DARKNESS (1993) Reviews and overview

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Darkness is a 1993 American supernatural horror feature film written, photographed, edited and directed by Leif Jonker.

Rue Morgue has reported that the “Final Cut” version of Darkness, will receive a hi-definition revamp by Arrow Video.

At the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, Leif Jonker and Arrow Video’s Ewan Cant announced an upcoming Blu-ray release , that will be taken from a new 2.5K overscan of the original camera elements. Artist Christopher Shy (Mandy; Harpoon; Godzilla: King of the Monsters) created the new imagery for the release (see above).

The Blu-ray will be packed with special features, which are still being assembled, although, Jonker said: “We will also have the untouched/unchanged original SD VHS version on the disc, and will be porting over the vast majority of extras, commentaries and/or alternate audio tracks I created for the Barrel release. We do plan to record one or two new commentary tracks for the Final Cut and at least one new feature shot in HD.”

In addition, the release will come with a 24-page mini-magazine created by horror-movie host Gunther Dedmund, a.k.a. Joel Sanderson, of The Basement Sublet of Horror podcast.

Before its Blu-ray release, the newly remastered version of Darkness will premiere in October at the ninth annual Oldtown Horror Festival in Wichita, Kansas.


A small community is besieged by vampires. After he watches friends ravaged in a convenience store, a lone avenger goes off to do battle with the undead, armed with shotgun, chainsaw, and Holy water. Later, he finds other survivors and they try to stay alive long enough to do battle with Liven, king of the vampires…


“With Darkness and The Dead Next Door, Leif and J.R. have both made Super 8 epics surpassing many of their Hollywood counterparts’ 35mm efforts. They prove that by combining hard work with a true love for horror you can produce something deserving enough to be remembered decades down the road.” B-Independent

“The flick boasts all sorts of laughably entertaining splatter effects, whether it’s some poor schmuck getting his guts devoured or an unconvincing flock of the undead staging a mass-meltdown right there in the middle of a Wichita highway … this is a pretty goopy movie. But it’s not a particularly good one.” Scott Weinberg, DVD Talk

“My biggest complaint about the movie is the plethora of teenage non-actors in all the roles […] and the movie never really overcomes their amateurish acting (it’s tough to be afraid of a buncha vampires who look like they spilled ketchup on themselves at a high school football game). However, the blood spews beyond measure, and Jonker obviously harbors some real talent” Film Vault

“There is no plot hanging any of this together – just the various characters running around pursued by vampires […] Luckily for the film, it has been designed to work in an entirely visceral capacity and is not dependent on the acting skills of its cast.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Not all the gore effects work as well as they might–there’s a chainsaw to the hand gag that really shows Jonker’s reach exceeding his grasp–but the sheer volume and enthusiasm of the gore forgives a lot. The Evil Dead influence is especially obvious when our heroes are doused in the blood of the vampires they dispatch. The red stuff is just everywhere in this movie, and it’s done with style.” Matt Bradshaw, Omega Channel

“The gore effects are hit and miss (sometimes too easily resembling red Kool-Aid, other times quite effective and nauseating-check out the ending meltdown sequence for example), and the movie itself is done with a lot of enthusiasm […] it’s still not a particularity good horror flick.” Joseph Howell, Talk of Horrors

“The good is that the over-the-top gore effects are moderately entertaining and some scenes are effective, the bad is that they are all teenagers that take themselves too seriously, the lighting has severe technical difficulties, and the plot and characters are non-existent.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre

Cast and characters:

  • Gary Miller … Tobe
  • Michael Gisick … Greg
  • Randall Aviks … Liven
  • Cena Donham … Kelly
  • Steve Brown … Jodie
  • Lisa Franz … Dianne
  • Bill Hooper … Glenn
  • Christopher Owen Michael … Steve
  • Jake Euker … John
  • Veronica Page Dennen … Cop
  • Bob Lower … Bob
  • Jodie Way … Customer
  • Brian Cardwell … Vampire
  • Michael J. Martin … Vampire
  • Ross Boehringer … Vampire

Some image credits: Rue Morgue

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