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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 September 2011
HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH and APRIL FOOL'S DAY; three great horror films all set on some of the scariest times of the year. Well, make way for MIDNIGHT - the scariest time of the day! But does the film live up to it's spooky title? Well, that depends on what you're looking for.

Directed by the writer of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD film, MIDNIGHT tells the story of a runaway named Nancy who ends up captured by a murderous Satanist cult, as you do. Imagine THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with Satanists instead of cannibals and you're in the right ball park. From the start, the film's low budget is pretty obvious - and this isn't helped by the picture quality of this release - but in a way, that adds to this film's dirty, beaten charm. With gore effects from the one and only Tom Savini there's a few scenes that gore hounds may be interested in.

Overall, this exploitation film has seemed to have slipped under the radar somewhat (which is surprising considering it's involvement in the notorious video nasty controversy of the '80s and it's cast and crew - Tom Savini, John Russo and John Amplas from Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD, MARTIN and CREEPSHOW). If you fancy some good ol' low budget, backwoods horror, then this film is for you.

The DVD comes with a very informative booklet, reversible artwork and a few nice extras including commentary and interviews.
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on 30 October 2011
I really wanted to hate this film...the quality of the production is so poor in parts that I started laughing. Midnight has lots of ideas and lots of characters; unfortunately it just tries to do too much with a low budget and generally low-quality acting resources.

And yet, despite its short-comings, I found the film thoroughly enjoyable and kept watching through to the end. As I watched I kept thinking of films like House of the Devil.

It seems to have been produced with a lot of love and fun, and whether it's just me or not I don't know, but I think that that definitely comes through.

Couldn't help but enjoy it.
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VINE VOICEon 26 March 2012
This DVD is released by Arrow Video which specialises in reissuing classic or cult horror movies in as complete a version as possible, remastered, and with lots of extras. All have double covers.

John Russo's place in horror movie history is secured by his co-writing the script for Night Of The Living Dead with George Romero, but that isn't all he's done. Apart from several novels or novelisations, he wrote the original script for Return Of The Living Dead which was then re-written as a comedy by other hands, and more.

As for the film itself, I can't honestly say that it's very good but it isn't very bad either and has several things going for it. Made at the time (and long before today's cheap technology) for the then small sum, by movie standards, of $71,000 it wears its cheapness on its sleeve by not very good acting, barely adequate editing, and relatively poor gore effects by another horror legend Tom Savini.

It opens with a family comprising mother and children who come across a teenage girl whose leg is caught in a trap. The mother then exhorts the eldest barely teenage boy to kill her which he does by beating her to death with a stick. Cut to a 17 year old girl being molested by her drunken cop stepfather who runs away and hitches a lift with two older boys, one black and one white. They never get out of the state. Stopping off at a small racist town for beer they get harrassed by the locals and a local cop. Shortly after that they get caught by a strange family and to say more would be to spoil it for you.

There are several good things about this film which work. There is some reasonable characterisation for a start, though this would have worked better with more capable actors, not that they are all poor by any means. One of them is the Hollywood veteran Laurence Tierney. The violence and gore effects,though not quite tame by today's standards, aren't all that convincing. The sheer brutality and the delight in terrorising and murdering by the villains most certainly is and is quite grueling at times. There are also a few unexpected twists. All this make it a DVD worth hanging on to and watching again.

As for the DVD itself, it automatically plays, against a loud intrumental guitar-led rock track, a series of incredibly gory snippets from the various movies Arrow Video have released. This is quite intense, especially if you aren't prepared for it. I can say that as someone who's watched Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 without wincing (well, not much anyway). There's a booklet of all their films, a poster of the cover of Midnight with thumbnail images of their movies on the reverse. Plus a short illustrated booklet written by the excellent Stephen Thrower about the movie. On the disc itself is a good selection of trailers, but more importantly there are long and candid interviews with John Amplas (star of Romero's cult vampire movie Martin) and with John Russo himself which are well worth watching.

Three stars for the movie, four for the package.
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on 23 January 2012
John A Russo made his name by writing the screenplay for George A Romero's seminal Night of the Living Dead. Little over a decade later, and he decided to adapt one of his own subsequent novels. The result was the very low budgeted Midnight. It opens with a group of kids being egged on by their mother as they chase a terrified girl through a corn field. They corner her and bludgeon her into submission, believing she is a demon. Once they have dragged her comatose body back to their farm, they gather round her sleeping frame as the family's daughter Cynthia (Robin Walsh) is offering a midnight sacrifice by stabbing the girl, we then find out that it's a satanic cult. The story then shows us a teenage girl named Nancy who's feeling self doubt about herself and her faith in the Roman Catholicism. One day her creepy drunk stepfather (Lawrence Tierney) gets a little friendly with her. That was the final straw and she finally hits him over the head with a radio and runs away from home. On the road, after a nasty encounter with a driver, she hitches a ride with two college kids driving back to school in Florida. The trio travel the back roads of Pennsylvania until they run across a very twisted and murderous family. Can the three kids make to Florida? Will Nancy's faith be put to the test?

Probably Russo's only noteworthy directorial job, Midnight borrows liberally from both Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, with a dash of Last House on the Left. That doesn't make this film a rip-off, though. The performances aren't too bad, the lead actress as the teenage runaway reminds me of a taller, more masculine Jodie Foster. Although Lawrence Tierney underacts his part as the abusive-turned-good-guy drunk stepfather. This is one of those movies you don't hear about as much as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes, and that's too bad, because I found this regrettably unknown little horror film from John Russo to be quite entertaining and seriously creepy. Yes, it's very, very low budget - the sound, camerawork, and acting/dialogue are all very sloppy and unpolished, but bear with it. The film takes a little while to start up, but once it does, if you're a true horror fan it will definitely hold your attention. The film's low budget at times makes it seem so realistic that I felt a creepy feeling, it's hard to describe, there were also a couple of decent gore scenes courtesy of special fx wiz Tom Savini but nothing too memorable.

Even with his limited funds, you can definitely tell that John Russo was trying to make a good, creepy, hardcore horror movie, and he definitely succeeded. Midnight is presented uncensored in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This is so close to its apparent original 1.37:1 ratio that any cropping is unnoticeable. The film certainly looks to be correctly framed. Picture quality is soft and rather washed out in terms of colors. Now what makes this region 2 edition of the film better than the previous Lionsgate edition is the amount of special features. Extras begin with a 1-minute video introduction to the film from a game but slightly baffled-looking Amplas. He also turns up as the subject of the 31-minute documentary "Vampires, Rednecks and Zombies: The Fear Career of John Amplas". It's a reasonably well-produced interview with the actor. "Midnight At Your Door: The Shocking Sacrifices of John Russo" is 20 minutes of chat with the director, who speaks candidly about the film's imposed cuts and its time spent in post-production Hell. And finally, we get MIDNIGHT's original trailer. This is a long one, at 4 minutes in length. It was definitely worth checking out, I'm sure that 80's horror fans will love it.
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on 5 September 2011
About five years ago I had a copy of this film on VHS on the defunct Intervision label. I was really happy to find it as I had wanted to see the film for years. Later, an unfortunate problem with my VHS player resulted in the taped being chewed up and it was goodnight to Midnight...until now! I was so pleased when I saw that Arrow Films were planning a release of this excellent and extremely underrated horror, and snapped it up the first chance I got. The make up FX by Tom Savini are very good indeed. The film has a really grindhouse look to it: it was shot on 16mm on a budget of only $70,000 which makes it even more remarkable that it's as great as it does. The only thing I would've liked is a commentary by John Russo. However, it's still great to see a nice restored version finally on DVD, and I highly recommend picking this up. You won't be dissapointed if you're a horror fan.
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on 9 October 2011
This film was long overdue for release. It was previously only available on video
Back in the early 1990,s
It's a tad cheap but still worth adding to anyone's dvd collection.
I'd fully recommend this dvd.
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on 14 July 2013
Despite its flaws (yes, the acting could have been better, the dialogue sharpened up a bit) this is still a great slice of 80s horror trash.
The plot has been covered elsewhere, but i feel strongly enough about this relatively obscure little gem (one of the first i bought)that i felt i had to counter the one -star reviewer.
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on 20 May 2015
When a 17 year-old girl runs away from her abusive step-father she hitches a ride with 2 young men, however after steeling some groceries they hide out in he woods unaware that a family of murderous Satanists are close by.

Slow and strange backwoods horror. After a decent pre-credits sequence it takes a good further 45mins for the film to get going again, but when it does it actually is fairly good. The climactic final 5-10mins are quite exciting and the gore for what was a low budget is commendably good, here also the film moves a fair zip and ends in a strong and satisfying way. However there are real problems with the picture though, the acting is poor, most of the cast give what can only be said as stiff performances (Lawrence Tierney aside who is head & shoulders above everyone else), some of the writing and direction is ridiculous, when Nancy hits her father with the radio its a gentle tap but instantly he's out cold,its a laughable scene, also having a disgusting pervert who wanted to sleep with his step daughter as our saviour at the end seemed a little bit in bad taste. The other major issue here is the films pace, after the opening titles the pic never really gets out of 1st gear, until well after the halfway mark, the stilted acting & writing doesn't help, though as said things do get better, but by that time some will have given up. John Amplas (memorable in Martin, another Section 3 nasty title) plays one of the bad guys here, it isn't a great role but it was good to see someone recognisable and interesting.

Overall a disappointing horror pic but definitely not an unwatchable one, the film promises a lot with its story but because of a few problems only partially delivers.
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on 13 April 2015
Very very low budget horror from John Russo (NOTLD fame). I wouldn't say this was one I'd watch over again but worth a look for £3. Good extras - I didn't actually realise John Amplas (Martin - the vampire) was in this movie. Not sure how the cut of the film compare to the old Intervision video release but I would venture the picture quality is better :)
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on 8 April 2015
Don't hesistate in making this a part of your horror collection. The price is low and with that comes a hidden gem. Tom Savini himself did the make-up so you know it is good! If backwood hillbilly satanists are your thing, buy this! Well worth a watch and an invaluable part of my horror collection
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