Today’s flick, One Dark Night (1983; aka Night in the Crypt, aka Dark Night, aka Entity Force, aka Mausoleum, aka Night of Darkness, aka Rest in Peace, aka Moms Mabley and Her All-Star Jug Band), seems to have all the ingredients necessary to make a B-grade horror film for the ages. Sadly, the ingredients- Adam West, EG Daily, Meg Tilly, a creepy Phantasm-style mausoleum, satin jackets, and telekinesis- could barely muster enough thrills to merit being called D-grade.
Meg Tilly stars as Julie, your typical bookish ‘good girl’ type who wants to join a small group of "cool" kids called The Sisters. The Sisters is made up of the always-welcome EG Daily, a girl with an oral fixation who’s always chewing on a toothbrush, and Julie’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, aka the poor man’s Jenilee Harrison of television’s Three’s Company. I mean, who DOESN’T want to join a group like that, eh? Sure, on the one hand they’ve got matching satin jackets and that’s wicked sweet. On the other hand, however, they’ve got these pants, which are by far the most horrifying thing in the entire movie:
Why such high waists, ladies? I mean, those go far beyond even the high-waisted, gut-accentuating monstrosities known as “mom jeans” into “belt directly underneath the boobs” territory. Please note the helpful graphic I’ve created to emphasize the unnatural distance between waist and crotch. I hope to preserve this image in order to save future generations from such unflattering fashion trends.
The Sisters decide that if Julie really wants in the group, she must pass an initiation. In a…(ahem) sharp departure from horror film clichés, Julie’s initiation includes spending the night alone in a mausoleum. Even (ahem) more radical is The Sisters’ evil plan: to return to the mausoleum later in the night to scare Julie!
Little do they all know, the Russian psychic
At this point, you may be thinking that One Dark Night sounds pretty bitchin’and I should quit thinking I'm so big and I should definitely lay off the crack pipe. And you know, in an alternate universe, you very well may be correct. Of course, I’m talking about an alternate universe where you are watching a complete cut of the film, not suffering through a director's rough cut as I did. I received an onscreen warning that I was about to watch a ‘rough cut’ and there was the potential for ‘imperfections’ throughout. Fancying myself one who lives on the edge, I said the hell with it! and continued on, thinking that a few rough edits here and there wouldn’t be a big deal. What I got, however, was a film largely without sound. Yeah, there was dialogue…but there was next to nil for music, long periods of silence, and no sound effects. This made it…uh…REALLY difficult to be excited about this movie. Jump scares simply aren’t effective when they’re fucking silent! Mood is difficult to establish without music, and the surprise of seeing Meg Tilly trip and fall is kind of LACKING when it’s prefaced by the director’s voice saying “Aaaannnnnd…fall!”
At one point during One Dark Night, I had an out of body experience. Suddenly I was floating high above my couch, watching myself watching the movie. Boy, did I look angry! I looked angry, and yet I also looked awful silly, watching a movie with no sound. I think at one point I heard myself exclaim “Why the fuck am I watching this?” and I saw myself flip off the screen with both middle fingers. Then I decided that while my body was clearly an idiot, my spirit was not and would be better off spending the time doing anything else in the whole entire world. Just as I was about to float over toward the bathroom and set about re-grouting the tub, however, the movie ended and I was able to rejoin my corporeal self. We had a Diet Coke together to help ease the pain and I promised not to make fun of myself for suffering so very much for a frickin' blog entry. I give this movie 2 out of 10 well, maybe with some fucking music and sound effects it would rate a 4 out of 10s.