FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 17, 2017

One More Dark Night

About a month ago I saw a listing for a brand spankin' new Special Edition of One Dark Night and let me tell you, I clicked "add to cart" so fast that my finger actually caught on fire. It was very painful but so worth it. A horror movie from 1982 starring Meg Tilly? Yes and please! And then My Brain chimed in.

"You've seen this," said My Brain.

"No I haven't," I replied. "I would remember."

"You saw it once and you didn't like it."

"Haha, oh Brain," I said. "Stop trying to fool me with all of this FAKE NEWS. Didn't like it? Brain, you know my Meg Tilly feelings are everlasting, strong, and true. Not liking this movie falls into the realm of the unpossible."

"Why don't you check the Final Girl review archive if you don't believe me?"

"I will not be doing that. That's enough now Brain, I bid you good day!" I shut My Brain down completely so I wouldn't have to endure any sass, and for the next several hours I sat staring into nothingness and drooling all over myself. This, too, was so worth it.

Then lo, time passed (as it does) and the Blu-ray arrived. I secretly thought...hmm, I think I have seen this. I feel like maybe I didn't like it? Could My Brain have been right all along?

In search of answers I finally clicked the FG review archives and there it was. I had already seen One Dark Night, and no, I didn't like it. I gave it a 2/10! (Rating movies was a thing back then, what can I say.) Sure, sure, I had soldiered through a very rough cut of the film with no sound effects or music, but even so, I estimated that a fully-realized version would still only rate a 4/10 from me. While the film seemed to have the requirements for some delightful B-grade delight, I said that ultimately One Dark Night "could barely muster enough thrills to merit being called D-grade." So harsh! Would my feelings change more than a decade (!!!) since that original review?

Fuck yeah they would, are you nuts?

While relaxing in a tub filled with the blood of a hundred virgins every night ensures that somehow I become more beautiful with each passing year, it seems that I also grow wiser and, although surely no one thought it was possible, my taste gets better and better. What I am saying is that Past Me had no idea what's up, because obviously what's up is One Dark Night. This shit rules!

If you want a rundown of the plot, you can read that dopey old review. But I'm living in the now, baby, where all we talk about is what makes One Dark Night so great.

It is EG Daily at perhaps her feistiest. It is purple satin jackets and Kitty chewing on a toothbrush throughout the proceedings ("I guess I just like the way it tastes."). It is insults like "nerdlebrain" and "turkey", it is Spencer's Gifts-style blue movie lightning shooting out of eyes and fingertips. It's teenagers handing out downers (Demerol, to be specific) like it's no big deal. It's an army of telekinetically-controlled corpses dragging their toes as they float down the mausoleum hallway. It's grosser than its PG rating warrants, with slime and maggots and peeling skin; it's got sequences that are genuinely unnerving, whether it's girls scared into silence as they watch a coffin slowly open or those same girls getting all besheeted and laughing as they try to scare the life out of one of their own.

I will cut Past Me some slack, as the cut I watched–and, to be fair, the cut I probably shouldn't have reviewed–was designed to be a bonus feature for those who have already seen the movie. With a cruddy picture and no sound, I'm sure One Dark Night seemed far beyond salvation and completely without merit. To be fair, the movie does have some pacing problems and more than a few questions that remain unanswered after its abrupt ending. But when the blue movie lighting and corpses start to fly, it's a damn good time.

I am so glad I didn't listen to My Brain, otherwise I probably would have said "Oh yeah, that movie stinks" and subsequently canceled my order. Look what changes in opinion a decade can bring! What a fool I was! Should either of us–you and me, Reader–ever listen to My Brain? NO. Should either of us ever trust my opinion? NO.

Except now, when I tell you that One Dark Night rules!


Unknown said...

So glad you've revised your opinion. I rewatched it (after decades away) just last year and thought it was fun, colourful, fun. ANd I have always had a crush on Meg Tilly. I don't think I liked it that much when it was first out on VHS. But these days I WANT to see films like this. Unpretentious, nostalgic fun.

Stacie Ponder said...

"But these days I WANT to see films like this. Unpretentious, nostalgic fun."

Man, you got THAT right, me too! I'm all for serious, dour horror that gets my brain going, but there's so much to be said for the stuff that's simply a good time...ESPECIALLY nowadays. I'm so glad I picked this one up. The cut I originally watched WAS really bad, but it's on me for not not watching it, and for subsequently reviewing it. What a young fool I was!

mulholland said...

I love this movie too! And I'm glad you gave it another try. It's really a fun 80s horror movie. Ironically, Meg Tilly, who would go on to nominated for an Oscar for Agnes of God, gave probably the weakest performance in the movie. She's still great though.

Also, I really love that you are blogging more on FG. Many fingers are crossed for some sort of return to Shocktober this year!!!

Stacie Ponder said...

Yeah, this was her first real starring role and it's...well. Really weird for the heroine/final girl to have about three lines in the whole movie! She was drugged up for at least 2/3 of it.

And thanks! I'm trying to cook up something for SHOCKtober. It's been a while, I'm excited for it!

Unknown said...

From a 2018 point of view the most disheartening part of your 2006 review is this dire warning about high-waisted jeans: "I hope to preserve this image in order to save future generations from such unflattering fashion trends."
And yet here we are.