Monday, October 14, 2013

The Horror of...Halloween Night, The Midnight Hour, Part 3

Previously in the movie, The Midnight Hour!

The dead rose. Teens were turned. Phil almost got lucky.

And, someone was a very bad boy!

I can haz your femur?

And now the CONCLUSION!

"I guess he won't be landing on his
feet. Heh. Heh."
"That's cats, Phil."
Werewolf on the car!!! It huffs, and jumps, and claws the car up. But they manage to drive the werewolf into the river. And having dampened the wolf mans's hunger, they race off.

And, for one of his first smart moves of the movie (passed making out with Sandy), Phil heads to the police.

There, Sheriff Red Forman is not pleased to see them. He has no time for them. (What with hiring weird loners to patrol downtown, while he and the rest of the force have the night off.) They are getting all types of calls.

  • Some husband turned into a bat.
  • Zombies are breaking into businesses.
  • Talk of werewolves and vampires being seen.
  • Mass vandalism at the graveyard, and body theft.
  • AND someone even broke into the Witch Museum. (Who did that?)

"Just got the news. You're up for
Gordon in Beware the Batman.
They have no time for "werewolf attacks". Damn kids, and their pranks.

But, I have to laugh at how blaise Sheriff Forman is in taking the news that a large number of bodies are missing from the graveyard. How often does that happen in this town? There's jaded, and then there's this.

He's not listening to what Phil and Sandy have to say. So they leave in frustration. Phil then mentions to Sandy that he'd been at the graveyard earlier that night.

This interests Sandy, who wants to know what he was doing. So he admits to everything he and his friends did. The thefts. The costume wearing. The scroll reading. The curse to raise the dead.

Sandy tells him that they succeeding in raising the dead (She is just not going to admit to what she is, is she?). And that they need to get the scroll back, and reseal it. That will end this. They need the ring used to seal the scroll (Mitch has that.), they need wax made with the bones of Nathaniel Grenville...She seems to really know a lot about this. I wonder why?

She also tells him that they need to act before midnight. Otherwise...
"Everyone who dies this night will walk again, and all those touched this night by evil will become evil forever."
A quote from the spell that Melissa read at the graveyard.

"Have you played The Pandora Directive?
I was great in that."
Phil is not buying it. Apparently he hasn't seen enough yet.

But then a car races up and slams into his car.

Hey! It's Mitch's drunk dad! Well, he was before he got killed in the last part of the review. And he isn't looking better now, other than not being crumpled and still on the ground.

I should mention now, as I forgot last time, that this role is played by Kevin McCarthy. He's most known for being in the different iterations of Invasion of the Body Snatcher. But he's also played his part in Twilight Zone lore.

He doesn't look too pleasant now, all green and growly. He gnashes his teeth when Phil and Sandy check on him. Then he races off again.That seems to bring Phil around to agreeing that Sandy may have a point. So he decides to grab a rifle from the truck parked down the street (Why not.). And they head off to get all the items to end the reign of the undead.

"Phil? Grades are great. But could
you finish your Chem work later?"
They first head to Phil's house, where the scroll is. While there, he starts working on something in his dad's dentistry office. It seems he's trying to add silver tips to the bullets he has. That's possibly smart. What's happen to Phil? He's suddenly verging on competence.

"How many holes will I put in your
head? Well, I think..."
While he works to finish the bullets, a light comes on behind him. It's his dad. And he's looking a bit off, and dead. I guess Trick or Treating didn't go well.

And then he pops out the fangs. Figures, a dentist.

Phil decides to run instead of fighting his dad, or "killing" his dad, or being killed by his dad. (And Dick Van Patten gets paid premo bucks for fight scenes.)

It's always awkward when your
grandparents arrive at your party
and want to join in.
Back at the party...things get a little weird. Melissa hears a song playing that she likes, so she starts dancing. And then grandma Lucinda joins in.

Everyone is enjoying. Living and undead.

 And then they start dance walking in mass. Everyone joins in. And they end up on the dance floor, staring at the camera.

Cause that happen.

This all comes out of nowhere. And I can't help think this is attempt to create, in part, the Thriller music video, which came out two years before.

But it is humorous to watch. And it just build and builds, and then they go to commercial.

"I'm starting to think there's only one
way out of this movie,"
"Not even that."
After that, Melissa beckons Mitch to join her up on the balcony atop the house. Mitch is a little confused about why, but comes along. As he goes, Vinnie the Vamp checks out a girl, looks like he's ready to start changing people over. (I assume he'll be as successful now, as he was in his human life. So, not successful.)

She makes her move to turn him, but is interrupted by an incoming car, the car Mitch's dad is driving. This leads Mitch to race out to figure out what his dad is doing here. And how drunk he is now.

No. I have no idea why she
has to make that face.
A little dejected at the loss, Melissa's luck picks up when Mary pops up to check on her. So Melissa turns on Mary, and turns her (into a vampire). And, yeah, she makes that face. I have no idea why. Jonelle Allen, as Lucinda, did a nice fierce face. Shari Belafonte, here, gives us more a look of your cat getting startled.

"This is for not inviting me to appear
on Stargate SG-1!"
In front of the house, Mitch checks on his dad. He finds the car wrecked, and looks around for his body. He can't spot his dad, until he springs up from behind the car and jumps on Mitch.

It is a one sided fight as dear old dad tosses his son around like he's a rag doll. He also mocks Mitch a little. (But they chose to do his voice so that it had some reverberations to it. The results sounds like he talked into some kid's tape recorder.) Good voice work, or not, the result of the fight is Mitch getting strangled to death by his own father.

"With my dying breath I want you all to know I totally did it with that
hot teacher..."
So...Is this closure for the issues that lie between Mitch and his dad?

As Mitch fades to black, Phil and Sandy make their way through the city, to reach the Cavendar house, and the ring Mitch is wearing.

Along the way we are treated to the surreal and terrifying state the city has fallen into. It has become a necropolis.

For some reason, an Italian opera singer sets up shop in the town gazebo. Still it sets up some crazy creepy music to trail through this scene.

As well, soldiers from different areas march back and forth, mingling.

 Some of the ghouls work to reorganize the city/tear it apart.

So was the werewolf's unresolved
issue, being able to reenact the
game, Rampage?
 And, for some reason, one of the werewolves is leaping around on window sills.

Oh no! He's destroying the sterling
 reputation of all milkmen.
The evil milkman ghoul pours out all the milk.

"Hey! It says snow, rain, and sleet.
Nothing about zombies!"
The evil postman ghoul burns up all his letters.

"What doth rhyme with disembowel?"

There's also an evil bard...writing evil poetry...I guess.

That isn't evil, werewolf. That's just being a dick.
It is a weird chaos. The streets of the city are places no longer welcoming of the living.

Is he fishing where that hydrant was ripped out...
I don't even...

 And the police are lost to. Part of the madness that now reigns.

And more and more come.

Oh my god no! The Phantom Sweeper!

I do really like this scene. It is a little silly when broken down, but the effect is good. The city feels like it's fallen to the hellish dead, and full now of those lost in either their evil intents, or in their need to finish old business. I wish we could spend more time in this place, have characters need to navigate this dead city on foot. But on a TV budget, quick shots likely hide weaknesses, and the effect of this place would likely wither quick if we stayed on it too long.

I feel I should mention something odd now. The gravedigger/caretaker. He appears at the start of the movie, to get a paper from the paperboy. Then he disappears as the dead rise. Then, when Phil and Sandy are outside the police station, he is standing there, watching them. And then in the hellish montage above, he's in the downtown area digging.

Now, what is he? He doesn't look dead early on, and at the end he looks no different, but is just digging holes. I don't get it.

 Back at the house, Melissa and Lucinda have a moment. They discuss how the world has changed, and not changed. It's nice to have a moment like this, as they are family.

While they watch, Mary feeds on one of the guys on the dance floor. Then Melissa joins and quietly feeds on another guy. The guests won't be lasting much longer.

"Gosh! Look at the state of this place."
"No. That's just how Melissa keeps it."
The city is lost. Things have become dire. But Phil and Sandy finally make it to the Cavendar house. But now it's empty.

The look around, but find no one.

But they aren't alone.

Their attention is called to the main stairs.

"We were expecting you...Hey! It's Phil! Great. Phil's no threat."
"You're about to die, Phil. But you don't
have to take my word for it."
His, now ghoulish, friends welcome and taunt him. 

"Before I kill you, Phil, I want
you to know what I did with that
hot substitute teacher."
Phil is stunned, and sees that Mitch still has the ring.

Phil and Sandy make a dash, and Mitch is in the lead chasing them through the house. The pair make it into the kitchen and do their best to bar the door to keep the ghouls at bay.

But they keep pushing, and Mitch's hand pushes in through the crack of the door.

Phil tries to pull the ring from his finger, but it's stuck. Sandy comes up with a great idea, hack the finger off. But Phil decides to just squirt...syrup...on it. That works to get the ring off.

And Phil and Sandy run for it, back to the car. In the car, they are shocked to find the teacher that was at the party. She seems to have hidden in the car. She says she fled the party. So, they take her with them to the graveyard (and the bones they need).

There, they find Nathaniel Grenville's tomb. As they try and break in, the teacher proves not to be what she seems, as she jumps on Phil. Before she can snack on him, Sandy nails her on the back of the head with a huge flashlight.

They get finally get in the tomb, and find the remains they need. Grabbing some of him, all they need to do is mix him into the wax, and press it to the scroll.

Trouble is, they have no matches to melt the candle wax they have on hand. They need to get back to the car.

And outside, the ghouls are massing. But credit here. They managed to pull off a phenomenal time getting from the house to the graveyard (and at a slow shamble to).

Not the most impressive legion of super villains.

And, the mustache is back again.
First they are met by the weird patrol guy that was turned into a werewolf. He snarls at them, and Phil shoots him with a silver tipped bullet. He goes down. And then he reverts to his human form. Which reminds you effectively of classic werewolf movies.

With him out of the way, they make it to their car.

South Asian train joke HERE
In the car they finally can light the wax. But the zombies are on them. And they swarm the damaged car.

They bang on the windows, they are climbing on the damaged top, and reaching in.

Things look bad, but the wax is melting.

They pour the mix of remains and wax on the scroll. And then they press the ring into it.

But nothing is happening. And the ghouls keep tearing the car apart.

Phil is freaking out. Sandy sincerely tells him that she loves him, and good bye.

And a bright light envelops everyone there.

...hoping each time his next leap would be the leap to Hell.

And when the glow is gone, so are all the ghouls, werewolves, etc. And Sandy. Also Phil's clothes are restored and his car is undamaged.

Outside he sees Sandy's gravestone. And says his goodbyes to her. Then he drives off, listening to Wolfman Jack. (Though on the gravestone SM + PG is blood...or lipstick. And on the radio she leaves him a song request. ...Yeah. Your mileage will vary on that stuff.)


So? What do you think of this movie?

It is a leap up from the last one we looked at. But, it does have it's issues.

It attempts to mash together a lot of ideas, so some get left unfinished, unremarked on, or unexplored. There are many parts of this movie that could have been expanded (the necropolis, the Lucinda-Melissa dynamic, Mitch and his dad, how the city fell, etc.).

But the chaotic mess of this movie is part of it's charm, there's a bit of something for everyone. Ghouls, vampires, werewolves, deaths, destruction, romance.

If you can find a copy (like where I suggest in Part 1) it's worth your time, like a spooky Halloween night.

Next time out, we spend some time with a more conventional ghost, and the trouble he wroughts.


What happen at the end? I don't know. It's never explained. The point of what they were doing was to stop the evil, to put it back in it's place. So how the fixed clothes and car fit in is unclear.

The assumption most seem to have is that it reset events, so all the bad things didn't happen. I don't know how that would work. So the night was allowed to happen over again, without the added guests and deaths?

That means one of two things. Everyone just continues to be the way they were before. That's kind of blah! No repercussions? No lessons learned? Just reset the clock? And not even that, Wolfman Jack on the radio says that it's midnight. The night is over. It's a completely different timeline now.

Or, worse, they know what happen and recall being murdered and/or killing people they know and love. That's some horrific stuff to live with. That is a grim ending that doesn't work with me.

The ending is just confusing, if you want to grasp what happened (and be satisfied). Alternatively, you can just decide for yourself what happen.

It's grimmer, but it feels like the more satisfying ending is for the evil and everything that was touched by the evil to get washed away. There should be a toll to what happen in this movie. Phil is left alone in a dead city. But the world is saved.

That might not work for you. And that's fine. Choose your own view of the ending. It can be fun.


Also, what was the deal with Sandy? Who is she? Why did she know all that stuff about the scroll?

For some the pat answer is that she was angel. But that kind of stuff only flies if your watching Battlestar Galactica. Also, it looks like maybe she heard the scroll bring read from her grave. But that is so meh.

More interesting is to consider why she died. Remember the graveyard, when the dead rose? In one crypt there were scattered bodies, just lying around. It was an odd and unexplained sight.

How did they get there?

What if they had been there since the 50's? What if there had been another attempt once to use the scroll?

And, what if a certain young cheerleader died stopping the worst from happening?

I am sure you can find flaws in this idea. But, I think, it makes a more interesting story. Of how she and her friends tried to fix a mistake they made, and paid with their lives.

Now, thirty years later, she gets a second chance to find some happiness and peace, and save the world again.

Well, that is, at least, my own internal logic for this movie.

So much is left unsaid or unshown in this movie, that it is easily left open for you to speculate late passed the midnight hour.

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