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MIDNIGHT - Skull
Rated R
Copyright 1982 Congregational/Independent-International
Reviewed by RetroRussell on 28 July 2010

The Characters:  

  • Nancy - Runaway girl who eludes her creepy cop stepdad's sexual advances and hitches up with a couple of thieves, then runs afoul of a family of sicko Satanist killers.
  • Bert - Scuzzy cop stepdad of Nancy. In a hilarious scene she taps him on the head with a radio when he puts the moves on her, and this somehow scores an instant KO. Stabbed by Cynthia but takes out a few of the psycho family.
  • Abraham - John Amplas, AKA the lead in George Romero's Martin! Biblically-named psycho of a backwoods clan of Satanists. Poses as a cop and harasses and kills innocent people. Shot by Bert.
  • Luke - Big brother of Abraham, also dressed as a cop. Bludgeoned by Bert, then shot and burned by Nancy.
  • Cyrus - Big, dumb, and giggles like Luke (and more irritatingly so) but is apparently mute. Shot by Bert.
  • Cynthia - Sister of the psycho clan. Throat cut by Nancy.
  • Tom and Hank - Thieves Nancy hitches with. Shot dead by Abraham.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I remember when I first rented "Last House on the Left", which I had not heard of in over a decade since it was released in theaters. On the cover was a 3 1/2 star recommendation by Roger Ebert, who I had trusted as an intelligent, renowned film critic. After I finished viewing the film, I wondered aloud what illicit drugs he had partaken in.

Later, I acquired a Leonard Maltin movie review book. He tore into Last House and I switched allegiance, so to speak, to Maltin. I now felt Maltin knew what he was talking about with each film he saw. I saw an entry for "Midnight," where he gave it 2 1/2 stars and said it "wasn't bad". I decided to give it a go. After the film was mercifully over, I concluded that Maltin had found Ebert's stash and rolled a few for himself.

Maltin did say it was a "low budget film shot in Pittsburgh", and he did get that right. The film opens with a girl caught in a bear trap (not even remotely realistic), who is then beaten by a boy in a family of Satan worshipers, who then stab her in a sacrificial rite. Actually, the boy just taps her on the head with the handle of an axe, and down she goes! Not the only example of KO-itis in this film.

Now we focus on young teen Nancy at a confessional, and being read the riot act by an a**hole Father. She heads home and chats with her buddy on the phone. Her fat, drunk cop stepdad shows up and starts putting the moves on her...eww...she retreats to the bedroom where he follows her, and she interrupts his sexual advances by touching a radio to his head. It knocks him out. The hell??? While he sleeps she packs her things and runs off. While she's looking for a ride to the west coast to meet her sister she turns down a sleaze who wants sex for a ride, then hitches with 2 guys, Tom and Hank, in a van with hideous interior. She finds they're convenience store thieves but at least they're not creeps.

They meet a preacher and his daughter, who warn them about murders in the area. They drop them off at a cemetery, where they can pay respects to his wife. Soon after a big fat giggling psycho kills them off and, while carrying a body, is almost nailed by the trio as they elude the cops. Then they camp out, smoke weed and turn in for the night. Nancy realizes Hank still doesn't like her at all and splits in the morning while they sleep.

I believe I mentioned an ABBA-like song in the "Things to watch for" section. It's just dripping with cheese, but you can't get it out of your head! IT'S PURE EVIL I TELLS YA! And it plays far more often than is necessary to your health. You'll definitely know it when you hear it.

Anyway, two cops harass Tom and Hank, trying to find Nancy. If you recall the opening you'll notice the cops are the grownup kids from the Satan-worshiping family, and aren't really cops at all. They kill Tom and Hank, with Nancy watching in the distance. She screams and they chase her to a barn, then a house. At the house she encounters the other members of the family. She spies the fat giggling half-mind cutting off the head of one of the REAL cops and is then caught by Luke and Abraham (the fake cops) and shoved into an animal cage next to another girl, with the plan to sacrifice them to Satan at midnight. Ah, finally midnight comes into play again!

The brothers spend the daytime collecting the bodies and belongings and putting them in a pile where Tom and Hank were shot, then burn them. Then Luke goes up and talks to Mama (her decayed corpse, anyway) about their plans to collect another girl to sacrifice. Their choice is one of two candidates for Worst Frisbee Thrower Ever. I mean, I'm no champion myself but I thought it was pretty basic to simply flex your wrist and release. They might as well have lobbed it overhead to each other. No sympathy from me when Mr. Frisbee Suckartist is off'd and his partner-in-suckness is caught and caged.

What happened to the slimy stepdad, you ask? Wait, you didn't ask? You fell asleep? Well, I don't blame you. Anyway, he's looking for Nancy and is on the trail of Hank and Tom's van, stolen by Satan's Family. Meanwhile, the clock indicates that midnight has arrived and the first girl killed is the Frisbee Suckartist. They slit her throat rather graphically and fill a cup with blood and "feed" it to the dead mother! The hell? And wasn't Mama supposed to be a neat-freak? What would she think with the blood splashing through her rotted trachea onto the floor, if they even keep it in the mouth? God I hate this movie!!!

Sleazeball stepdad follows the Satanmobile back to the house - during the day! Wasn't it midnight in the last scene? Or do they just decide it's midnight when they want to sacrifice someone and set their stopwatch that way? Ugh. Well, stepdad hears them talk about killing Nancy on Easter Sunday so he knows she must be at their house. And sure enough, the stopwatch is stuck at midnight and they kill another girl. This has to be the lamest Satanic cult ever. Will Satan be the hero in a movie for once and KILL THESE DUMB*SSES!!!

Finally, it REALLY LOOKS LIKE MIDNIGHT!!! Daddy pulls up at the house and bludgeons Luke with a flashlight. He then pulls a gun on Abraham and Cyrus, the giggling half mind. He orders Abraham to bring out Nancy. He gets stabbed and killed by Cynthia, but not before shooting Abraham and Cyrus. Cynthia follows Nancy but gets surprised from behind by her with a scythe across her neck. Not surprisingly Luke comes to and attacks her. She shoots him and again, unsurprisingly, runs out of bullets. He follows her and she douses the barn floor with gas and sets it on fire. Flambé Luke, end of film. And of course, the ABBA-like song over the credits! OH GOD TAKE MY LIFE!!!

In conclusion, why did I hate this film? Well, it's pretty damn boring. And save for Nancy, Tom and Hank and one sacrificial victim, either nobody acts worth a s**t or they have the most banal dialogue. Also, this cult is stupid. Satan should want nothing to do with these lame-os. And that fat brother did nothing but giggle throughout the movie. If it was intended to scare me, all it did was make me hate the film even more. I'd call this film spare toilet paper, but that would be an insult to my @$$. Please, if you have any sense of self-respect, avoid this crappy film, the go egg Leonard Maltin's house.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • A kids who stuck in a bear trap basically just screams to get attention.
  • A sexually harassed teenage girl can deliver a heavy blow by tapping your noggin with a radio.
  • Psycho mothers are neat freaks, and impose their cleanliness mentality on their children, even in death.
  • Satanists feed their dead mothers blood from human sacrifices.
  • Giggling killers p*ss me off a lot more than scare me.
  • Backwoods folks in Pittsburgh hate cops, black people, and people who have anything to do with black people.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Uh...the loop of her screams continues when her mouth is closed. Stupid goof or a good job of throwing her voice? You decide.
  • 2 mins - Why is her face all dirty? And is she supposed to be breathing? Probably not...jeez.
  • 7 mins - Ew! So far the most disgusting part of the movie! Creep!
  • 10 mins - Yuck! It gets worse. WTF? Ha ha ha!
  • 11 mins - Is this ABBA?
  • 18 mins - DAMN YOU SONG!!! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!
  • 22 mins - Horror movie rule: anyone that goes around warning people of murders, or saying "don't go out there" or "you're all doomed", etc., are just short of having neon lights flashing "DEAD" on their forehead.
  • 26 mins - Whuddid I tell ya!
  • 31 mins - Man, there's a lot of bad acting in this movie.
  • 34 mins - BAD SONG!!! STOP IT!!! NOOOOO!!!
  • 37 mins - You're kidding. How did the cops lose them?
  • 40 mins - NOOO!! Folk music! Give me the ABBA-ish song!!!
  • 51 mins - Interesting how after the girl at the beginning is stabbed at around midnight, everyone else so far is killed in the daylight? Makes for an inappropriate film title.
  • 57 mins - THERE'S the real cops.
  • 67 mins - Nice frisbee throwing. NOT! Ha ha ha!
  • 77 mins - Yuck! And again at 83 minutes.
  • 93 mins - Hello? Mr. John Russo? Yes, I understand you directed a film called "Midnight"? Yes. I was wondering how you intend to repay me for an hour and thirty-three minutes of my life you took from me. No, I'm afraid a simple apology won't cut it.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note midnight1.mp3 The sacrificial rite, performed on the bear-trap victim.
Green Music Note midnight2.mp3 Bert puts the moves on Nancy. Yuck!
Green Music Note midnight3.mp3 The song from hell.
Green Music Note midnight4.mp3 Abraham and Luke threaten Tom and Hank.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2]
Re: Midnight
Reply #9. Posted on August 03, 2010, 01:45:54 AM by Trevor
Quote
Also, this cult is stupid. Satan should want nothing to do with these lame-os. And that fat brother did nothing but giggle throughout the movie. If it was intended to scare me, all it did was make me hate the film even more. I'd call this film spare toilet paper, but that would be an insult to my @$$. Please, if you have any sense of self-respect, avoid this crappy film, then go egg Leonard Maltin's house.

 BounceGiggle BounceGiggle Karma for the great review, Russell.  Thumbup

I have a book by John Russo in our library here called Making Moviesin which he discusses the making of Night Of The Living Dead and Midnight at length. When he talks about Midnight, you would swear he's talking about the making of Lawrence of Arabia, not some lame-ass film with an ABBA song for a theme tune. He also has a still of a sheriff pointing a huge revolver at one of the actors, calling it "a dramatic up angle shot".

To me, it looks like the camera's just been thrown on the floor.  Buggedout Buggedout
Re: Midnight
Reply #10. Posted on August 03, 2010, 04:32:31 AM by retrorussell
Quote
Also, this cult is stupid. Satan should want nothing to do with these lame-os. And that fat brother did nothing but giggle throughout the movie. If it was intended to scare me, all it did was make me hate the film even more. I'd call this film spare toilet paper, but that would be an insult to my @$$. Please, if you have any sense of self-respect, avoid this crappy film, then go egg Leonard Maltin's house.

 BounceGiggle BounceGiggle Karma for the great review, Russell.  Thumbup

I have a book by John Russo in our library here called Making Moviesin which he discusses the making of Night Of The Living Dead and Midnight at length. When he talks about Midnight, you would swear he's talking about the making of Lawrence of Arabia, not some lame-ass film with an ABBA song for a theme tune. He also has a still of a sheriff pointing a huge revolver at one of the actors, calling it "a dramatic up angle shot".

To me, it looks like the camera's just been thrown on the floor.  Buggedout Buggedout
Thanks Trevor.

Yep, sounds like Mr. Russo should have stuck with writing books.
"A dramatic, up-angle shot".. what a douchebag.  TeddyR
Re: Midnight
Reply #11. Posted on August 25, 2010, 09:22:29 AM by Independent Witness
@Trevor. "I have a book by John Russo in our library here called Making Moviesin which he discusses the making of Night Of The Living Dead and Midnight at length. When he talks about Midnight, you would swear he's talking about the making of Lawrence of Arabia, not some lame-ass film with an ABBA song for a theme tune."

I've read this book.  Yeah, Russo actually does talk like 'Midnight' is something he's really, really proud of– in fact, he keeps using it as an outstanding example of how to make a quality film on a low budget.  The funny thing is, you can somehow tell even from what he says about it that the film is in fact utter garbage. Lookingup
Pages: 1 [2]
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