Alone in the Dark (1982)

   
Written & Directed by: Jack Sholder

Written by:
Jack Sholder, Robert Shaye & Michael Harrpster

Starring:


.... Dr. Dan Potter
Martin Landau
.... Byron 'Preacher' Sutcliff
Jack Palance .... Frank Hawkes
Donald Pleasence .... Dr. Leo Bain
Deborah Hedwall .... Nell Potter
Lee Taylor-Allan .... Toni Potter
Elizabeth Ward .... Lyla Potter
Erland van Lidth .... Ronald 'Fatty' Elster
Phillip Clark .... Tom Smith / Skaggs

Special Appearances:

Brent Jennings .... Ray Curtis
Annie Korzen .... Marissa Hall
Lin Shaye .... Receptionist at Haven
Larry Pine .... Dr. Harry Merton
Frederick Coffin .... Jim Gable

Release Date: Theatrical: November 12, 1982

 

 

 

Rating:

  

 

A new employee at an asylum Dr. Dan Potter (Dwight Schultz) is being terrorised at his home after a power outage by a group of psychopaths that managed to escape.

 

The beginning looked mildly entertaining as well as perfectly twisted in which there's nice camera shots on a diner in a snowy evening as well as footsteps of Byron 'Preacher' Sutcliff walking towards the diner making this moment look mysterious as to who this person is as well as him coming into the diner and some people stare at him along with the madness that is going on and him being sacrificed as I had a feeling that this person was having a bad nightmare by how this was all set out. It for sure leaves a nice beginning for a mysterious horror flick.
Then when the story is rolling there's the new employee of the asylum Dr. Dan Potter being shown around the place with some strange comments coming from the people that work there which also seemed a little twisted and making me wonder if these people are sane themselves. It seemed to work quite well into the story though. Also we see the patients with them acting strange which was well drawn into the story.
Great dark moments with some of the patients in their bed discussing on escaping and what they plan to do which looked good and strongly used into the story. Seemed necessary to have this while watching on what goes on there.
I enjoyed the confrontation on one of the nearly sane patient whom is Frank Hawkes telling Dan that they're not crazy they're just on vacation which stood out well into my mind and perfectly written into the film I must say along with him explaining as to why they're there which isn't pretty as to what damage they've all done.
Things get perfectly eerie when the whole city goes out with their power as well as some of the patients cornering one of the staff there along with a nice intimidating shot on Ronald 'Fatty' Elster cornering this employee which had a great horror feel to everything and gave me a sinking feeling that he will be done in a great deal.
Impressive moments on the chaotic moments on people breaking into a strip mall circuit during the power outage as well as the mental patients coming in to steal weapons to do their nasty deeds along with a nice shot on one of the locals stealing a hockey mask and wearing it as well as to what he does to someone else. Almost pays a tribute to the Friday the 13th legacy.
Almost cringing moment when Dan's child Lyla comes home and Ronald approaches her in a creepy type of fashion making out that he's her babysitter as you wonder if he will molest or hurt her in which I had a feeling something disturbing could happen here.
Then the actual babysitter comes and brings her boyfriend to do a romp in a bedroom as while we spot this we get a feeling that these two will be done in since it's common for slasher film to not let these two live. Also things look suspenseful when someone underneath the bed grabs the guy's leg and drags him in which looked clever as we all had a childhood fear of something underneath our bed doing this as well as some creepy moments on a knife constantly being stabbed through the bed with the girl on it and she tries to dodge this which is another attention grabber wondering if she will manage to escape.
Nice moment when a detective tries to go outside after hearing a sound to make sure that the family is okay as this leaves a sinking feeling that he will be killed with nice night shots on the wooded area and him on the porch.
There's another situation when one of the family members whom is Toni and walks carefully towards a window as this left me a chill thinking that something is about to happen and a zombie moment occurs which looked pretty twisted as I wondered why this happened but of course the story explains itself right away. The moments on this looked fairly well done.
We spot our own Dr. Leo Bain coming to the home with the family calling to him from the window to go back to his vehicle but this person isn't taking them seriously which shows that some people make stupid choices in a slasher flick.
Nice powerful moments when some of these patients come in to attack the family but they struggle to fight back as the killings looked fairly powerful and well energised.
Also there's a moment with the supposed hero Tom Smith who tries to help the family going berserk as I couldn't understand as to why he turned so suddenly. But there's neat close up shots on him tasting some blood which looked perfectly twisted and well put into the story.
Great confrontation between Frank pointing a weapon towards Don as you wonder if he will actually kill him and his family which is a total peer pressuring moment watching on this whole outcome.
Bottom line is that the film is quite slow and uninspired but it's rather interesting by watching some lunatics getting together to create chaos during a power outage. Some of the moments looked quite confusing and unexplainable as to why they're happening too. Oh well.

The acting is well performed in which (Dr. Dan Potter) offers a great seriousness as a new employee at the asylum in which he shows a decent concentration by what he was doing as well as doing well with his family man type of behavior too. He shows some good energy when the suspense piles up as well as showing off an okay anxious attitude. Plus does well with his agressions whenever necessary.
Martin Landau (Byron 'Preacher' Sutcliff) portrayed the perfect maniac in this flick as he had the perfect creepy crazed looks and knew how to show demented expressions along with his crazy laughter as well as his intimidating attitude which was another great plus to add to his characteristics in which he delivered marvellously. He was for sure a worthy character actor as well as doing well with his menacing attitude. Probably the best out of the cast.
Jack Palance (Frank Hawkes) stood out greatly as the most level headed mental patient in which he has a nice cold speaking in his voice and sounding perfectly gruff too. Seemed to act clever when he needed to be as well as knowing how to act mysterious by what he is talking about. Shows a good tough attitude too.
Donald Pleasence (Dr. Leo Bain
) stood out as the most effective supporting role in which he adds a strangeness to his behavior as a counsellor at the asylum as he knew how to come across as someone who just doesn't seem right in the head. Does well with his light headed attitude too along with his friendliness. Seemed to do the trick within whatever he did proving that he can play other roles in horror flicks than just serious one's.
Deborah Hedwall (Nell Potter) had the perfect healthy looks as the family woman in the film and delivered her lines nicely in which she did a convincing job within everything that she did here. She was entertaining and showed a nice loving type of behavior too. Also does well trying to hold it together when things are out of hand.
Lee Taylor-Allan (Toni Potter) definetely had a great drive of adrenaline with her paranoid attitude in which she does the trick on what happened in her past life and showing that it's happening to her again. Knew on how to freak out almost losing control as well as doing a perfect job getting scared on stuff. She seemed to study this role fairly well.
Elizabeth Ward (Lyla Potter) knew on how to act like a smart alecky little girl as she showed off a ton of spunk into what she did and was well energised. Plus acted full of life whenever she needed to be this way. I found that she really got a hold of this part and was convincing within everything that she did here.
Erland van Lidth (Ronald 'Fatty' Elster) stood out marvellously with his hulking big guy features and expressionless attitude. He knew on how to come across as creepy and intimidating within whatever he did here. Shows off a great approach to someone else and giving the other person the chills in which he strutted his stuff well by behaving this way. He for sure knew on how to act menacing and powerful. Also does well with his creepy and slow speaking.
Phillip Clark (Tom Smith / Skaggs) showed off a good hearted attitude in which he brought this to life as someone whom likes to help others as well as having a tough guy type of appeal which comes across nicely. He shows a great versatality later on losing control and going crazy. Both of these personalities come off nicely.

During a makeout scene in a bed a teenage girls shirt is pulled up with her breasts briefly revealed

Chunks of blood is revealed on a garden tool
Arrow is bloodily shot through a chest
Meatcleaver is stabbed in someone's back
Bloody stabbing is revealed

The music really worked in terrifically for the dark horror plot as it was dark sounding itself. Renato Serio focused really well on what he did having the classical sounds along with other types of music blending in having a deep edge to it and making it sound terrifically spooky especially during the scene when the main mental poatients do something terrible to get themselves out of the asylum. Also there's ghostly sounds during a certain moment when someone hallucinates as this stood out nicely. Plus there's the odd chiming sounds here and there too. A nice closing credits with a mellow synthesizer playing along with the chimes blending in. Yes folks it sounds very 80's low budget horror and a nice pat on the pat to this fellow.

Frank Hawkes: Preacher likes to set fire to churches, that's his trip. Unfortunately he does it when there are people inside.

Frank Hawkes: There are no crazy people, doctor, we're all just on vacation.

Bicycle Messenger: What are you, some kind of asshole?

Dr. Leo Bain: Thou shall not kill, Byron.
Byron 'Preacher' Sutcliffe: Vengeance is mine, says the Lord!