A midnight showing of an early 1970’s horror movie turns to chaos when the Killer from the movie comes out of the film to attack those in the theater
Midnight Movie comes to us in a brand new version. This one under the subtitle of “Killer cut”. I remember seeing and reviewing this film when it first arrived and really liked it then. Though enough time has passed between viewing that I can re-watch it with a fresh set of eyes and any former notion for comparison gone. With that said, Midnight Movie is definitely worth your time.
This new version has been announced as containing never before scenes, enhanced visual fx and an extended running time. The disk itself contains a number of extras which we’ve list below.
The premise of the film begins with one Ted Radford (Arthur Roberts) who has been locked up for quite some time. His affinity with his self directed film is more than just an admiration of work. In fact, this very film seems to give him supernatural powers, an urge to kill and a identity that is masked per his transformation into a savage skull-wearing-mask-killer that murders his victims with an odd handmade corkscrew knife. The device simply is thrust into his victims while pulling out their innards. The killer of this film doesn’t take on any specific character name (as we might expect), though the director’s last name of Radford seems to be plenty sufficient
The setting is a low rent movie theatre which plays cheap cult films to small audiences. In this case, it’s Radford’s black and white 1970 release of “The Dark Beneath” that brings him and his voodoo out of hiding. The viewing audience is expecting a cheap old horror movie but is surprised when they begin to see a few familiar faces showing up on the screen. When they realize that the film is somehow directly in tune with their own reality, they begin to panic knowing that the killer is in their midst as well. The “film within the film” plays out in a unique perspective that displays an old film inter cut with the POV of the killer. This pov signals that he is in their reality and somehow able to mix the 2 into a parallel universe of sorts. Deaths appear on screen in black and white and they play out in real time. Screen character begins to interweave with the present and the killer is enabled with supernatural powers which allow him to phase in and out of the theatre.
Brutal kills are combined with a old school horror charm that signifies an era of plot-lines not seen in quite a while. The killer Ted Radford, is comparable to “Horace Pinker” from “Shocker” and a touch of Freddy Krueger simply in his ability to alter reality to his own agenda.
The cast includes an ensemble team of new faces who in “Friday the 13th” style are simply bodies for slaughter as each is killed off one by one. Rebekah Brandes stars as the empowered female Bridget of the film who for some reason slightly reminds me of Taylor Swift. Brea Grant former “Heroes” star also has a supporting role as Rachael. There are some old school thrills thrown into a mix of visual fx that balance each other out nicely.
Director Jack Messitt has once again re-introduced a fine horror addition that deserves merit in the “best of 2008” releases. I hope to see more from this team in the future with hopefully even a follow up sequel. Radford is an original enough character to make a worthy welcome into potential future horror icons. but of course, only time will tell.
It’s rare to see a director go back and revamp an already released film nowadays. Though when the passion is there to really see a movie brought to the level that the director intended, you have to give him kudos for investing the extra effort. As noted before, the original release was fantastic, and this re-release is just that much more better. The film moves at a great pace, really offers a new scenario and hits all the marks that a horror fan could want.
• Audio commentary by Messitt (exclusive to “The Killer Cut”)
• “Destroying the Illusion”: extensive behind-the-scenes documentary (exclusive to “The Killer Cut”)
• Deleted scenes
• Cast featurette
• Crew featurette
• Pick-up day featurette
• VFX featurette
• Storyboard comparison