The Midnight Hour
|The Midnight Hour|
The Midnight Hour DVD cover
|Written by||Bill Bleich|
|Directed by||Jack Bender|
Dick Van Patten
|Theme music composer||Brad Fiedel|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Editor(s)||David A. Simmons|
|Cinematography||Rexford L. Metz|
|Running time||94 minutes|
|Production company(s)||ABC Video Enterprise
The Midnight Hour (also known as In the Midnight Hour) is a 1985 American comedy-horror television film that aired on ABC on Friday, November 1, 1985, at 9:00-11:00 PM EST. It stars Shari Belafonte-Harper, LeVar Burton, Peter DeLuise, and Dedee Pfeiffer. The plot focuses on a small New England town that becomes overrun with zombies, witches, vampires, and all the other demons of hell after a group of teenagers unlock a centuries-old curse on Halloween. The film marks Macaulay Culkin's first screen role as an uncredited trick-or-treater.
The film was released on VHS and DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment in 2000. In addition to an original musical number, "Get Dead", the film's soundtrack features songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Three Dog Night, and The Smiths.
It is Halloween in the small town of Pitchford Cove located somewhere in New England, and five high school friends, Phil (Lee Montgomery), Mary (Dedee Pfeiffer), Mitch (Peter DeLuise), Vinnie (LeVar Burton), and Melissa (Shari Belafonte), plan on making it a night they will never forget. They steal outfits from the town's historic museum and come upon other old artifacts, including an old trunk encasing a paper scroll which contains an ancient curse. When Melissa, latent sorceress, recites the curse at the local cemetery, things take a turn for the worse.
The town's dead, led by Melissa's great-great-great-great-grandmother Lucinda Cavender (Jonelle Allen), a witch who was put to death 300 years earlier, rise up from their graves and roam the town. As Melissa, Vinnie, Mitch, and Mary enjoy themselves at their annual Halloween costume party, Phil encounters a mysterious girl, named Sandra "Sandy" Matthews (Jonna Lee), dressed in a vintage 1950's cheerleader outfit, who warns him that the whole town is in danger.
Meanwhile, Lucinda and the various undead crash the costume party. At first, nobody pays much attention to them since everyone is in costume. However, Lucinda begins turning the party guests into vampires, starting with her great-great-great-great-granddaughter Melissa.
When Sandy discovers that Phil and his friends recited the ancient spell in the cemetery, they realize that the whole town is being overrun by the living dead and decide to team up to break the curse. The only way to do so is to find the Grenville Spirit Ring inside the grave of a witch-hunter Nathaniel Grenville - who, coincidentally, was Phil's great-great-great-great-grandfather and slave owner of Lucinda Cavender her arch-nemesis - and use it to undo the curse. It is up to Phil and "good ghost" Sandy to restore the town to normal by midnight before it is too late and the curse becomes permanent.
Vidmark released The Midnight Hour on VHS in May 1989. Anchor Bay Entertainment released it on Region 1 DVD on September 19, 2000. The film was previously released on VHS by Anchor Bay Entertainment on July 20, 1999. Both releases of the film are out of print and are extremely rare among collectors.
Gary Militzer of DVD Verdict called it "a mediocre made-for-TV horror/comedy" that was not worthy of being released on DVD. Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle said, "Even zombie movie completists will have a hard time stomaching this lame made-for-TV drivel".
The film features the following songs, as adapted from the film credits:
- The Midnight Hour (DVD) (film). Anchor Bay Entertainment. 2000.
- Foy, Scott (2011-10-22). "B-Sides: A Thriller Rip-Off That’ll Make You Want to Get Dead". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
- "Vampires, Canseco Top Weeks' Releases". Spokane-Review. 1989-05-12. p. 18.
- Amazon.com, The Midnight Hour DVD release info
- Militzer, Gary (2000-10-09). "The Midnight Hour". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "Blogoween: The Midnight Hour (1985)". The Scope. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- B., Billy (2012-10-31). "13 Days of Halloween: Retrospective: The Midnight Hour". Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Retrieved 2014-08-23.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- The Midnight Hour at the Internet Movie Database
- The Midnight Hour at AllMovie
- The Midnight Hour at Rotten Tomatoes