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Everybody has to deal with fear. There’s the fear of snakes, fear of fire or dark places, and more people are more afraid of public speaking than actually dying. Strange how someone would rather be the person in the casket than the one delivering the eulogy, but there are a few lesser known phobias that are just as terrorizing. One such condition is Arachibutyrophobia, the overwhelming fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth and causing instantaneous death. There’s also Mulletphobia the fear of mullets and hockey hair. It’s a phobia approaching epidemic levels in certain parts of Canada. Some people also sufferer from Bananaphobia and won’t even be in the same room as the menacing yellow fruit referring to it as the “Devil’s Snack Food.” To them eating a bowl of fruit salad would be a dance with death.
Unfortunately there’s no help for me and my rare condition. I suffer from LaBeoufophobia…….it’s the irrational fear of the actor Shia LaBeouf. Ever since I saw Transformers the guy just gives me the creeps. He’s like a tiny man stuck in a teen body with facial hair and the mere thought of seeing his giant man-boy face on a 30ft screen makes me want to curl up in the fetal position. Even actors that have French sounding names make me feel queasy.
I’ve taken precautionary measures though, so as not to trigger an all out Shia-attack. I avoid all movies starring giant talking robots. I steer clear of McDonald’s Playlands for fear a tiny Shia is hiding in in the ball pit. He’s well under their height requirement and has ninja like hiding skills. I’ve also put away all my vintage transformer toys into secure boxes for fear they will report back telepathically to Shia with my location and activities. So take heed my b-movie fans, the LaBeouf walks among us and he’s hungry searching for souls to steal. Only then can he remain perpetually 15 years old and still make movies with Megan Fox. It’s the perks of his deal with the Devil or as the unknowing public refer to him as “Michael Bay.”
Speaking of dealing with phobias. Allison (Jillian McWhirter) just signed up for a class in fear headed up by professor tall dark and creepy. After “pissing off” a frat guy by playing some Russian roulette, and threatening campus wide keg bans, Professor Derek pulls an Elvis and fakes everyone out with a staged suicide. This gets the college board of trustees’ undies in a bunch and they force him to conduct private classes in his home as punishment. Allison and her friend Cheryl along with a few others college kids who can’t find a kegger head to his house for some private tutoring. While I was holding out for virgin sacrifices or blood orgies for the extra credit, instead they get to sit around and tell scary campfire stories.
The first story told revolves around a couple out for a birthday celebration that decide to take the scenic route home only to get the inevitable flat tire in front of the spooky mansion. Seems that always happens in horror films. Car warranties should really cover drive by hauntings. They decide its safer to go into the house where there had been a vicious murdering spree rather than wait for a tow truck. The wife disappears upstairs, and the husband who has all the kahunas of a Don Knots starts freaking out, and sword swinging at anything that moves. Sufficient to say heads roll and the birthday bash ends on a big bummer. But hey at least he won’t have to deal with marriage counseling anymore plus he still gets cake.
After the tale of birthday beheadings we get stuck with a story about a bunch of whiny teen girls who haven’t discovered texting or the internet yet. They instead head out for a night of downtown clubbing in their 84′ Chrylser LeBaron. While trying to find a club that allows high school girls dressed like hookers, they get held hostage at an abandoned Gas n’ Go by some guard dogs, and a bum who looks a lot like Tommy Chong. Completely out of their weed stash the girls escape in their “teenmobile” which can easily achieve top speeds in the low twenties. It gives the bum plenty of time to hitch a ride on their roof to go get some snacks for his munchies. Fortunately, the girls innate driving skills slam them into a parked car sending the bum through the windshield like a test crash dummy. The relief that they’ve helped with downtown vagrancy is short lived though as the hungry guard hounds show up and turn one of the panicked girls into a doggie chew toy. The rest of them see that as the perfect time to get away but actually run out of gas, and have to hoof it to an abandoned warehouse instead. In the final standoff of lame they try to outsmart the hungry hounds in a battle of wits and hide and seek. It’s hard not to root for the dogs at that point.
The third and final story is about a pre-CSI Marg Helgenberger who plays Alex. She’s works at a late night call center hoping around on crutches because apparently nobody had invented message machines in the 80’s. She starts getting crank calls from a psycho with a fetish for heavy breathing, and phone cord strangling who just offed one of her only customers. Alex’s mild apathy grows to terrified victim mentality as the psycho easily takes out her best friend, and uses her as a elevator door stop. Alex starts frantically hopping around knocking out incandescent light bulbs like some sort of photo sensitive jack terrier, and winds up falling down the stair well and impaling a security guard with a wood stake. This eventually leads to a showdown back in the main office. It’s all just an obvious assassination attempt from the phone recording machine industry. AT&T workers probably tell this story to their kids at night.
Back in reality the college kids are now all effectively creeped out and cranked up on caffeine, and Jujubees. A power blackout forces the professor to “check the fuses” in the basement where he gets strung up like a Piñata, and is about to get flame-broiled by the frat boy he had humiliated earlier. But things go sour as frat guy chickens out, and Edward emerges from the flames as an evil skeleton with a hankering for chopping on Greek pledges. Amongst the fiery chaos Allison ditches her friends, and high tails out of the house across multiple movie sets of all the previous stories while professor “Skeletor” is in hot pursuit with an axe to grind. Yeah it started getting a bit weird around then.
“After Midnight” is not one the scarier films to come out during the anthology band wagon of “Creepshow”, and Tales form the “Darkside” but it’s still a pretty entertaining ride. Hard to believe this movie was directed by the same guy that made the Ewoks film.
Retroman Steve says check it out, and never trust a professor who wants you to stop by his place for some “extra credit work.” They inevitably turn into blood thirsty undead skeletons that will try to steal your soul. It’s all right there in the fine print of your syllabus on page 24.
I believe Shia LaBeouf roughly translated in the ancient french dialect means “Hungry Like the Wolf” or “Shy of the Beef.”
Check out the trailer for After Midnight