October 31, 2012

13 Days of Halloween: Retrospective: The Midnight Hour


For the past twenty-seven years, one of my annual Halloween watches is the little known horror comedy The Midnight Hour. It first aired on ABC on November 1, 1985 (Yep, one day after Halloween and two days after Garfield's Halloween Adventure aired on CBS) when I was a four-year-old. At the time my parents and I lived in a two-story farmhouse in the country (which was also haunted) and my parents recorded it onto a VHS tape. I would pester my mother into letting me watch The Midnight Hour, even though The Elf would always freak me out.

The Midnight Hour is set on Halloween in the small town of  Pitchford Cove, New England. Five high school seniors, Phil (Lee Montgomery), Mary (Dedee Pfeiffer), Mitch (Peter DeLuise), Vinnie (LeVar Burton), and Melissa (Shari Belafonte), break into the town's museum. They steal (or should I saw "borrow") a few costumes and an old trunk. They open the trunk at the local cemetery, in which they find a mysterious scroll. Melissa reads the scroll aloud, unleashing a horrible curse.

A few minutes after the kids leave the cemetery, the undead rise from their graves. The undead's leader is Melissa's own ancestor, Lucinda Cavender, who was put to death over 300 hundred years ago for being a vampire.

While little kids are trick-or-treating, the teenagers of Pitchford Cove are attending the costume party at Melissa's house. Phil arrives at the party hoping to get the attention of Mary, who he has a crush on, but Mary already has a date. He leaves just as the undead arrive for the party.

On his way home, Phil meets a lost cheerleader named Sandra "Sandy" Matthews. The two share a brief romantic encounter, before a werewolf attacks them. Sandy informs Phil about the town's curse and that he must undo the curse before midnight or the undead will walk forever.

The Midnight Hour scared me to death when I was four, but viewing it an adult, it isn't even close to being scary. The movie was briefly released to DVD a few years ago, in which I didn't even know about it, but it is now out of print. A few years back, I dubbed my parents VHS recording onto a DVD with the original commercials intact. The picture quality is good, but I do hope that the movie would be released onto DVD in the near future. What's not to like about the movie? It has vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Yes, there is even a campy dance scene with the undead! There is also a little romance involving Phil and the mysterious Sandy! The Midnight Hour is one of my favorite movies to watch around Halloween!



2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this piece. My family had an annual Halloween tradition of watching The Midnight Hour too. I still continue it today at age 33. I adore this movie and hope to see it on DVD again in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I restored this an put the full video on youtube. One of my faves too. I was eight when I first saw it. My friends and I would act it out on the playground at recess.

    ReplyDelete

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