Welcome to 31 Days of ’80s Horror boys and ghouls! Each day in October I’ll be posting about a horror film from the 1980s, some of which you may have heard of, others may be a little more obscure. This is the month to celebrate all things spooky so I wanted to present some films from my favorite era of the horror genre. I hope you enjoy the column and discover some new ’80s horror flicks to watch, or rewatch, whatever the case may be. I know I’ll be checking out some of these ghastly tales myself since I’ve come across a few that even I’ve never heard of! So on with the horror! On with the terror! On with the ’80s!
Alone in the Dark
At a secluded mental institution, Dr. Leo Bain maintains order while electricity fuels the asylum’s hi-tech security system that keeps the nearby neighborhoods safe from menaces of disturbed individuals. A new doctor, Dan Potter, arrives in town with his family, but the inmates don’t take kindly to his presence and believe he has killed off their former therapist. A power outage knocks out the security system and the maniacs are free to roam the streets and hunt down the new doctor they believe to have invaded their lives. With the town quickly descending into riots and chaos, the innocent few must fight for their lives while they’re left terrified, cornered and Alone in the Dark!
This 1982 horror flick features Jack Palance and Martin Landau as two of the four maniacs on the run and genre favorite Donald Pleasance as the off-kilter Dr. Bain. I tend to find Martin Landau a little creepy to begin with so he’s quite effective in playing a disturbed psychopath here. My favorite bit of his is when he wants the hat of a postal worker and runs down the bicycling postman in order to get. “The hat.. I want.. the hat!” Pleasance is fun in a pretty weird role that is undeniably memorable. Special make-up effects legend Tom Savini provides the movie with some fun gore effects, perhaps not as many as a typical slasher film, but enough to appreciate his work. The director of Alone in the Dark, Jack Sholder, went on to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge and an episode of Tales from the Crypt.
How to watch Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark is currently available on DVD. (Buy Alone in the Dark on DVD)
by Ben McBride
To see the other entries in the 31 Days of ’80s Horror column, click here!
Follow Ben on @monsterpopcorn