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One Dark Night is an Often Overlooked Camp Classic [Retrospective]

One dark night

One Dark Night follows Julie, a young woman who desperately wants to join The Sisters. The Sisters is the coolest all-girl clique in school. The group is comprised of Carol, Leslie, and Kitty. But the group’s ringleader, Carol is a total creep who wants to punish Julie for dating her ex-boyfriend. So, rather than making things easy on Julie, Carol demands that the newest member of the group spend the night in a mausoleum before being granted admission. To make matters worse, while in the mausoleum, Julie is first tormented by the sophomoric antics of The Sisters (who sneak in and try to scare her) and then by the exploits of a not quite dead telekinetic pervert who has just been laid to rest there.

Tom McLoughlin (Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives) directed One Dark Night. He does a fairly good job of creating an entertaining and somewhat atmospheric horror film on a limited budget. The film is far from perfect but it’s not to be discarded. There is plenty of merit to be found within this all-but-forgotten 1983 feature.

The acting is over the top. Meg Tilly turns in one of the better performances of the bunch as Julie. Chronic over actor Adam West is surprisingly somewhat reserved in his role. West plays the son in law of the telekinetic pervert. Robin Evans is delightfully excessive as Carol. And Leslie Speights is especially memorable as Kitty (who always has a toothbrush in her mouth because she likes the way it tastes).

There is ample dialogue that will undoubtedly stand out to viewers. However, none will be quite as noteworthy as Carol telling Leslie “I want to get there before they close, nerdle brain.” The film is peppered with lots of ridiculous but simultaneously hilarious exchanges.

The effects in One Dark Night are dated by today’s standards. But for 1983, they aren’t all bad. It is nostalgia invoking to look back at the techniques that were commonplace in low-budget filmmaking at that time. The film uses stop motion and other antiquated techniques to create the effects that are used in the final act. In the finale, Julie is pitted against reanimated corpses and a variety of other obstacles. All of the effects in the finale are fairly well done for the time they were created but do show their age after all these years.

I was a bit surprised to learn that One Dark Night slid by with a PG-rating. But since it was rated prior to the addition of the PG-13 classification and doesn’t quite necessitate an R-rating, it makes sense. There is some side breast and there are plenty of potentially frightening special effects. But there is very little, if any, actual stage blood shed. Also, there is not a lot of uncouth language in the film.

If you are a horror movie collector, One Dark Night is worth picking up. It is often overlooked but it possesses a certain charm that is hard to deny.

WICKED RATING: 6/10

Director(s): Tom McLoughlin
Writer(s): Michael Hawes, Tom McLoughlin
Stars: Meg Tilley, Elizabeth Daly, Robin Evans, Leslie Speights,  Adam West
Year: 1983
Studio/ Production Co: ComWorld Pictures
Budget: Unknown
Language: English
Length: 94 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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