United States - 1979
Dir. – John “Bud” Cardos
Media Home Entertainment, VHS, 1982
I bought this movie probably eight months ago. Somehow I knew it was one of those ones, one of the, damn... Somehow my aversion was foreknowledge. After I find some movies, I don’t watch them for a while, 3 months, 6, a year. Some it’s because the film holds no interest for me, I know I need to save it, but not watch it. Others, I have to see, but I have an aversion. I know something is going to be wrong. The Dark is one of the latter, clearly though, I watched it. What made me pick it up was William Devane’s (Rolling Thunder) name. My friend Daniel told me stay away because the director had a “quoted” nickname. I told me to stay away because the cover/poster looked too expansive, like it couldn't help but overstate the contents.
My first impression is that the neo-gothic doomsday narration at the beginning is a bad sign. My second, after the monster talk and a quick kill, is that this is a Slithis rip-off with a psychic. I hate movies with psychics, they are never good. There may have been a point in the 70’s/80’s when psychics were heavy business, but really, they’re just a joke or a pre-CSI syndicated afternoon soap-cop-era. Too bad this movie was made in the middle of the psychic era, crap.
DeVane is an ex-con horror novel writer whose daughter happens to be the first victim of the beastie. The detectives on the case are a donut-eating old man cartoon, and a tough as nails cynic, the same fellow who put DeVane away for murder (this is mentioned as an afterthought). Meanwhile, a sexy female TV journalist asserts her feminism by insisting on covering the story, and making mattress friskies with DeVane. Bad sign.
Each time the monster is about to attack someone with the ridiculous lasers it shoots from it’s eyes, a chorus of reverbed voices on the audio track begins whispering “oscurita” which I guess is supposed to be where the movie got its name or something.
DeVane, in aviators, a headband and a Corvette, starts tracking the monster through his association with the psychic and a cocaine party on a yacht. With the help of the reporter chick this is accomplished using a montage. With the help of a lot of dumb dialogue, we know now that this is a boring 70’s monster movie that’s trying ever so hard to be suspenseful, despite it’s lame updated cross of gothic horror and sci-fi.
Finally in the last “climactic” scenes, the big reveal occurs, and we see the monster. Now I know where they came up with the Leprechaun makeup, thankfully they dramatically improved on it. This guy just looks like a big friendly renaissance–fair troll.
The original poster art, the version on the VHS box at the top is probably better but I'm including this for posterity or whatever.
A triple feature DVD from Shriek Show, and you can get a DVD with the poster art for the cover, but I wouldn't recommend it.