Saturday, October 9, 2021

Midnight – Severin Films (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1982
Director: John A. Russo
Writer: John A. Russo
Cast: Melanie Verlin, Lawrence Tierney, John Hall, C. Anthony Jackson, Charles Jackson, Doris Hackney, Bob Johnson, Lachele Carl, David Marchick, Greg Besnak, John Amplas

Release Date: September 28th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 93 Minutes 56 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVCC
Rating: R
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $34.95

"Fleeing her pervy alcoholic stepfather (Lawrence Tierney of RESERVOIR DOGS infamy), a hitchhiking teen (Melanie Verlin) is abducted by a family of crazed homicidal rednecks for an ordeal of graphic butchery, shag carpet and devil worship." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.25/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned in 4K from the negative of the long-rumored uncut version."

Midnight comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44.5 GB

Feature: 29.4 GB

This is a solid transfer that’s vastly superior to Midnight’s other home video releases. Colors and image clarity look very good, black levels look solid and this transfer retains an organic look.

Audio: 4/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. The DTS-HD 5.1 opens up the mix by spreading out the score/ambient sounds in the rear channels. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. 

Extras:

Extras for this release include a trailer for Midnight (3 minutes 33 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), a radio spot for Midnight (1 minute, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), alternate title card for Backwoods Massacre (15 seconds, Dolby Digital mono), an interview with SFX artist Tom Savini titled Small Favors (8 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor John Amplas titled The Midnight Killer  (10 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with producer Samuel M. Sherman titled Producing Midnight (10 minutes 25 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with screenwriter/director John A. Russo titled Making Midnight (22 minutes 44 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an isolated score track that features audio commentary with composer Mike Mazzei.

Summary:

John A. Russo wrote and directed Midnight. He's most known for co-writing Night of the Living Dead’s screenplay with George A. Romero. And though Midnight was a low-budget film like Night of the Living Dead. The results are two films that couldn’t be farther apart.

The thing that immediately grabs you when watching Midnight is how many elements can-be traced to other films. The family performing satanic rituals in Midnight is reminiscent of psychotic families in films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. And there’s a moment in the finale that is a clear nod to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. 

Though Midnight has most of the elements that are synonymous with backwoods horror cinema. After a brutal opening sequence, there is a long stretch of mundane moments where little happens before the blood starts to flow again in the finale. 

From a production standpoint, Midnight does a good job managing its anemic resources. Unfortunately, the premise covers familiar ground and the narrative has too many lulls. That said, when it comes to the kills scenes and special effects, these are two areas where Midnight excels.

Midnight makes its way to Blu-ray via an excellent release from Severin Films that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful content. 








Written by Michael Den Boer

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