If you can read this you're too close
“If you can read this sign then you’re too close.”

I have one question. When did magicians get so lame? Case in point, David “I am blander than a rice cake” Blaine’s recent stunt on national TV with his Dive of Death. I believe this will go down in history as the most un-entertaining thing since the invention of CSPAN. Blaine is known for his endurance stunts of living in igloos, catching bullets in his mouth and agitating street patrons with lame card tricks and his depressive demeanor but this time he took his annoyance to new heights with this live televised stunt. Hanging himself upside down for days from a 7 story pole in New York facing the ever threat of death or in his case, fame obscurity, and would supposedly end in a terrifying plummet to the ground. In reality he was in a secure safety harness, took frequent coffee  & pee breaks, and bunged slowly towards the ground before being lifted in the air by a crane like a maniac-depressive peter pan. All the while an apathetic New york crowd watched from below who I suspect  if they would have found some sticks would have made him into a human piñata. “I got your abracadabra for you right here Davie Boy.” Now that would have been some must see TV.

No, non for me thanks. I ate a whole Cheerio and I\'m stuffed.I think David should go back to some street magic, maybe try reading a few people’s minds and absorb their psychic energy much like the electrifying Raymar in “One Dark Night.” Raymar is a recently deceased psychic that used his magic to decoratively arrange food utensils on his apartment walls and soak up some student’s brain energy. He unfortunately overdosed during a brain juice binge the night before with some co-eds shorting himself out permanently. Later at his funeral his estranged and just as boney looking daughter Olivia shows up. It turns out she may have inherited some of that psychic power when she has vague premonitions of the future through some montage visions or she was just hallucinating from lack of nutrition. She’ll probably just end up using her new powers for writing fortune cookies, doing weather forecasts, or predicting trivial things like “You’re going to have lunch,…it’ll be seafood but the shrimp will be bad.” or in her case “You’re going to end up in a schlocky 80’s movie.”

Hope your wait wasn't too long at the DMV.Her husband Allan played by Adam West can’t seem to find his bat pole anywhere to get out of this film and spends most of the time trying to convince her that all that magic mumbo-jumbo is just in her head. An Andy Warhol albino in a turtle neck shows up to tell her otherwise and gives her a book on tape that warns of Raymar’s evil telekinetic powers and his possible return from the grave. She obsessively listens to it over and over again while poor Allan can only drown his misery in whiskey obviously still fuming over Michael Keaton getting picked over him.

Meanwhile in what appears to be an entirely separate film, a young pre-breast enhanced Meg Tilly plays the nerdy girl Julie Wells who wants to break out of her goody two shoes stereotype. Julie’s dimwitted plan is to join the local girl gang “The sisters” so she too can get a shiny purple jacket and have her hair feathered even higher than gravity allows. I’m not sure a gang of 3 girls  really deserve their own embroidered jackets, bowling leagues are bigger than that and much more deserving their garments of cool.

Mama always said I had a sparkle in my eyes

Carol (Robin Evans), the queen of the shiny coat wenches convinces her to join only if she stays alone a whole night in the Mausoleum where Raymar’s body is kept. So Julie armed with only a sleeping bag, a flashlight and some Quaaludes, explores the endless casket filled hallways for the night. Meanwhile the other girls plot to sneak in and dress up as retirement home escapees to try to scare her. Their obvious lack of showmanship upsets the spirit of Raymar who starts breaking free from his entombed prison throwing around flower vases and moving around furniture with his psychic powers. He’s a sort of  malevolent interior decorator from beyond the grave.

Soon his brain power grows to the point that the tombs burst open and he can prop himself up while levitating dead bodies with his mind. It sounds a lot scarier than it looks  though as the rotting bodies float awkwardly around like they’re on magic coat hangers in a laundry shop. With a back field blitz they pile up on the pranking co-eds smothering them until they can’t breath. It’s a death by dry cleaning.

Julie’s boyfriend, Steve, finally shows up just in time to save her from a Raymar brain drain but then has his butt handed to him by another bunch of muppet zombies that knock him unconscious. Rotting Raymar tries again to get a jump start off Julie’s brain…but I think we all know that battery was running a bit low. There’s a showdown with his bone skinny sister who suddenly swoops in to try save the day using her natural ability to blend in with the undead to her advantage. Steve Just lies there like a slug, it’s his only defense.

Writer/Director Tom McLoughlin of Friday the13th part 6 fame did an admirable job with a very simple premise and one that taps our deepest fear of graveyards, mausoleums and dry cleaners. Also noteworthy is Tom Burman who did the gruesome special effects in this little PG-rated fright flick and he definitely showed his chops with some realistic gooey corpses.  Retroman says check it out for a few good creeps and always be sure to have your corpses professionally cleaned, pressed and folded before packing them for overnight trips.

– Multiple dead bodies
– Utensil-fu
– Obsessive toothcare
– Exploding mausoleums
– Undead puppeteers
– Electric eyeballs
– Fondu faced corpses
– Gratuitous use of Adam West
– Crypt-a-glow night lights

Rated 8.4 out of 10

Check out the trailer for One Dark Night