Friday, 12 April 2013

Horror Review: Alone In The Dark (1982)

A quartet of murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital during a power blackout and lay siege to their doctor's house.

First of all don't be mistaken, this isn't the AWFUL Uwe Boll film of the same name nor does it have anything to do with it. The only connection is they have the same name but this one is much, much better.

"Alone In The Dark" marked many firsts, it was the first feature film produced by distributor New Line Cinema, it was the first film directed by Jack Sholder and it was one of the first horror films to be made with Dolby Stereo sound. Infact the advanced sound level would often blow out the speaker systems in older theatres whilst the movie was being screened.

Talking of Director Jack Sholder, he does an absolutely  amazing job bringing the story to life (he also helped write the scrtipt) and shows us why he went on to be picked to carry on the "Elm Street" franchise.

The film boasts an amazing cast with the likes of Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Dwight Schultz. As much as I love Donald Pleasance I have to say that Jack Palance is my favourite in this film, he plays the insane character so well and manages to gives you the creeps throughout the film.

The film has some very daring and eerie moments, especially when the child victimizer shows up at the home but I won't ruin it for you. It was moments like these that saw the film get banned in the UK for quite a while.

"Alone In The Dark" is a fantastic 80's Horror and too often gets overlooked. If you enjoy your killer thrillers then make sure you find the time to watch this.

If you want to see the "Alone In The Dark" trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

While writing the screenplay for Alone in the Dark, Jack Sholder was inspired by the writings of R.D. Laing, who theorized that 'psychotics' were actually people having difficulty adapting to an already psychotic world. The character of Dr. Leo Bain was suppose to be something of a parody of Lang.

Jack Sholder's original idea for the film was to have the story be about mental patients escaping during a blackout in NYC and the mafia being used to stop them. Due to the low budget it was re-envisioned to take place on a smaller scale outside of New York.

The house that was used for Dr. Potters home in the film actually did belong to a psychiatrist.

It was producer Robert Shaye that actually came up with the idea of the character of 'The Bleeder'. Shaye liked the idea of a crazed murderer who always hid his face and was revealed later in the film.

Makeup effects artist Tom Savini was brought in specifically to create the horrific monster apparition that Toni has. Savini achieved the startling effect by covering an actor in a concoction of soap and rice krispies.

In the script Jack Palance's character was suppose to kill the driver outside the Haven. However Palance refused to do the scene saying it wasn't necessary for him to be seen killing someone for the audience to know that he was a dangerous character. The scene was never shot.

Matthew Broderick was auditioned for the role of Bunky's boyfriend, however Jack Sholder thought Broderick was too talented for the small part.

In the original script the punk band that Toni drags Dan and Nell to see was named Nicky Nothing and the Hives. When The Sick Fucks, an actual punk group, landed the gig as the punk band for the film their real name was liked so much that they kept it for the film.

The scene where Ronald Elster grabs Bunky by the throat and lifts her off the floor was done without any special effect. 'Erland Van Lidth' (Elster) was an incredible weight lifter and actually seized Carol Levy by the neck and lifted her for the shot.

The first scene at Stumps with The Sick Fucks performing was shot silently without the music. The band and audience had to mimic their performances during the filming and the song 'Chop Up Your Mother' had to be dubbed in later on.

There was a cut scene where members of The Sick Fucks were arrested during the blackout by Det. Burnett.

One of the members of The Sick Fucks ran into star Jack Palance years later in the streets of New York. He said to Palance that he was one of The Sick Fucks in the film and Palance replied 'we were all sick fucks in that movie'.

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