In the Midnight Hour – TVM, USA, 1985 – reviews

‘Ghouls just want to have fun…’

In the Midnight Hour is a 1985 American made-for-TV comedy horror feature film about a witch’s curse that brings the dead back to life.

Directed by Jack Bender (Mr Mercedes TV series; Child’s Play 3; Deadly Messages) from a teleplay written by William Bleich (Poltergeist: The Legacy TV series; From the Dead of Night; The Hearse), the ABC TV movie stars Jonelle Allen, Shari Belafonte, LeVar Burton, Peter DeLuise and Jonna Lee.

Brad Fiedel (Fright Night; Just Before Dawn) composed the soundtrack score.

Plot:

Phil (Lee Montgomery), Mitch (Peter DeLuise), Vinnie (LeVar Burton), Mary (Dedee Pfeiffer) and Melissa (Shari Belafonte) are friends that unwittingly wake Melissa’s great, great, great, great grandmother Lucinda, who is a witch who originally cursed the town of Pitchford Cove.

The curse resurrects every monster back from the dead to wreak havoc on that town. Meanwhile, Sandy is a resurrected cheerleader from the ’50s who is back to help the teens…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …the acting is good, the plot is fun, the music is great and the movie affectionately captures the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, with trick-or-treaters running the streets, foggy cemeteries and even Wolfman Jack on the radio playing songs […] This is one of those rare genre movies with plenty for both parents and kids to enjoy…” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“A lively affair, full of laughs and thrills. Dick Van Patten has fun as a silly dentist and Kevin McCarthy is the drunken judge who gets his comeuppance.” John Stanley, Creature Features, Berkley Boulevard Books, 2000

“If you like the horror movies of Fred Dekker and Joe Dante, and I can’t think of too many people who don’t, then this is for you. It has a similar vibe, both in the way it’s respectful to the genre conventions while also playing around with them slightly and also in how it shows darkness seeping into an unprepared small town in America.” For It Is Man’s Number

” …a running gag throughout the film centres on a zombie sitting on a settee in the midst of the party or partygoers’ reactions to the monsters’ appearances assuming them to be costumes. On of the pluses is Jonelle Allen who has an aloof presence that glides through the film – although she disappointingly fades away from the film once she infects Shari Belafonte-Harper with the vampire bite.” Moria

“Enjoyable silliness reaches a madcap (and grimacing) zenith with Belafonte doing a Michael Jackson-type dance called “Get Dead!” Yikes. Not any blood throughout, but the attack on Shari in the wine cellar by the elder vampiress is kinda cool, whilst a tune by the Smiths playing upstairs complements the action.” The Terror Trap

“If you don’t take this at all seriously and see it for the lightweight and harmless TV movie it is, you should have fun with The Midnight Hour. It’s goofy, you’ll get a chance to see someone remove the ring from a pissed-off zombie with maple syrup, and the make-up effects (by Jeff Dawn and Rick Stratton) are way better than you’d expect from this type of thing.” The Video Graveyard

” …I’ll be unconvincingly mauled by a half-assed werewolf if this film isn’t charming as all hell. Watching our cast of good looking 20-somethings strolling through a patently fake graveyard while Wilson Pickett’s The Midnight Hour plays on the soundtrack… it’s just great stuff.” You Have Died of Dysentry

Release:

First aired on the ABC network on Friday, November 1st 1985.

The movie was later released on VHS and DVD with the title shortened to The Midnight Hour

Cast and characters:

  • Jonelle Allen … Lucinda Cavender
  • Shari Belafonte … Melissa Cavender (as Shari Belafonte-Harper)
  • LeVar Burton … Vinnie Davis
  • Peter DeLuise … Mitch Crandall
  • Jonna Lee … Sandy Matthews
  • Kevin McCarthy … Judge Crandall
  • Lee Montgomery … Phil Grenville
  • Cindy Morgan … Vicky Jensen
  • Dedee Pfeiffer … Mary Masterson
  • Dick Van Patten … Martin Grenville
  • Mark Blankfield … The Ghoul
  • Hank Garrett … Sergeant Thompson
  • Sheila Larken … Janet Greenville
  • Dennis Redfield … Lester Mitchell
  • Kurtwood Smith … Captain Warren Jensen
  • Wolfman Jack … Radio D.J. (voice)
  • Bill DeLand … Man in Police Station
  • Joe Gieb … Elf
  • Vachik Mangassarian … Opera Singer
  • Mickey Morton … Vernon Nestor
  • Laura Owens … Mother
  • Adam Myman … Son
  • Jennifer Shockey … Tammy
  • Rebecca Both … Beehive Dancer / Halloween Party (uncredited)
  • Macaulay Culkin … Halloween Kid (uncredited)
  • Tony Henderson … Paperboy (uncredited)
  • Oliver Holler … Zombie (uncredited)
  • Ted King … Death (uncredited)
  • Larry Ludwig … Milkman (uncredited)
  • Paul McMichael … Trick or Treater, dressed as Oliver Hardy (uncredited)
  • Craig Reed … Army Ranger (uncredited)
  • Scott L. Treger … Frankenstein Rick (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Universal Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

  • 94 minutes
  • Audio: Stereo
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33: 1

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