Adamantium Bullet
1Oct/18

31 Days Of Horror: ALONE IN THE DARK

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss 1982's ALONE IN THE DARK starring Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Donald Pleasance, Dwight Schultz, and Lin Shaye.

At a secluded mental institution, Dr. Bain maintains order while electricity fuels the asylum's hi-tech security system that keeps the nearby neighborhoods safe from menaces like Frank Hawkes and Byron "Preacher" Sutcliff. Meanwhile a new doctor, Dan Potter, arrives in town with his family and sister, but the inmates don't take kindly to his presence and believe he has killed off their former therapist. Suddenly a power outage leaves the town in chaos ...and now the maniacs are free to roam the streets and hunt down the man they believe has invaded their lives. With the area quickly descending into riots and chaos, the innocent few must fight for their lives when they’re left terrified, cornered and ALONE IN THE DARK!

Twelve, maybe eleven. All depends on whether or not ‘dream kills’ count. If they do, the official count is twelve. If they don’t, then it’s eleven and far less interesting. I mean, seriously, how could a ‘dream kill’ that consists of Dr. Bain (Donald f*cking Pleasance) stringing up Byron (Martin f*cking Landau) and bisecting him with a giant cleaver not count? I don’t want to live in a horror world where that doesn’t count.

Believe it or not, the “Pleasance bisects Landau” bit is not the MOST MEMORABLE KILL in ALONE IN THE DARK. Why is this? Well, it is because as awesome as that bit is, there’s no impact shot or blood. The set-up is there, but the payoff isn’t. That means the moment where Roland (Erland van Lidth) grabs Bunky (Carol Levy) by the throat, lifts her off the floor, and chokes her to death wins MOST MEMORABLE KILL. Still a bloodless kill, but the impact is there. That gives it the edge.

Bunky goes topless, Toni (Lee Taylor-Allan) goes topless from behind, and both Billy (Keith Reddin) and Roland lose their shirts.

The last act twist involving Skaggs (Phillip Clark) is an all-timer. Too bad the David Boreanaz slasher pic VALENTINE straight up stole that bit. The runner-up for SIGNATURE MOMENT was the bit where the crazies (Landau, Clark, Lidth, and Jack Palance) rummage through a department store for murder weapons while a full scale riot rages outside. Too bad the Quentin Tarantino cult classic PULP FICTION stole that bit.

Ray (Brent Jennings) could’ve locked that closet he was hiding in from the inside. The lock was right there. Had he used it, he would’ve survived the picture. Instead, he didn’t use it, and he died. Badly.

The whole sequence with child molester Roland and the little girl Lyla. Everything about that scene is uncomfortable. Yes, it turns out okay, and yes, nothing bad happens, but that doesn’t mean the “WTF?!?” isn’t there. It’s there. It’s all over there. Also, it's too bad CON AIR straight up stole that bit.

> In the original script for ALONE IN THE DARK, the punk band that Toni drags Dan and Nell to see was named ‘Nicky Nothing and the Hives’. When ‘The Sick F*cks’, an actual punk group, landed the gig as the punk band for the film their real name was liked so much that they kept it for the film.

> One of the members of the band ‘The Sick F*cks’ ran into ALONE IN THE DARK star Jack Palance years later in the streets of New York. He said to Palance that he was one of ‘The Sick F*cks’ in the film and Palance replied 'we were all sick fucks in that movie'.

> ALONE IN THE DARK was the first feature film produced by distributor New Line Cinema.

> Director Jack Sholder's original idea for the film was to have the story be about mental patients escaping during a blackout in NYC and the mafia being used to stop them. Due to the low budget it was re-envisioned to take place on a smaller scale outside of New York.

> Makeup effects artist Tom Savini was brought in specifically to create the horrific monster apparition that Toni has. Savini achieved the startling effect by covering an actor in a concoction of soap and Rice Krispies cereal.

> ALONE IN THE DARK was one of the first horror films to be made with Dolby Stereo sound. The advanced sound level would often blow out the speaker systems in older theaters while the movie was being screened.

> While writing the screenplay for Alone in the Dark, Jack Sholder was inspired by the writings of R.D. Laing, who theorized that 'psychotics' were actually people having difficulty adapting to an already psychotic world. The character of Dr. Leo Bain was supposed to be something of a parody of Lang.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this article was sourced from IMDB and Wikipedia.

Posted by AngieBee

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