Alone in the Dark
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At a secluded mental institution, Dr. Bain (Halloween#s Donald Pleasence) maintains order while electricity fuels the asylum's hi-tech security system that keeps the nearby neighborhoods safe from menaces like Frank Hawkes (Academy Award«-winner Jack Palance, City Slickers) and "Preacher" (Academy Award winner Martin Landau, Ed Wood). Meanwhile a new doctor, Dan Potter (The A-Team#s Dwight Schultz), arrives in town with his family, but the inmates don't take kindly to his presence and believe he has killed off their former therapist. Suddenly a power outage leaves the town in chaos...and now the maniacs are free to roam the streets and hunt down the man they believe has invaded their lives. With the area quickly descending into riots and chaos, the innocent few must fight for their lives when they#re left terrified, cornered and Alone in the Dark! One of the most memorable and terrifying cult horror films of the 1980s, this white-knuckle shocker from director Jack Sholder (The Hidden) features shocking special effects from Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th), delivering one seat-jumping scare after another along with a thick vein of sly, pitch-black humor. Turn off the lights and watch...if you dare!
- Audio Commentary with Director Jack Sholder
- New Video Interview with Director Jack Sholder
- New Video Interview with Actress Carol Levy
- New Video Interview with Underground NY Punk Favorites The Sic F*cks
- Theatrical Trailer
- Liner Notes by Fangoria's Michael Gingold
- Extensive Gallery containing Rare Artwork, Lobby Cards and more
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Another film that always comes to mind in this regard is "Alone in the Dark" and it is one of the best of the slasher spoofs while at the same time being a perfectly acceptable terror/suspense flick itself. It was an early release for New Line Cinema and the first film to feature the producing/directing team of Robert Shaye and Jack Sholder, respectively, who three years later would go on to make "Nightmare on Elm Street 2."
It concerns a power outage at a new age sanitarium that inadvertently releases four psychopaths, who proceed to lay siege to one of the new doctor's homes during the blackout, in something of an homage to Romero's "Night of the Living Dead."
"Alone in the Dark," though still a low budget film in most respects, had a slightly higher media profile and more prominent release than some movies of its ilk at the time, evidenced by the audience drawing potential of featuring Donald Pleasance ("Halloween") as the pot smoking, hippie-leaning head psychiatrist of the institution, and Jack Palance and Martin Landau as two of the crazies who escape.
As for the social commenary/satire element, this one in many ways is like a time capsule to the early '80s, as the inherent evil of nuclear power is explored as a possible factor in the power blackout. Also, the protagonists attend an all-out underground concert from a new wave punk band called the Sic F***s, who perform the touching "Chop Up Your Mother," and the teens and other dregs in their fanbase at the show are portrayed as appropriately drugged out and socially maladjusted.
I viewed this one on a worn out old VHS copy long ago in the early '90s and I must say that seeing it on DVD again almost 20 years later was in many ways like seeing it for the first time. Image Entertainment presents a pristine transfer that almost looks like it could have been shot yesterday save for a couple dated hairstyles, not to mention comprehensive liner notes from key horror genre authors, a still gallery and interviews with some key participants. My only qualm as in a lot of DVD reissues is that the revamped cover art is kind of bland. It's too bad they didn't include a reproduction of the superior original movie poster, such as Anchor Bay used to do.
All in all though, an excellent slasher thriller with some knowing social commentaries and a great cast to boot. Still holds its own almost 30 years later.
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