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on 18 June 2012
Alone in the Dark was a highly original and very underrated 80's slasher film, it also happens to have a great cast of actors in it. How they got Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Donald Plesance all in this film was just amazing and elevates this b-movie horror flick to a higher standard, watching these guys acting crazy was great and alot of fun. Therapist Dwight Schultz has just arrived at an experimental mental institution which is run by Dr. Leo Bain (Pleasance) who points out that the people here aren't patients just 'voyagers!.

Potter has been hired as a replacement for the previous doctor who the `voyagers' believe Potter has murdered but has actually moved to another job. It is their continuing delusion which finally manifests itself in a wish for revenge that makes them escape the institution during a power cut and hunt down Potter and terrorize his family. One of the things that makes Alone in the Dark so special is that the majority of the characters are well rounded and believable. From Donald Pleasance who parodies his Dr. Loomis character from Halloween, as a well meaning but decidedly off the wall psychiatrist who freely gives out matches to pyromaniacs and whose treatment methods range from telling the `voyagers' that he can mold or infiltrate their dreams.

Donald Pleasence was really over the top which is hilarious, then there's the other psycho inmates like Martin Landau who was outstanding as a maniacally cackling ex-minister Byron Sutcliffe who use to burn churches with people still in them and Jack Palance as Frank Hawkes an ex-prisoner of war along with two others including a creepy child molester and a huge guy who doesn't speak and wears different masks including a hockey mask. The film was great and had a ton of black humor in it with some nice jump-out-of-your-seat moments. Like I said the characters were nicely developed and memorable unlike other slasher flicks which had your typical dumb teenagers in them. There is also a great scene where a babysister almost gets stabbed by a knife underneath the bed, this scene had a lot of suspense and tension cause you didn't know what was gonna happen next and I'm not going to ruin it but you'll have to watch what happens.

Alone in the Dark was a highly amusing and great early 80's slasher flick with a great cast and also has a neat surprise ending and a cool scene where a killer is wearing a hockey mask (this was done before Friday The 13th part 3). The director Jack Sholder was also responsible for Nightmare on Elm Street part 2 so he knows his way around a good slasher flick, this somewhat forgotten slasher flick was fantastic and I highly recommend this to horror fans.
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OK. If you’re going to depend solely on electricity to keep the dangerous psychopaths from escaping your mental institute, you really need to have a wholly dependable backup system. Unfortunately, the Haven’s backup system fails when the power goes out, which allows the dangerous guys on the third floor to escape (along with everyone else in the institute). That is most unfortunate for Dr. Dan Potter (Dwight Schultz) because paranoid schizophrenic Frank Hawkes (Jack Palance) has convinced his buddies that Potter killed the previous doctor who was working with them. That includes Byron “Preacher” Sutcliff (Martin Landau), who likes to cry out about the Lord’s vengeance while setting fires; Ronald “Fatty” Elster, a serial child molester; and “The Bleeder,” who has the embarrassing habit of suffering nosebleeds while he’s committing murder and chooses never to show his face if at all possible. Dr. Potter does have one guy in his corner, Dr. Leo Bain (Donald Pleasance) – but this version of Donald Pleasance actually thinks he can simply reason with the criminally insane. Ultimately, it’s Dr. Potter’s whole family that finds itself “alone in the dark” with four unpredictable, psychopathic killers trying to get in the house. That includes his wife, young daughter, and sister (who – wouldn’t you just know it – has a lifelong fear of the dark).

Few horror thrillers can boast of such a stellar cast as that of Alone in the Dark. Martin Landau, Jack Palance, and Donald Pleasance have a presence that none of today’s actors can even begin to match. Schulz was pretty much a lightweight compared to the three big names in this film, but he acquitted himself quite well. Palance and Landau steal the show, though – as you would expect. As for the storyline, it isn’t all that original overall, but I have to give major props to the writers for introducing one major plot twist I didn’t see coming. I didn’t fine the film scary at all, but there are some uneasy moments involving Potter’s little girl and one jump-scare that is pretty effective.

I would highly recommend this film to fans of horror and suspense. Just look at the cast list, for crying out loud. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Jack Palance and Martin Landau get in touch with their psychotic sides?
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on 28 May 2012
I know this was made in the slasher boom, stars Donald Pleasance and has a 10 minute or so sequence where a babysitter is stalked, not to mention a scene with a killer in a hockey mask (before Jason wore one), but I really don't think this is a slasher film.

It's a really smart thriller, taking elements of Straw Dogs, Jurassic Park (though of course this predates the book and film) and One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest and putting them together in a very original package. The smartest thing the film does really is to function, on the surface level, as a pretty good thriller with little to no thought required, but if you wish to look at what's going on around the plot, the film has a lot more to offer. The film's preoccupation is mostly with the idea of sanity and the division between the mental patients ("voyagers") and the "normals". I don't really want to dissect the film now I've planted those seeds (some people have indeed missed this whole part of the film), but will point you to dialogue where one doctor says of another doctor "He's out of his mind!", or the scenes of drug-use (people wishing to escape a normal state of mind with illicit medication), delusions/hallucinations brought on by fear, or people enjoying insanity in a recreational context (the punk band's excellent song, Chop Up Your Mother). It is a film interested in why we like and applaud those who do not respect the rules of society in one context, but are terrified by them in others. The ending and an early scene with Dwight Schultz (once "Howlin' Mad Murdoch", now quite sane) in the mental hospital are especially telling.

Acting by Schultz, Martin Landau, Jack Palance and the fat opera singer from The Running Man is all pretty good, and Donald Pleasance does alright as the anti-Sam Loomis.
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on 15 June 2016
I remember my dad hiring this film out on video back in 1983 when we had our first ever vcr (rented from D-E-R) and it & a few others stuck in my memory ever since.
This is a good movie the type of horror /thriller you don't get these days.
I'm not sure if this film was among the video nasties list of banned movies pre video classification (1984) but it's been a long time since I watched this on vhs.
I don't know if this Spanish version which has English soundtrack is the full uncut version (maybe another customer can advise on that)
I like this movie & with a strong cast I definitely recommend it☺
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on 19 September 2011
Alone In The Dark is one of the most polished of the golden era slasher movies and one of the first films produced by New Line. Its Writer/director Jack Sholder was the editor of the slasher classic The Burning, directed the great, but much maligned, Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2 and the brilliant The Hidden (1987).

The story is a very good variation on a well worn slasher theme. Four psychotics escape during a power cut to terrorise the family of their new psychiatrist, because they believe he has murdered and replaced their favourite doctor.
The cast is strong and the acting is, as a result, way above average. Two of the psychos are played by Jack Palance and Martin Landau. Donald Pleasence is great value as the very progressive head of the institution; an enthusiastic toker who refers to his patients as Voyagers and sits crossed legged on the floor. Doctor Sam Loomis he ain't. Dwight "Murdock" Schultz is also excellent as the jittery, beleaguered, new psychiatrist.
Interestingly, another of the film's escapees, who is known as "The Bleeder", because his nose bleeds when his murderous urges surface, is possibly the inspiration for Jason's move from sack-cloth hood to hockey mask. Alone in the Dark was completed before Friday the 13Th 3D. It has been convincingly argued that its most dangerous psychopath's use of a hokey mask to hide his identity influenced look of Jason in the later film. He was also almost certainly the inspiration for the killer reveal in Valentine. As was common in the era Alone in The Dark boasts one one of those great slasher live band moments. This time by, the more punk than new wave, The Sick Very-Rude-Word-That-Can't-Be-Used-At-Amazon.

Alone in the Dark mixes black comedy, paranoid fantasy and psychological horror, as well as slasher thrills. It has very high production values and is a very good example of the diversity of a horror sub-genre that is sometimes misrepresented as being all screaming teens and unstoppable killing machines.

The picture quality of the DVD is top notch and in wideescreen. Extras include an audio commentary by Jack Sholder, an interview with Carol Levy and another with New York punkers The Sick Very-Rude -Word-etcetera.
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on 20 June 2013
Alone In The Dark seemed to just come and go on video back in the eighties but it is well worth another look. It has got a great cast and is a lot better than most of the slasher movies from that time. A group of serious psychos escape from the asylum and cause mayhem where ever they go but end up descending upon the home of one of their doctors. The doctor and his family barricade themselves in and prepare for a night they will never forget.
Lots of scares and one or two imaginative twists make this a fine movie.
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on 21 August 2015
This is A Cracking Old School Horror Psycho Flick and What A Cast!.This Should rightly be a Cult Film and drips with Atmosphere and Menace.It has an Excellent Twist ending,but I must say I did see it coming but this spoiled none of My Enjoyment.
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on 6 February 2016
Alone in the Dark was director Jack Sholder's first ever movie and what a way to start your career. The movie echoes what was popular at the time in the horror genre with the slasher film. But it is much more than just that. The cast includes Donald Pleasence as a doctor at an asylum who has some alternative methods to treat his patients. Martin Landau and Jack Palance are amongst the patients who are convinced that their new doctor has killed their old one and now they must escape and kill the new doctor and his family. Doctor is played by Dwight Schultz, yes that is Howling Mad Murdoch who would go on to star in The A Team.

As expected the acting is very good, and the movie has a great free flowing feel to it filled with interesting characters. This was back when horror movies would invest in character arcs and it pays off here with a very good crafted horror film. This Region 1 is the only way to go, comes with stacks of extras and a small but informative booklet guide on the movie, picture is sharp too.
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on 30 July 2015
Donald Pleasance, the psychiartic doctor, deluded and disorietanted. Patients Martin Landu, Jack Palance, create suffering, misery and emotional truma to whom they encounter. Not a brillant horror film but fine to watch.
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on 9 August 2008
Great idea-a mental asylum holding it's most dangerous inmates behind an electric security system-and then one night-POWERCUT!-Great cast-Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Donald Pleasence- Expected a lot from this movie & was really disappointed after watching it-I love horror movies but this was really nothing special despite other reviews.
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