‘Keep telling yourself – it’s only a nightmare!’
Midnight – re-released as The Backwoods Massacre – is a 1982 American feature film written and directed by Night of the Living Dead co-writer John Russo.
The movie was shot on location in rural Pennsylvania for a mere $71,000 and stars Melanie Verlin who would also feature in George A. Romero‘s Monkey Shines as Nancy, and Martin lead actor John Amplas as Abrahan. The film was produced by Donald Redinger and features makeup effects by Tom Savini.
Nancy is alone on the road, hitchhiking to California, away from the clutches of her sleazy stepfather. She makes friends with a pair of petty crooks on a road trip, and things take a turn for the worse when they are killed by a pair of backwoods ‘cops’. Nancy is then in danger of being sacrificed to Satan himself by the wayward lawmen and their twisted siblings, in a psychotic attempt to resurrect their mother’s decomposed corpse…
‘The narrative is constantly shifting gears which makes the film pleasantly unpredictable: it begins as a dysfunctional family drama and touches upon religion, the corruption of innocence, and authoritative hypocrisy; then it becomes a coming-of-age road movie about the generation gap and racial bigotry; and eventually descends into a grimy rural horror story…’ Christopher O’Neill, 10k Bullets
‘The film successfully conjures up an atmosphere of dreary and sleazy desolation, but this isn’t enough to save such a stupid film from the trash compactor.’ Shaun Anderson, The Celluloid Highway
” …crass, junky, and deeply uninterested in appealing to any sort of human logic or moral compass—and that’s fine. It would perhaps be more fine with a more inventive, imaginative hand at the wheel, though, since Russo’s stodgy, lethargic direction renders the schlocky climax into a bit of a bore.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!
“Russo makes the most of the bleak settings and the redneck style works well, but the narrative is driven by overlong, hammy expositions rather than action. There’s also little insight into the psychosis of the killer family other than the corpse of the mother held at blame, sis taking control, and why their sacrifices are exclusively teenage girls.” Vegan Voorhees
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