Night Life (1989)

Article 2127 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-11-2007
Posting Date: 6-9-2007
Directed by David Acomba
Featuring Scott Grimes, John Astin, Cheryl Pollak

A student who works in a mortuary to raise money for college is tormented by the other teens in his class. When four of his detractors die in an auto accident, they are resurrected by being struck by lightning, and they set out to kill the student.

Thanks to a late additions section in the John Stanley guide I’m using as one of my sources, I find myself once again taking an unexpected leap in time to the late eighties. I think this one is supposed to be a horror comedy. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be horror, what with zombies and gross-out scenes. I’m not so sure about the comedy part; it has several scenes which strike me as if they’re supposed to be funny, but they fall so flat in this regard that I’m not sure whether they were intended that way or not (a scene involving a practical joke with a fat woman’s corpse is a particularly noteworthy example of promised laughs not manifesting themselves). The horror falls fairly flat as well; there’s not a single jolt or surprise in the movie. Scott Grimes is likable enough in the lead role, but after a while watching him get dumped on repeatedly gets fairly depressing. The scenes of corpse preparation are intentionally gross, but I don’t think they’re as fun or funny as they were intended to be. For me, the most interesting thing about the movie is the presence of a few odd faces; John Astin (“The Addams Family”) is a bad-tempered undertaker, Anthony Geary (“General Hospital”) is a seedy race car driver, and Phil Proctor (of The Firesign Theater) plays a visitor to the mortuary. Also, I want to take a moment at this point in the proceedings to mention something; I’ve only seen a very small handful of movies from this era so far, but I’m officially tired of what seems to be one of the most common causes of death in horror movies of the eighties – the 180-degree neck twist. I’ve seen it too often already, and I have a feeling that I’ve only just begun.



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