Alone In The Dark

Irresistibly unhinged legends MARTIN LANDAU, JACK PALANCE and DONALD PLEASENCE all sharing the same screen? The lone voice of reason portrayed by THE A TEAM’s “Mad Dog Murdock” DWIGHT SHULTZ? A cameo by LIN SHAYE (DEAD END, 2001 MANIACS)? Really, what have any of us done to deserve such a movie as ALONE IN THE DARK? The early work of director JACK SHOLDER would have one assuming that he was well on his way to becoming a big name in horror. He directed NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, THE HIDDEN and even edited the legendary THE BURNING. His talent is most clearly on display here though, ALONE which he co-wrote with LIN‘s producer bro ROBERT SHAYE, is intelligent, tense and truly original. Actually that may have been its downfall. Like the same year’s equally ignored and groundbreaking THE SENDER, ALONE takes a stubbornly psychological approach and goes out of its way to work against the slasher mold that had such a firm grip on movie goers at that time. On the surface it’s business as usual; escaped lunatics terrorizing a home complete with the standard nubile babysitter, but the difference is these madmen are presented as uncomfortably human and the line that distinguishes them from their prey is smudged whenever possible. Interestingly, the idea of using a disguise to hide behind is played with momentarily in a prophetic scene involving a hockey mask. (ALONE and FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3 which introduced the iconic mask were filmed around the same time and released only a couple months apart so best to chalk it up to the collective unconscious rather than pilfering or tribute). All this humanizing of the psychos may be fun today, but in 1982 it wasn’t really what audiences were looking for. ALONE wisely threads black humor into the mix to keep it from getting too heavy and make no mistake, it never flinches when it comes to the gore. Still, viewers made it known they preferred their monsters shadowy and enigmatic, thank you very much. Regardless of its initial reception we’re talking classic here folks, one that holds up better then most of it’s more successful contemporaries.indelible scenes

  • Opening diner dream sequence includes PLEASENCE looking right at home brandishing a cleaver
  • The loons run over a mailman
  • Bunky (CAROL LEVY) is menaced by a knife blade that appears through the mattress and strangely recalls the shark fin from JAWS
  • SIC F*CKS perform “Chop Up Your Mother” at a joint called “Stumps”
  • Sis goes to the crazy side and hallucinates a corpse out of the blue
  • The brilliant reveal of “The Bleeder”
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15 years ago

man that one is so Rad! really underrated I like the ending when Jack Palance pulls a gun in the punk club at the end.

13 years ago

“It’s not just us crazy ones who kill. We all kill when we must, and we all die when it’s time!” Awesome Palance quote. And Landau’s maniacal laugh, whooot!