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Alone in the Dark

3.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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!

Special Features

  • 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

Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Dwight Schultz, Erland van Lidth
  • Directors: Jack Sholder
  • Writers: Jack Sholder, Robert Shaye, Michael Harrpster
  • Producers: Benni Korzen, Robert Shaye, Sara Risher
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A59Q2I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Alone in the Dark" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stanley Runk VINE VOICE on January 6, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What can be scarier than being stuck Alone In The Dark with Martin Landau and Jack Palance? This film attempts to answer that question and does a fine job. I'm a huge nut for any B horror picture, and it's nice sometimes to actually see some real star power in them. Granted, Landau and Palance weren't at the highest point in their careers when they did this. The film has Dwight Schultz, who you may remember as Murdock in the A-Team, as a new therapist at an asylum run by Psychiatrist, Donald Pleasance(who smokes pot in his office). "The men on the 3rd floor" are the extremely dangerous lunatics who decide to kill Murdock coz they believe he has murdered their former therapist. There are 4 central killers-First is Marin Landau as "Preacher", a bible quoting psycho. He's fantastic in this part. Palance is the paranoid Vietnam vet named Hawkes, who is basically the ringleader. He doesn't have alot of lines, but since it's Jack Palance, he's wonderfully creepy and convincing. The third is played by Erland van Lidth as a child molester who is childlike himself. You may remember Erland as the opera singing Roman Stalker in The Running Man("Cut! Cut! Go to commercial!!"). The fourth is rarely seen and this makes him interesting. Since his face is always off camera, a name actor isn't necessary. He's called The Bleeder, and comes off as the most dangerous of the 4 coz he doesn't speak and at one point pre-dates Jason Voorhees by wearing a hockey mask. Donald Pleasance is awfully nutty and funny in his role of the doctor. In fact, you start to wonder if he's actually a mental patient himself. Schultz is decent as the straight man, a far cry from his Murdock character. This film starts and builds up wonderfully.Read more ›
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Not to be confused with the 2005 Uwe Boll film of the same name (of which I haven't seen yet, but heard nothing but bad things about), Alone in the Dark (1982) is a wonderful little nugget of cinematic nastiness that came out in the early 80s, unfairly lost in a morass of mediocre slasher films that were so very popular at the time. While it does have many of the trappings of movies within that genre, escaped psychopaths, sharp implements of death, a big, old house, a family in terror, it doesn't really fit within the genre as it has some things a lot of those films didn't, like an interesting story, strong script, and a talented and experienced cast. Co-written and directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, The Hidden), the film features Jack Palance and Martin Landau, both of whom would later to go on to win Academy Awards for their roles in the films City Slickers (1991) and Ed Wood (1994), respectively. Also appearing is Donald Pleasence (Halloween, Escape from New York), Dwight `"Howling Mad" Murdock' Schultz ("The A-Team", Fat Man and Little Boy), accomplish opera performer Erland van Lidth (Stir Crazy, The Running Man), Deborah Hedwall ("As the World Turns"), Lee Taylor-Allan (Stargate), Phillip Clark ("Another World"), Brent Jennings (Witness, Red Heat), and Carol Levy (The Princess and the Call Girl), as Bunky, the ill fated babysitter with the nice rack.

After an entirely bizarre sequence that would make any male viewer cringe, we see Dr. Dan Potter (Schultz) arriving at a nut farm known as `The Haven'. Apparently it's his first day, and he and his family have just recently re-located within the area so that Dan could accept the position. Run by an oddball named Dr.
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In the few years preceding 1982, the slasher movie craze made these movies so commonplace and in some cases cookie cutter that by the tail end of the era, the form had gotten a little stale. Therefore, you saw a few '82 entries in the genre that attempted to alleviate the familiarity of the material with touches of humor and satire. Two relatively successful examples from that year included Amy Jones' "Slumber Party Massacre" along with Juan Piquer Simon's "Pieces."

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.
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