One Dark Night gets a Blu-ray from the MVD Rewind Collection. The film was previously released by Code Red and now more people are going to get a chance to see it. For some reason, the collectors just dominate the Code Red releases from a few years ago. While it makes these films scarce, I appreciate seeing other outlets take a second attempt at bringing these movies to a new audience. What I wonder is if the new audiences are ready for them?
Director Tom McLoughlin has been in Hollywood making movies for ages. While famous among horror nerds for playing the monster in The Prophecy, most know him from directing Jason Lives. What’s insane about One Dark Night is how much it struggled to even get released. Shot before Poltergeist, it would be delayed until way after that film released. The studio that ultimately released One Dark Night didn’t know how to market it.
By that time, McLoughlin had lost control of the movie and his original ending was cut from the film. It’s a tale as old as time and horror always gets the short end of the stick. The more I watch One Dark Night, I don’t know if I can poo poo the decision one way or the other. What kills me is how it takes an hour for the film to get going. I love vintage E.G. Daily as much as the next guy, but there is just so much setup for a quick resolution.
Psychic vampires aren’t naturally scary. But, they are such a late 70s/early 80s film villain. You get to do some spectacle and makeup. Plus, it gets to evoke a classic era. The sticking point is that you have something that feels sexual, intellectual and doesn’t hold up to a great deal of scrutiny. Is it just me or does Adam West and the lady from the start of the film feel superfluous?
I get setting up Raymar as this great villain whose evil has been happening for awhile, but there were better ways for One Dark Night to arrive at that point. But, that’s just me and how I would have approached the material. Meg Tilly does amazing work throughout the movie and holds the focus in a way that few others in the cast ever matched. Hell, she also seems as sleepy as Ratcatcher II. See, what I did there? I worked in a comic book movie thing to keep you reading.
What’s crazy is that One Dark Night was shot before Poltergeist. This softer nature horror film designed to rely on ghosts and hauntings and all that stuff feels smarter than a lot of Poltergeist. Then, it doesn’t. From the special features, it was implied that the creative talent wanted to go for a modern horror film that felt like a Poe tale. While the atmosphere and environment is correct, something is missing. I appreciate how odd horror got with its monsters at this point in time.
It’s just that psychic vampires don’t exactly play well on film. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but you have a villain that has to keep charging up and that takes time. Then, he uses telekinesis to work some sort of necromancy? While staying vague enough to be scary, it just feels so hokey at times.
MVD brings One Dark Night to Blu-ray with a slightly different package than the prior Blu-ray from Code Red. You get a poster included with the film, but the big deal special feature is the workprint version. While it might only be in standard definition, it helps to see McLoughlin’s original vision.
What’s crazy about the MVD Blu-ray is that I think the Code Red Blu-ray had the better 1080p transfer. I’m not sure how that is possible, as I don’t know how many HD masters of One Dark Night exist. You get all of the special features from that last release. Hell, I think the commentary dates itself to 2017 twice. Oh well, I’d still recommend this one to fans of 80s horror.