Midnight (1982) Review {by Tim Walker}

midnight2

The film begins with 17 year old Nancy running away from home after her drunken lecherous stepfather, Bert, tries to assault her. Bert is very well played by the excellent and sadly missed Lawrence Tierney, who puts in a great performance here. Nancy decides that the only person she can turn to is her sister in California, so she begins to hitchhike there. Eventually she is offered a lift by Tom and his friend Hank, she accepts the lift and the three of them begin their drive. After getting hassled by some racist hicks, and robbing a small supermarket of some food they arrive at a spot to camp out for the night, where they smoke weed and fall asleep.

Nancy wakes up early the next day and goes off for a leak, but when she gets back she sees Tom and Hank being held at gunpoint by two crazed rednecks dressed as cops.

After Nancy witnesses the fairly nasty murders of the two young men at the hands of the rednecks, they notice her and begin to chase her down. As Nancy attempts to flee from the crazed killers she runs into an isolated farm house. Where she makes the grisly discovery of two human bodies hacked up like fire wood, and an insane giggling hillbilly laughing like a tickle fetish fanatic. Nancy discovers to her horror that the farmhouse is home to an inbred satanic cult of death worshiping rednecks who want her as a nubile sacrifice.

I went into this one with a pretty good feeling, because this film is the adaption of a novel by John Russo, who also wrote the screenplay and of course directed the film. Not to mention Russo was the co-writer on the screenplay for the original Night of the Living Dead with George A. Romero, which gives him a big tick in my book. I have to say I wasn’t let down by this one, it has great pacing, interesting and often likable characters and at times it is pretty creepy. One scene in particular that I found to be a little unnerving is when Nancy is being kept in a small dog cage by the cult, and is being treated like a dog. Couple this with a chubby and constantly giggling redneck sadist and you have some pretty creepy scenes.

There are one or two little problems with the film such as some poor acting here and there, and some pretty strange plot holes that I am willing to overlook. If you go into this one wanting buckets of blood and gore you’re going to be a bit disappointed, there is very little blood and gore in this one, however there is just enough to keep the gorehounds happy. This film is a good example of the backwoods terror subgenre, which has died a pretty pathetic death of late, with a shed load of garbage being churned out that keeps trying (and failing) to emulate films like this one. Overall this is a fun watch that kept me entertained; I give it a 7/10.

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