Exorcism at Midnight (1966)

aka Naked Evil
Article 2618 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-5-2008
Posting Date: 10-13-2008
Directed by Stanley Goulder
Featuring Basil Dignam, Anthony Ainley, Suzanne Neve
Country: UK

An Obeah-man is terrorizing students and staff at a hostel.

So, it’s 1973, and you want to cash in on THE EXORCIST, and you found a 1966 British movie that features an exorcism at one point in the proceedings. There’s only one problem; the movie you found is in black-and-white, which means that it probably won’t go over very well to an audience expecting color. So, what do you do? You take a tip from Al Adamson, who did the same thing when he edited footage from a black-and-white movie into VAMPIRE MEN OF THE LOST PLANET; you invent a process called “Spectrum X”, and you tint all the black-and-white scenes various colors. Then, you shoot extra color footage to bookend the old footage. With this kind of history, you can understand why I went into this one with the idea that I was about to see a stinker of the first order. Well, it’s nowhere near that bad. Oh, the movie is muddled enough, but the presence of several Jamaican characters and the presentation of the details of Jamaican voodoo (called Obeah) give the movie a unique flavor and an undeniable atmosphere, even seen through the tinting. The new footage doesn’t really add anything to the proceedings, but it’s competently acted and not an embarrassment. It’s also strangely old-fashioned; despite the drug and exorcism subplots, it sometimes feels a bit like an old dark house mystery, and I ended up not being surprised that the movie was based on a stage play. Still, I should point out that, given that this is the second movie in a row in which the alternate title includes the word “naked”, that this one has no nudity whatsoever.


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