If you grew up in the 80's chances are you've seen The Midnight Hour at least once in your lifetime. You may not remember a whole Hell of a lot about it, but once you start watching it snippets here and there will begin to seem familiar. It might be the cast filled with the current young TV faces of the time (including LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Peter DeLuise who'd go on to 21 Jump Street, and Shari Belafonte-Harper), the scene where all the corpses in the graveyard rise from the dead amidst big explosions, or Belafonte-Harper's obvious Thriller inspired song and dance number to the catchy tune "Get Dead", but you'll probably remember seeing it.
Made back in a time when television networks weren't afraid to crank out handfuls of "movie of the week" titles per month, The Midnight Hour is a campy, semi-horror flick that ABC aired Halloween night. The story was simple, the direction by TV veteran Jack Bender (who continues to work in the medium to this very day and also directed the mediocre Child's Play 3) steady, and the cast seemed to be having fun with it.
It's All Hallows Eve in the small town of Pitchford Cove and in order to make a good impression at the yearly Halloween party, a group of friends decide to break into the town's witchcraft museum in order to steal the costumes from the wax figures of two local legends: one a witch hunter names Grenville, the other a witch (and Belafonte-Harper's great great grandmother) named Lucinda. The teens not only steal the costumes but they also find Grenville's ring and a mysterious sealed scroll inside a trunk.
Not being one's to heed warning to such things, and wanting to have some fun on the "spookiest" night of the year, they head-off to the local cemetery and read out the scroll's incantation little knowing that it's not only going to bring the dead back to life as zombies, but also resurrect Lucinda (Jonelle Allen).
From there it's all sorts of goofing around, and a few mild thrills, as the resurrected creatures proceed to cause havoc all over town. We get to see flesh-eaters (including Mark Blankfield in an amusing role as a comic relief zombie who crashes the party), a vampire witch, werewolves, and a "boy meets girl" subplot as our geeky non-hero Phil (Lee Montgomery) finds himself falling for a cheerleader (Jonna Lee) who's stuck in the 50's (and happens to be one of the people brought back to life).
If you don't take this at all seriously and see it for the lightweight and harmless TV movie it is, you should have fun with The Midnight Hour. It's goofy, you'll get a chance to see someone remove the ring from a pissed-off zombie with maple syrup, and the make-up effects (by Jeff Dawn and Rick Stratton) are way better than you'd expect from this type of thing. (Chris Hartley, 1/17/06)
Directed By: Jack Bender.
Written By: Bill Bleich.
Starring: Lee Montgomery, Shari Belafonte-Harper, Jonna Lee, LeVar Burton.