Night of Horror (1981)

Article 5069 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-3-2016
Directed by Tony Malanowski
Featuring Steve Sandkuhler, Gae Schmitt, Rebecca Bach
Country: USA
What it is: How low can your budget go in Baltimore?

Four travelers get stranded. They encounter ghosts from the Civil War that ask a favor.

According to IMDB, the estimated budget for this movie was about four thousand dollars. And, if you assume that the Civil War footage that takes up about ten minutes of the screen time is stock footage (I’m guessing it’s from a Civil War reconstruction event of some kind), then, yes, I’d say that’s about how much it looks went into this movie. The movie is horrid, and it’s not necessarily due to the low budget; the opening scene of the movie is a ten-minute conversation between two men at a bar in which both of the characters spend most of the time with their backs to the viewer is a good example of a bad directorial choice that has nothing to do with budget. The script is another problem; there’s about five minutes of story here with a running time of fifteen times that, so most of the movie involves trying to pad things out. So we get fifteen minutes of framing story (the two guys talking at the bar), lots of scenes of an RV tooling around, several other static conversation scenes, the arbitrary aforementioned Civil War footage, and, by having the ghosts speaking in halting, hard-to-hear distorted voices, it manages to make them take twenty minutes to explain what could be easily managed in thirty seconds. In style, the movie reminds me of MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE, but it even lacks that movie’s unsettling qualities; this one just drones on to no good effect. Quite frankly, this is one of the dullest stretches of celluloid that I’ve had the misfortune to negotiate in some time.


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