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cult classic alone in the dark (1982)
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Donald Pleasance, Martin Landau and Dwight Schulz in “Alone in The Dark”

“Alone in The Dark” is a terrifying cult classic from 1982. For those reading that haven’t watched it and made a connection to the video game that originated the survival horror genre, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but this movie doesn’t have anything to do with that game.

Gross generalization: this movie is like “Visiting Hours” meets “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”.

The ones who made the game stole from H.P. Lovecraft and lifted the name from this movie. That game held a candle to neither this movie nor Lovecraft, not even when that game was released, back in 1992.

A new doctor arrives in a new town with family, to work on local nuthouse, the Haven Sanitarium.

Some of the loonies in there don’t like that they were abandoned by the previous doctor and somewhat resent the new one. The new doctor, being nice to everyone tries to emotionally support them, but things don’t work as expected in the end.

My favorite character in this movie was Elizabeth Ward, playing as the daughter of doctor Potter. She was the comic relief and some of the lines were too hilarious.

cult classic alone in the dark (1982)
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Elizabeth Ward as Lyla Potter with Fatty (Erlan Van Lidth)

Oh, the irony that’s in this movie! Because Dwight Schulz, Murdock from the A-Team, plays the lead doctor. Other than that, we have two greatest horror feats: Donald Pleasance again as a doctor in a dark movie, and Jack Palance as the most reasonable of all the madmen.

I loved this movie. I personally think it’s a cult classic to watch in the fall or winter very late at night.

I don’t know if others would be able to perceive this movie the way I did, but it has a subtle feeling that I find in a lot of old movies.

Maybe it’s the feel of the time, but I find this feeling in a lot of thriller and horror movies from the early 1970s to early 1980s that I love and I think it’s very appropriate for horrors, mysteries, and thrillers.

The main attraction for many watchers of this move would be the blackout episode. I thought it was going to be the greatest part of the movie, but for me, it was kind of underwhelming.

I thought it was going to be a more cramped, claustrophobic, and threatening situation, but even if what happens during it is fun to watch, it wasn’t what I expected.

cult classic alone in the dark (1982)
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Frank Hawkes (Jack Palance) is accosted by a punkette in a punk rock venue

The merits of this movie are well spread all through it, and it’s a very balanced and entertaining movie in most regards.

I liked that this film included several scenes in a punk rock environment. It even includes parts of a recital of a real NYC punk act, The Sic F*cks. I’m not a record collector or specialist in punk music, bands like this one are as rare to me as saying The Plugs or The Skulls from Los Angeles.

The moral theme of this cult classic is very explicit: persons with mental problems shouldn’t be called names, like loony, nutcase, or psychopath; like the newsman in one scene calls them and is corrected.

If you want to see an alternate, pot-smoking personality of doctor Loomis, Martin Landau as a switchblade-addled maniac or Jack Palance delivering one of the best lines I have ever listened to in the climax of a horror movie’s ending, by all means, watch it.

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If you think watching how a little girl is vulnerable during a blackout with a sanitarium’s worth of mental patients on the loose, and some of them being extremely dangerous with fixated ideas like burning churches or raping little girls might be depressing, triggering or upsetting, then don’t watch it.

Do you know any Other Deeply Enjoyable Horror Cult Classic like “Alone in The Dark”?

It is not that easy to find a horror cult classic with a cast like “Alone in The Dark”, and as fun to watch as this movie is. Do you know a similar horror cult classic that you could recommend? Please use the comments section below, thanks.

© Bholenath Valsan 2020-2021 — “Alone in The Dark” Review – Best Horror Cult Classics


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