?  I’m guessing Leon had a hand in that. 
When the waitress drops a tray of dishes and bends over to pick them up, it gets everyone’s attention and they finally realize exactly what the two giant melons are. 
Her boobs! 
And in between them?  A necklace with something written on it.
They all start breaking dishes to get the waitress to come over to them.  When she slips on the floor, her necklace flies off and they all make a mad dash to get to it.  Wesley grabs it and yells the next clue out loud.


No one on the yellow team has any idea what “Hug Me” might mean until Flynch jumps out and starts verbally trying to decipher it.  When he says, “HUGEM”, Adam stops him.
They come to the conclusion that it must mean Miniature Golf World.  The sign for it has a huge letter M on it!

Harold and the blue team are the first to arrive at Miniature Golf World and find a message in an envelope waiting for them.  It tells them to play a round of miniature golf and to NOT go directly to the 18th hole.  Naturally, Harold goes directly to the 18th hole and puts the ball in.  When he does, a note is revealed that says that he was warned not to cheat and that not only has he lost his ball, but he’ll have to go back to the beginning of the course and start all over again.

The green and white teams arrive and play a round of golf.  The green team, who had been behind the entire time, finally gets a break.
They put the ball in the castle themed 18th hole and a drawbridge raises, revealing the next clue written underneath it.
It says…


Did you figure it out?
“Look At Xylophones Initially” means to look at the initials of that sentence.  LAX!  The abbreviation for the Los Angeles airport!
530 am is a radio station that Leon has tapped into.  He broadcasts a message to the teams that are listening and tells them that the next clue can be found in terminal number 3.
All of the teams arrive at terminal #3 and are harassed by those religious guys who often hang out in airports.  They want to give the teams some “literature”.  (a brochure)
Harold snaps and slaps the stack of literature out of a guy’s hand and the papers go flying all over the place.
When Barf grabs one, he mentions aloud that the literature has a picture of Leon on it.  All the teams scramble to grab one.
It has a picture on it of Leon dressed in a Buddhist robe and it says…

CLUE #7:  “His Holiness says you’re off your rocker if you don’t look inside the locker.”

Most airport terminals have lockers to store your stuff in.  The teams rush to a set of colored lockers.  Each team leader opens the locker of their team color to find a small gift box. (which also happens to be wrapped in paper matching their team’s color)
They take these boxes and open them.
Inside is the next clue…

CLUE #8:  The gift box contains several items.  The first two are Polaroids.  One Polaroid is of a person about to sit on a chair.  The second is a picture of a safety pin.  And the third item is a piece of paper with a big black letter E on it.  There is also a red rubber ball in the box.
While sitting in the back of Harold’s van, Melio deduces that the clue must mean “Chair” E” “Point”. 
Get it?  (Cherry Point)
He thinks it’s the name of a road.
They couldn’t be more wrong.

Meanwhile, Adam figures out that it means “Pin” "Ball" “sit” "E”.
Pinball City!
Adam and the yellow team head out to Pinball City where they find one of those fortune teller machines. Kind of like the one in that movie “Big”, except it looks like Leon and has been renamed  Madam Leona.  Yes, Leon was able to afford an exact replica of himself to be built and put inside that machine.
They activate it and it spits out a small card containing the next clue…

CLUE #9:  “Play the STAR FIRE video game.  Beat the machine and you’ll see the next clue.”

The Star Fire video game looks suspiciously like that old Star Wars game.  It even has TIE Fighters in it!
The yellow team needs quarters and they get them from the Pinball City proprietor played by none other than Paul Ruebens!  He points a gun at Marvin, then grabs Marvin’s hand and the gun spits a boatload of quarters into it. 
I want one of those guns!
Adam and the rest of the yellow team try to beat the game, but cannot.  Laura notices Scott standing back and laughing at them.  Apparently, he spends every weekend at this arcade and can beat the Star Fire in one try.  Laura asks him to help the team out and beat it for them.  At first he doesn’t want to.  He and his brother don’t get along and he sees no reason why he should help.  Laura reasons with him that this could be a great way to show Adam that he can be a good brother to him.
Adam reluctantly agrees to let Scott play the game and in no time at all, Scotts does what he promised and beats it! 
The game screen cuts to a video of Leon wearing a funny alien hat and speaking in a weird voice.  He gives them the next clue…

CLUE #10:  “Greetings earth people.  Congratulations!  The finish line is somewhere…in the Bonaventure Hotel.”

Adam doesn’t appreciate what Scott did for the team and walks out the arcade door without acknowledging Scott’s help.  On the way to the hotel, Scott jumps out of the Jeep in anger.  Rather than go look for him, Adam wants to go directly to the finish line.  The yellow team doesn’t agree and they all bail out, leaving Adam alone who takes off in Marvin’s Jeep.

Back at Pinball City, the red team beats the Star Fire game.  The green team sneaks up behind them just in time and hears the clue.  They have no intention of letting the red team out the door and attempt a blockade.  Instead, a huge fight erupts and everyone starts shooting rubber balls and throwing toys at each other! 
From there, it’s a mad dash to the hotel with all of the teams neck and neck.

Meanwhile, Leon and his group have already arrived at the hotel.  He’s rented a room and the entire group of neighbors and cops (yes cops) are there with him.

The yellow, blue and green teams all successfully make it into the hotel, but the red and white teams are thrown out by security.  When Wesley sees a bellboy step outside for a smoke, they get the bright idea to go in through that entrance.  They sneak back in and dress up as maids and bellboys.  It isn’t long before security recognizes them and it becomes a crazy chase all over the hotel. 
They’re all frantically trying to find the last clue that will lead them to the finish line when they hear a page over the hotel intercom.  It says, “Paging Mr. Players.  Mr. Game Players.  Please pick up a hotel courtesy phone.”
Each team leader picks up a courtesy phone and Leon personally gives them the next clue.

CLUE #11:   “Look at the pool area.  And I mean this expressly.”

Adam and his team rush to the pool area but can’t seem to figure out the clue.  When he notices an express elevator running up the side of the hotel behind him, he gets an idea.
The yellow team rushes to the nearest elevator but Harold and the blue team see them and follow.
On the way up, the yellow team looks down at the pool area and sees a bunch of tables arranged in a pattern. 
It’s the final clue!

CLUE #12RM. 2704 

That’s it!  The finish line is in room 2704! 
Harold and Co. are in the next elevator and they look over to see the yellow team looking down with excitement. 
Then they see it.  Rm. 2704. 
Now the blue team and the yellow team are neck and neck on their way to the finish line! 
The other teams aren’t even close.  They decide to get into an argument and push each other into the pool.

The yellow team manages to grab the only available elevator, leaving Harold and his team in the dust. 
Or have they?
Harold goes to the elevator control room and shuts down all the elevators. 
The yellow team is trapped in the elevator!
The blue team decides to take the stairs.  But they’re quickly slowed down by Harold, who‘s overweight and can’t take the stress of climbing 27 flights of stairs.

The yellow team is desperately trying to figure out a way to get their elevator moving again when Marvin notices a lock on the elevator control panel. 
It’s the manual override!
He could jimmy it if he had some wire.  Scott takes out his dental retainer and hands it to Marvin. 
Marvin manages to get the elevator working again and they’re on their way to the finish line.

Harold and Adam’s teams arrive on the 27th floor at the same time!
The door to room 2704 is right there!
Who will win? 
It’s so close!

Ah…  I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the end for you.  You’ll just have to watch the movie!

This film was released in 1980, right at the end of the disco era.  You can tell because of all the disco music in it.  And yes, some of it is really, really, really bad!
This film might be considered bad by first time viewers because it definitely feels and appears dated.  But I look at it as a nice piece of nostalgia.  It arrived precisely between the time when disco died and rock took over. 
Not too different from ten years later when I was a sophomore in high school in 1990.  At that time, the music scene was transitioning from hair metal to grunge.
This film was the second PG film released by Disney after The Black Hole.

Midnight Madness holds a special place in my heart.  I remember watching it countless times on HBO when I was a kid growing up in the early 80’s.  It doesn’t seem dated to me at all.  Instead, it’s a cool and sometimes cheesy movie that captures the spirit of the scavenger hunt.
A fun movie all around!



Midnight Madness Intro!:
Small | Large

Johnny's Fat Boy!
Small | Large

Midnight Madness Montage!
Small | Large

« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 01:03:10 AM by Ash » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 07:07:00 AM »

I love this movie! I have an old VHS copy I picked up years ago. Oddly enough, I even read the novelization back in the early 80s. Really a fun movie.

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