Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Horror of...Halloween Night, The Midnight Hour, Part 2

So we now come back to The Midnight Hour. I'm still struggled in an epic life and death battle with Man Flu. So this is later than I wanted.

Luckily, this is the point this movie starts getting to work. We will have to see what we make of it as the horror ramps up, the death toll begins, and our main cast starts slipping to the Dark Side.

Anyway...Last Time On, The Midnight Hour!

Our gang of wayward "teens" came up with the brilliant Halloween jape of breaking into the Witch Museum. And this, in a town that has an actual history of a witch, a curse, and a near cataclysm. How much worse could this get?

They steal the outfits of the witch and the witch hunter. And then they swipe chest full of artifacts. How much worse...

Then they go the city graveyard, dress up, and start mocking the witch's acts, ending with Melissa (Lucinda's, the witch, descendant) reading out her curse from a sealed scroll they found.

That it guys? You want to piss on some graves while your at it? (I've seen that movie.) They are just slapping karma in the face at this point. But, hey. They are kids, young and alive...for now.

The gang run off, and leave the graveyard to it's quiet. But the quiet does not last.

Things are stirring now, deep in the earth. That which shall never wake again, have been awoken.

 We see the graves of one reviled person, and that of Lucinda Cavendar.

Does this make "Vernon Nestor" his nickname?

So which 8th grade class made this tombstone?

Wait. They killed a witch, and then, they buried her in a consecrated grave...? Puritanical Pitchford was really progressive about their witch killing.

Vernon Nestor is ready to rise.

Hey, If you hold it in that many years...
And assuming he was an executed murderer, did they actually send him back here (from the state penitentiary) to bury him? Such an understanding community.

Well, at long last, it seems Lucinda is walking the Earth. And she partakes of the great awakening around her.

I think they've just taken fantasy
weddings to far.
All manner being walking out of their graves. ...No. I have no idea why there's a bridal couple there. I guess they're an EVIL couple. Or, they had the unfinished business...of going on their honeymoon. I think they won't be getting their travel points back.

The collection that arises is an interesting mix.

You have your...werewolf? I...I guess it's supposed to be a demonic being. Hey. If you go back to The Wolf Man, it is all about pentagrams and turning the good to evil.

Then you've got this guy...He's...He just seems happy to be up and about. He'll be our comedy undead being for a stretch of this movie. He'll be going around being...undead in a silly manner. You'll see...Oh, you'll see.

Another odd one that pops out is this fellow. He's small and just has a distinctive face. I like him, and he'll also prove to have some humorous moments. Honestly, some of these undead folk seems to be back mostly to blow off some steam.

But what is he? He could just be short. But something about him suggests otherwise. And the fact he rose from the spot a tree collapses off of makes we think he may have been on an express elevator from Hell. (I'm not calling him an evil leprechaun!)
Is he an imp? He's a dapper one then.

Though with him, and a witch, around, The Undead has to come to mind. But let's not go there.
And then we have Sandy. She's our confused cheerleader. She's back and not sure what is going on.

She also comes back a little disheveled, covered in...cobwebs...or...

...Well, Lucinda comes out in a similar state, wiping it from her head. Maybe it's an effect that shows more on them since they are the most normal looking of the undead...

...I do kind of want to ponder what they are covered in, but then I start considering the processes a body goes through when it...ceases. And I'm figuring none of us are here to hear about that.

"This is really embarrassing, but I'm stuck part way out of
my coffin. Yes, ha ha. I should have lost more weight while I
was in Hell. Could you just get me out of here!"
 As the more standout ghouls rise and move around, more and more of the dead pull themselves out of the ground, sprouting like rotted weed. They all begin milling around. They are waiting.

And as they do mill, more crypts come open. And in at least one these is an odd sight. All around this crypt bodies lie in the open, scattered around. Then they awaken and rise to join their brethren.

Honestly, I am curious what the story there is. How did they end up like that? I wish we were going to find out.

Never eaten a vegetable.
But finally, they begin moving, heading to the gates of the cemetery. (What ever happen to the caretaker? We won't see him again until much later.) Their numbers start coalescing into numbers. One and all join the ranks.

"Really? This is my army?"
Lucinda quietly watches at the side before joining the march. They move slowly and solemnly. They are pushed forward by their instincts.

Some pushed on by their evil intents. Some pushed on by their unresolved lives. But it is all to be found in Pitchford.

"Everyone! Remember where you were buried."
I want to mention something here. As we can see, much of this group is the formerly living, now risen and marching out. In modern parlance, they get called zombies. Trouble is that this is a misuse of the term, zombie. Also, it is a little dull to call EVERYTHING zombies. The undead are more diverse and interesting than that. I don't want to get too deep into this. I'd rather do that with a genuine zombie movie. But, as you see these undead, note that they do move with purpose, intent, and planning. So let's call them ghouls.

"Mom! This is NOT the Tooth
Fairy I wanted to dress as!"
As our ghouls and demonic creatures move, we head back to the Grenville house, and Phil and his sadistic dad, Dick Van Patten. The family is eager to get out, and Trick or Treat. (Remember when kids used to do that?)

That is the worst Sesame Street Count ever.
But they can't leave. They have to wait to see the unveiling of Phil's costume. And then we all get to see it. The family praises it. But...Wow.

I wasn't cool in the 80's, but really? Silver party hair. Blue face, with a V-shape. Count Dracula outfit.

Hey, I guess it is original...And it will haunt my dreams...

"How is Family Circus still being
Phil heads out for the Big Halloween Party. (It is happening at, coincidentally, the Cavendar family home.) Once he jumps into his car, straight out of the 1950's, he backs into someone. Thankfully, he's dead...I mean he's already dead...It's one of the undead marching on the town. It's the comedy cadaver I mentioned.

He's been, up to this point, wandering down the street growling impotently at kids passing him. He then grabbed a newspaper up somewhere. He started reading it, and this led him to wander behind the car and get hit. He acts shocked and pissed. Then he indignantly stuffs the paper under his arm and shambles off.

"Excuse me, sir. Would you like a
copy of the Watchtower?"
It is silly. He's silly. But he does have an inherent menace. And after he's hit by the car, you will notice that the newspaper is smeared with blood. Where did that come from? Was it his, from the hit? Or, did it get there when he took the paper from it's former owner? Has he already killed?

Phil is too distracted, and dense, to care. So he drives off.

"Dad! No one wants to hear about your
pod people theories."
Over at Mitch's house, he's having it out with his father, the judge. Dad's seen the costume Mitch brought home and knows where he got it. And he's pissed.

He's actually pissed in more than one way. He's drunk. And he's belligerent. It's not hard to imagine that the costume is his latest reason to tear into his son.

And you get a sense of what Mitch is about. He's got the letterman jacket. He's loud and brash. But how much of it all is a reaction to his law and order dad, who comes home, gets drunk, gripe, then pushes him around? I may be making a number of assumptions, but it's clear their is something unhealthy here. (And I want to figure if I have a reason to sympathize with his character.)

Dad wants everything returned. He doesn't want this business getting out. And he promises that if he's caught, he'll give him the maximum sentence he can. And Mitch just runs out of the house, to get away from his Dad.

Kids? If you see this on Halloween,
seek an adult out for help.
Back with Phil, he's spotted Sandy walking by...and starts to fantasize.

Let's see:
  • Train track.
  • Rail crossing warning of an incoming train.
  • Approaching her from behind.
  • Nuzzling her.
You have a filthy mind, Phil.

"Boy. I picked the wrong guy to
ask for directions."
His "awesome" fantasy is interrupted by Sandy, who needs directions. (And brains! ...That may have come off as a joke at the expense of blondes, or women. It's not. It's at the expense of zombies.) She needs to find out if she's on Maple. And he ignores her question, and asks about her costume. What a great guy.

Once he tells her it's Halloween, she seems to get a better sense about what is happened to her. She gets what's happening overall, at least to a limited extent (as far as her return, and the power of Halloween night). She seems clued in. But, she also seems to fancy Phil as well. Odd.

"Now this is a great costume. But you don't have to take
my word for it."
Over at Vinnie's house, he's finishing his masterpiece of a Halloween costume (Granted, it's no Disco Dracula.). He's wrapped gauze all around himself, and has proceeded to smear ketchup and raw eggs all over his chest. ...Oh, Levar...

Mitch pulls up outside, as several kids TP the trees in front of the house. (That's what happens when you don't bring back Reading Rainbow to talk about Harry Potter!) He tells Vinnie that he looks like a delicatessen, but also admits to being troubled by the fight with his dad. The two drive off to the party, and Mitch can smell how bad an ideas Vinnie's costume really is.

Don't worry. They'll just
crack open a pod, and
he'll be right back.
Back at Mitch's house, his dad is still angrily going around the place. He then takes out the trash, where he bumps into Vernon, who had "Monster" and "Killer" sprayed on his tombstone. It's not said, but I am assuming that Dad sentenced Vernon to death, as a judge. (Vernon does mutter the word, "Guilty".) So Vernon went straight to Dad's home to return the favor. And now, dad has been touched by the evil (and killed).

Now Vernon moves towards the house, and mom.

Finally, we get to the Big Halloween Party, at the Cavendar house. And it's a nice house. The Cavendars are definitely doing well.

At the party Mitch is walking around grabbing popcorn from a coffin, High Fiving people, and trying to be the life of the party. Melissa comes rocking down the stairs. She's enjoying a good party. And at the door she meets our comedy cadaver, and let's him in the house to mingle.

Even the undead can't believe he
came dressed like that.
He stumbles around the room, and growls at people. He can't stand the music, or Vinnie's costume, but eventually gets into the groove of things.

Outside the house, Lucinda watches the goings on. And you wonder what she is making of this. This is what became, after her time, the ancestral home of her family. It is where her blood resides still. What does that mean to her?

Only now does Phil realize how lame
a costume he chose.
Phil also arrives at the party now. He bumps into Lucinda, who just ignores him (I like her.). And also the short ghoul.

Phil still senses no danger.

He never understood why whispering,
"Let me take a look at your dilithium
matrix", never got him anywhere with
Vinnie finds Melissa inside, and is eager to dance. She says no. She wants him to get rid of the costume that smells like a trash can. So he does that. Then he wants to get close, and she still isn't having any of that. ...Did the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation use this movie as a template for Geordi LaForge's love life? Because it is startlingly similar.

Also at this party is the substitute teacher, from the class earlier in the movie. She's here "chaperoning" the party. A kid's house party. Sure. She comes over to Melissa, as she is curious about if there's any wine "available for adult" (and she more or less winks at that). ...You're the creepy teacher that likes hanging with the kids, aren't you?

The positive of that scene is that it's a chance to witness the dance stylings of LeVar Burton, as he dances in place while Melissa and the teacher talk. He is an artist.

Before and...
Meanwhile, downtown, things seem quiet. The weird guy with the dogs, that the police hired to patrol for them, walks and walks. Then his dogs freak out and run away. Then he gets jumped by the werewolf, who tears him apart.

...After: How can you be turned into
a werewolf, but have less hair on
your face?
He awakens later. But now he seems to have become a werewolf himself. Which is consistent enough with werewolf lore.

At the party Mary finally arrives. Phil is eager to see her. But she is more concerned about talking to Melissa, and finding out about a guy dressed up like Frankenstein ('s Monster -- I am Mr. Pedantic!).

"Come on! Why is no one taking 
Disco Dracula seriously?"
Phil seems to be surprised that despite trying to get her attention, Mary is far more interested in someone else, which seems to be her normal reaction to Phil (It's my reaction to.). She wants to talk with Melissa about the guy, and get her costume finished. And Phil still is trying to get in.

Phil? She shows no romantic interest in you. She's continually interested in other guys. She treats you like a friend. And she's interested in other guys. She just likes talking and joking with you. And she's interested in other guys...Are you seeing a pattern here?

Dude. Just accept it. She's just a friend. Move on.

The two girls run off to the powder room, and Phil is left alone. (No doubt he'll go on now to invent to word "friendzone", and complain about the fate of the nice guy.)

At the same time, the short ghoul is also settling in, and having a good time . He also keeps bumping into Phil.

Imagine how many diseases he's carrying. (I'm talking
about Phil.)

"Ugh...Women. You can't  live with them, but you can
drag them to Hell with you."
"Have you tried
Orville Deadenbacher?
So we have at least 2 ghouls at the party now. And they are just sitting around, drinking, eating popcorn, and enjoying the ambiance? ...Is it jet lag from Hell?

It's the most relaxed Infernal Onslaught ever!

But Lucinda is getting ready to change that. (Slowly, of course.)

She appears in the large bathroom they have upstairs. And watches as Melissa and Mary talk and fix up Mary's costume. She just silently stares at them.

When Mary leaves, and Melissa is alone. She approaches, and praises her costume (and Lucinda's old clothing). Melissa explains that it's been in the family for awhile.

You wonder what Lucinda sees. Is it her dress, stolen? Or, her furthest descendant?

She slowly approaches closer and closer, staring at Melissa and her neck. (...Is that a witch thing?) But Mary pops in and the girls run back down to the party.

"Come on! Get with me! I'm Geordi!"
"That's the problem."
Melissa dances some more with Vinnie. And Vinnie tries to move in, again. And is shot down, again.

"I think I might...kill...for a drop."
The substitute teacher, comes and asks for more wine...How much wine are you planning to drink at this kid's party? Just don't start getting handsy with students, okay?

Melissa heads into the wine cellar of the house to grab more bottles. While she's there, Lucinda appears again. They talk about what is best for drinking, and Lucinda has an answer.


Coming this Fall: Lucinda, the Vampire Witch.

 ...Wait. Is she a vampire? I thought she was a witch...

Now some people are rationalizing this as the method she used to preserve herself for centuries. But then Sandy could be a vampire to, by that logic. What makes more sense is the demonic hellish catchall. In old traditions, it was believed that those who were corrupted by the Devil would rise again after death, often as vampires (Hence staking bodies in their graves, to keep them down.). It seems the easiest explanation.

I don't think this is what Enoch
Powell meant. But it's how much
he drank before writing that speech.
And this is why you have to drink
wine before it spoils.
Also she's pouncing on her own family here. Was that her intent? Is she driven to feed on family? Or, does she want to build a new undead family to have at her side? What is driving her. (Beyond the whole revenge on the city thing.)

I should also note they use a more family friendly visual during the attack, for the drinking of blood. As Melissa tries to fight off Lucinda, she hits different rows and bottles of wine, knocking them open, spraying red wine everywhere.

It pools on the floor. It sprays about. It seems a safe approach for 80's prime time TV. And it could be argued to be somewhat artistic.

When Lucinda reappears, she is far paler, now coming off as more the vampire. And this is how she'll be looking the rest of the movie. I am guessing that they wanted to hide her vampirism, until she struck.

Oh, this always ends well.
Meanwhile, Mitch has decided to hit on the drunk teacher, and she agrees to dance with him, and flirt with him. Guys? Come on.

Also, Melissa reappears, now with the wide eyes of evil. And, much to Vinnie's surprise, she's eager to see him and be with him.

And Mary is dancing with "Frankenstein".

"Dude! Even you have a date?!"
So Phil has had his fill of the party. Everyone is busy pairing up without him. (The nerve!) So he leaves.

"Finally! Everything is coming
up Geordi!"
And the ghouls are making out? Eh. If you where stuck in the ground for years alone, wouldn't you?

Melissa finally makes her move on Vinnie, taking him aside.

As they make out, Melissa sinks her teeth into Vinnie, and drains him. She leaves him slumped dead on a couch and moves on.

Back with Sandy, she's finally found Maple Street. But she's distraught that she can't find her house, or anything she remembers. Everything is so foreign and alien now. So she just wanders around more.

Still avoiding Elm Street, hmm?

"We could just check it out..." NO!

"You know, this is nothing like Buck Rogers."
As she sits in the downtown area, Phil comes across her again. (Thankfully, he's dumped the makeup and wig. He's almost palpable now.) He asks her what's troubling her, and she just changes the subject. But she's clearly had her fill of the modern world.

Instead she decides to try and create some fun, even if this age sucks. So she gets Phil to put the top of his car down, so they can cruise. Then she gets him to race another car. It's a regular 50's mish mash.

"You really think you're going to say no?"
She's still annoyed things like the malt shop and drive in are gone (Tell me about it.), but she's still finding some fun in walking around and talking with someone again. So she cranks up the car's radio and dances with Phil to the song "Devil or Angel".

Then she suggest they check out Look Out Point. ...He's not refusing that idea.

So people come here to look out for...
So they head up to Make Out...I mean, Look Out Point, which for some reason is beside an old wooden bridge. It's quiet. So Sandy suggests putting the car top back up, and then they make out.

Good news. The car top is fully up now.

And they quickly get interrupted by a werewolf. Way to ruin the mood, Fido.

Dogging done wrong.


Hah! Hah...cough...cough...cough...I got to stop doing that.

Later today. The finale of The Midnight Hour.

Who will live, who will die? Will it be at all clear?

And, how do you solve a problem like an Undead Army?

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