MIDNIGHT (1982) Reviews and Severin Films Blu-ray news

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Midnight – written and directed by John A. Russo – will be released on Blu-ray in the USA by Severin Films on September 28th 2021. Here’s their blurb:

“A decade after co-writing Night of the Living Dead, writer/director John Russo gathered members of George Romero’s Pittsburgh crews to film a new shocker fueled by equal parts grisly grindhouse jolts and ‘80s satanic panic.”

“Fleeing her pervy alcoholic stepfather (Lawrence Tierney of Reservoir Dogs infamy), a hitchhiking teen (Melanie Verlin) is abducted by a family of crazed homicidal rednecks for an ordeal of graphic butchery, shag carpet and devil worship. John Amplas (Martin) co-stars in this “greasy, grimy guilty pleasure” (DVD Talk) featuring gore effects by Tom Savini and executive produced by Sam Sherman (Dracula vs. Frankenstein) – released in some US markets as Backwoods Massacre and seized in the UK as a Section 3 ‘video nasty’ – now scanned in 4K from the negative of the long-rumoured uncut version with all-new Special Features.”

Interview with Writer / Director John Russo
Interview with Producer Samuel M. Sherman
Interview with Actor John Amplas
Interview with SFX Artist Tom Savini
More to-be-confirmed

Pre-order direct from Severin Films

Meanwhile, here is our previous coverage of Midnight:


‘Keep telling yourself – it’s only a nightmare!’

Midnight is a 1982 American horror film written and directed by Night of the Living Dead co-writer John A. Russo (My Uncle John is a Zombie; Santa Claws; Midnight 2; Heartstopper). Executive produced by Samuel M. Sherman. Re-released as The Backwoods Massacre.

The movie was shot on location in rural Pennsylvania for a mere $71,000 and stars Melanie Verlin who would also feature in George A. Romero‘s Monkey Shines as Nancy, and Martin lead actor John Amplas as Abrahan. The film was produced by Donald Redinger and features makeup effects by Tom Savini.


Nancy is alone on the road, hitchhiking to California, away from the clutches of her sleazy stepfather. She makes friends with a pair of petty crooks on a road trip, and things take a turn for the worse when they are killed by a pair of backwoods ‘cops’. Nancy is then in danger of being sacrificed to Satan himself by the wayward lawmen and their twisted siblings, in a psychotic attempt to resurrect their mother’s decomposed corpse…


‘The narrative is constantly shifting gears which makes the film pleasantly unpredictable: it begins as a dysfunctional family drama and touches upon religion, the corruption of innocence, and authoritative hypocrisy; then it becomes a coming-of-age road movie about the generation gap and racial bigotry, and eventually descends into a grimy rural horror story…’ 10k Bullets

‘The film successfully conjures up an atmosphere of dreary and sleazy desolation, but this isn’t enough to save such a stupid film from the trash compactor.’ The Celluloid Highway

“Russo’s definitely going for a gritty grindhouse vibe, aiming capitalizing on the Satanic panic of the ’70s and he succeeds to some degree with a disturbing pre-credit sequence and some low-budget scares and exploitation elements but overall the film is poorly executed; the acting is pretty limp.” McBastard’s Mausoleum

” …crass, junky, and deeply uninterested in appealing to any sort of human logic or moral compass—and that’s fine. It would perhaps be more fine with a more inventive, imaginative hand at the wheel, though, since Russo’s stodgy, lethargic direction renders the schlocky climax into a bit of a bore.” Oh, the Horror!

“There are lots to love about this movie, just the pure eeriness of it makes it an awesome horror film. What it lacks in acting and dialogue makes up for it with the creepy atmosphere and scary story. Looking at the film takes me back to the late ’70s and early ’80s. It has a great northeastern look…” Popretrorama

” …at Midnight’s heart are some fab photography and sound effects. The land itself creates a sense of unease that feels both predatory and nihilistically indifferent. Midnight might be disjointed, but if you fancy fun and a little food for thought, it’s certainly on the “kick back and relax” list.” Screen Jabber

” …this is a watered-down rendition of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with a massive lack of focus and without the scares […] How do you end a film that never quite started? Who’s the main protagonist again? Why are there so many subplots? This should be a simple movie and it goes on endless tangents.” Tales of Terror

” …when it turns to Satanism, it is not really a turn for the better, but it does make what these hillbillies are doing slightly more horrific than it normally would have been as it adds purpose. Midnight will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those looking for some low budget B horror films, this one will not disappoint.” The Telltale Mind

“Russo makes the most of the bleak settings and the redneck style works well, but the narrative is driven by overlong, hammy expositions rather than action. There’s also little insight into the psychosis of the killer family other than the corpse of the mother held at blame, sis taking control, and why their sacrifices are exclusively teenage girls.” Vegan Voorhees


midnight dvd

Buy DVD from Amazon.co.uk


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Cast and characters:

Melanie Verlin … Nancy Johnson (as Melanie Verliin)
Lawrence Tierney … Bert Johnson
John Hall … Tom
C. Anthony Jackson … Hank (as Charles Jackson)
Charles Jackson … Hank
Doris Hackney … Harriet Johnson
Bob Johnson … Reverend Carrington
Lachele Carl … Sandra Carrington (as LaChele Carl)
David Marchick … Cyrus
Greg Besnak … Luke
John Amplas … Abraham
Robin Walsh … Cynthia
Jackie Nicoll … Mama
Amy Brinton … Girl in Trap
Debra Smith … Young Cynthia
Daniel Costello … Young Abraham
Chris Riblett … Young Luke
Billy Green … Young Cyrus
Ellie Wyler … Gwen Davis
Maura Minteer … Sharon
Doug Mertz … Billy
Bud Mellot … Sheriff
Lucian White … Man in Car
Dan Kamerer … Gas Station Attendant
David McCollough … Man at Station
Jim Grippo … Slain Deputy
Louis J. Grippo … Slain Deputy (as Lou Grippo)

Technical details:

94 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1


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