May 6, 2002

I rarely review TV movies – in fact, this is my first – but as this was one of the formative films of my childhood, I thought I’d break the rules a little bit.

Halloween 1985. I was in 4th grade at Holleman Elementary. All my friends had seen the movie and it was a source of constant speculation for weeks. “What exactly had Vernon Nestor done that was so bad?” “How come Sandy was the only one not decayed?” “So Lucinda is a witch AND a vampire?” “What is wrong with Mary? Phil is so cute!” It was even the subject of my obsession for years afterwards, mostly because I had taped it one subsequent Halloween. I even forced my college roommates to watch it – sadly, they were more impressed by the silly 80s commercials on my tape than the actual movie. Imagine my dismay when the tape finally gave out and busted. Of course, the tape was at least ten years old and had been watched hundreds of times – but I was seriously bummed. I think I had Transylvania 6-5000 and Earth Girls are Easy on that tape, too. Then comes the magic of DVD! Just last year, The Midnight Hour was released on DVD. Oh, I got it alright, it’s sitting there on my shelf, wedged between Meet the Feebles and Mortal Kombat.

Why in the world do I love this film so much? I couldn’t tell you. It’s cheesy and stupid. The plot is hopelessly romantic, yet tragic at the same time. There’s a crazy Thriller rip-off dance number. There are werewolves, vampires and rotted corpses everywhere. Wait, the more I describe it, the better it sounds…

Let me touch on the cast – TV all the way. The star is Lee Montgomery, the hottie from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. His buddies include Shari Belafonte-Harper (last seen on Babylon 5), LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow guy, Geordi LaForge, Kunta Kinte), Peter DeLuise (21 Jump Street!!!) and Dedee Pfeiffer (a bunch of crappy TV shows). Red Forman, as crotchety as ever, even makes an appearance as the Police Captain.

The soundtrack is just amazing. Actually, the soundtrack is what made think of doing a review. On the way home from work, I put in my new Guess Who CD and on comes ‘Clap for the Wolfman.’ How silly is it to write a song about a DJ? Not quite as silly as having that same DJ actually perform in your song. Anyway, that’s one of the cool songs in the movie, not to mention the fact that Wolfman Jack’s DJ-ness makes an appearance as well. Other songs include ‘Li’l Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Devil or Angel’, ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come,’ ‘Baby, I’m Yours’ and of course, the eponymous ‘Midnight Hour.’ Oh, and I forgot – ‘How Soon is Now?’ during a particularly nasty vampire attack – for years, I would freak out every time I heard it.

Below, you’ll notice quite a long list of accomplishments by the director, Jack Bender. I swear that I have seen at least half of those TV movies. He has also directed quite a few TV shows, from Eight is Enough to Beverly Hills, 90210 to Alias. And let’s not forget Child’s Play 3! The man is clearly an auteur…

There’s not much else I can say about the film, except to check it out.

Year – 1985
Rating – UR
Runtime – 94 minutes
Genre – TV, Horror
Director(s) – Jack Bender
Writer(s) – William Bleich
Actor(s) – Shari Belafonte-Harper, LeVar Burton, Peter DeLuise, Lee Montgomery, Jonna Lee
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Astractios, Mundobor, Desmagon. I invoke your powers, come heed my bidding on this night of nights, the eve of Samhein, All Hallows Eve. Spirits of darkness, I command you to rise from your graves, eth blava esaga may. All manner of demons, I implore your release from eternal torment, testegus esaga may. All manner of dead, removed by sleep, thirsting for blood, this night and forever. He who is touched by evil, shall become evil, sagamus saga may. He who is died, shall rise again, bestamus saga may. Life to the dead, death to the living. Demons arise...arise..." - Melissa Cavender (Shari Belafonte-Harper)