ALONE IN THE DARK (1982) Reviews and Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray news

 

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Alone in the Dark, the classic horror slasher film from 1982, is being released by Scream Factory on September 14, 2021. The new cover artwork has been designed by Hugh Fleming with the original art on the reverse side.

Scream Factory has announced that: “Extras will be announced on a later date but we can confirm today that there will be a new HD transfer of the film.” Meanwhile, the movie can be ordered in advance via Amazon:

‘They’re out… for blood! Don’t let them find you’

Alone in the Dark is a 1982 American slasher horror film in which a quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital. They subsequently lay siege to their doctor’s house.

Directed by Jack Sholder (editor of The Burning and future director of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, The Hidden, Wishmaster 2 and Arachnid) from a screenplay co-written with Robert Shaye. It was one of the first movies to be produced by Shaye’s New Line Cinema and is notable for the presence of three veteran lead actors: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence and Martin Landau and for a nightmare sequence with special effects by Tom Savini.

Plot:

Doctor Dan Potter (Dwight Schultz) is the replacement for Doctor Harry Merton, a psychiatrist at Doctor Leo Bain’s psychiatric haven. Doctor Bain operates the haven through very lenient methods, referring to the patients as “voyagers” and keeping the most dangerous “voyagers” contained with electrically activated security mechanisms instead of bars.

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The aforementioned third-floor patients (paranoid former POW Frank Hawkes, pyromaniac preacher Byron Sutcliff, obese child molester Ronald Elster, and homicidal maniac John “Bleeder” Skaggs) initially treat Doctor Potter with mixed hostility. At their first meeting, Hawkes nearly explodes at Doctor Potter as he leaves, but calms down before giving a reason for his outburst.

At night, however, Hawkes states to the others that “the new doctor killed Harry Merton, and now he wants to kill us”. The others believe him (aside from Skaggs, who hides his face throughout the film, this time burying his head in his pillow), and agree to help him kill Doctor Potter. They plan to do this on the outside…

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Reviews:

“There’s a moderate amount of gore […] What it does have, are some strikingly lunatic performances, some choice suspense and scares and a strong script. For a lot of people, that is more than enough. This 80’s horror entry is an unappreciated hidden gem and highly recommended.” Cool Ass Cinema

“Sometimes predicable, the convenient plot situations set up one dangerous scenario after the other, and a good amount of shocks are on hand, with significant doses of gore (even Tom Savini contributes a nasty looking zombie during a brief hallucination sequence). Though the story can be uneven, Sholder’s direction is evenly paced, and the rest of the acting is very good…” DVD Drive-In

” … well worth a look if you’re out to check out something a little different. It isn’t a very gory film, but it does feature some nice, visceral death scenes and mutilations. Furthermore, there are quite a few jump scares that will startle you from time to time.” Oh, the Horror!

 

“The lack of serious gore in Alone In The Dark is due to a “falling out” between Sholder and the special fx guy. One death is never really resolved due to this, but Sholder was able to bring in some guy named Savini for one of the better jump scares.” Retro Slashers

“The tone threatens towards the reactionary, with liberal views no match for the criminally insane, and anti-nuclear demonstrations leading to personal endangerment, but it’s really the old Straw Dogs or Hills Have Eyes message about supposedly civilised people easily descending into savagery that’s at work here. The twist is none too well concealed, either.”  The Spinning Image

“While there are those who undoubtedly have kinder thoughts on this one, the occasional touches of humor seemed awkward & ineffective, and undermine any tension director Sholder might have created. Of course, anything with screen veterans Palance and Landau as psychotic inmates on the loose isn’t without its own… strange and offbeat rewards.” The Terror Trap

Alone in the Dark may come disguised as a slasher movie but actually, it’s a pitch-black comedy, with a lot of the humor coming from the contrast between Dan’s rationality, Bain’s nonstop optimism, and the fact that everyone else in the film is literally batshit insane.  The final siege is a masterpiece of suspense and Palance, van Lidth, and especially Martin Landau are memorably frightening in their menacing roles.” Through the Shattered Lens

“It would seem as if Sholder was trying to avoid the standard conventions of other slasher films by concentrating more on the killers’ joint psyche while imitating moments from other movies and steering away from long, tedious stalking sequences. On the whole Alone In the Dark succeeds in creating a good diversion from the usual garb…” Vegan Voorhees

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“… an above average entry in the already crowded maniacs-on-the-loose sub-genre, thanks to its tight, crisp look, imaginative use of sound, excellent playing by its veteran cast, and a nice line in humour.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror 

“What could’ve been a misfire actually rises above its occasional silliness and the odd chaotic scene to be a competently made effort that has enough decent twists and a name cast to carry it. There’s a good (if out of place) opening, a Friday the 13th in-joke, a nice throat-ripping with a garden tool and a cool scene involving a baseball bat and cleaver.” The Video Graveyard


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Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

Jack Palance … Frank Hawkes
Donald Pleasence … Doctor Leo Bain
Martin Landau … Byron ‘Preacher’ Sutcliff
Dwight Schultz … Doctor Dan Potter
Erland van Lidth … Ronald ‘Fatty’ Elster
Deborah Hedwall … Nell Potter
Lee Taylor-Allan … Toni Potter
Phillip Clark … Tom Smith / Skaggs
Elizabeth Ward … Lyla Potter
Brent Jennings … Ray Curtis
Gordon Watkins … Detective Burnett
Carol Levy … Bunky
Keith Reddin … Billy
Annie Korzen … Marissa Hall
Lin Shaye … Receptionist at Haven
Dorothy Dorian James … Mom
John Weissman … Bicycle Messenger
Jana Schneider … Spaced-out Girl at Club
Robert Pastner … Customer in Diner
Larry Pine … Doctor Harry Merton
Frederick Coffin … Jim Gable
Mallory Millett … Anchorwoman (as Mallory Jones)
Laura Esterman … Woman Voyager
Michael Earl Reid … Cursing Voyager (as Earl Michael Reid)
Paula Raflo … Voyager
Steve Dash … Doctor Barkin (as Steven Daskawisz)
Michael Medeiros … Club Manager (as Michael Medieros)
E.D. Phillips … Jailer
Norman Beim … Cop at Haven
Ken Burns … Cop at House
Ralph Corrado Jr. … Looter
The Sic F*cks … Rock band

Filming locations:

Englewood, Hillsdale, Newark and Ridgewood, New Jersey

Technical details:

92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby

Trailer: