'One Dark Night' (1983) Movie Review

One Dark Night
by Chris Wright

This is one low budget movie that packs the suspenseful punch. “One Dark Night” is a cult classic that has been forgotten by many. If you are looking for gore, this is not your movie. Director Tom McLoughlin (better known for Friday the 13th Part VI) puts together this low budget spook fest right where we hate to be stuck at night… in the mausoleum! First released by HBO/Thorn EMI video in the early 1980s, you’d be pleasantly surprised at how creepy this movie is.

The plot of the movie is twofold. A man obsessed with the powers of telekinesis is found dead with several other murdered women in his apartment. It turns out he is the father of a local woman, who has been having estranged nightmares of the man. Olivia’s boyfriend Allen with a skeptical tone offers no help when a man by the name of Samuel Dockstader insists on talking to her. He informs her that he knew her father and described him as a “psychic vampire.” Karl Raymarseivich Raymar went so far as to literally suck the life right out of them. He leaves soon after giving Olivia an audio tape describing the occult practices of her father Karl Raymar, to which she believes. What they don’t know is that dying was part of Karl’s plan and he has been entombed in a local mausoleum.

While all of this is going on, we have the typical 80s high school drama. A young girl named Julie wants to be a part of a sorority of sisters including Carol, Leslie, and Kitty. Carol wants to use this initiation to get back at the fact that Julie now dates Steve, Carol’s former boyfriend. What better way to get back at Steve than having Julie’s initiation at a dark mausoleum at night alone! The three sisters go one sister down as Leslie backs out having second thoughts on scaring Julie to death. During their trip to the Mausoleum, Olivia back at home is having visions of what will happen to the girls and eventually musters the courage to try to take her father down. The high school drama part of the movie is where it lags some but the occult and mausoleum portions of the movie are solid for low budget.

While in the mausoleum, the two twisted sisters get their creep on to scare Julia. Unfortunately for them, Raymar’s corpse is getting more pissed by the minute to creating real scares inside the dark corpse infested building. Carol, in all her cocky glory, refuses to believe any of this until a corpse literally rises out of a coffin after exploding out. What makes the last 20 minutes so creepy as the corpses look very realistic.

A bunch of dead bodies gliding across the floor done in the creepiest ways possible in the latter half of this movie. Raymar re-animated them with his mind and goes after Carol and Kitty. Minutes prior, Steve finds Leslie on the road only to discover where his girlfriend Julie is. Steve arrives to the mausoleum only to find a terrified Julie with dead corpses on hand! Raymar drags Julie through his mind over to drain her only to be stopped in his tracks by his living daughter Olivia. The ending seems a tad anti-climatic but it works.

One Dark Night” is by no means a work of art but for what it is worth, it’s a solid movie with a cult following. If you are lucky enough to find a cheap copy of the movie, pick it up! The last 20 minutes of real-like corpses is enough to wake up the easily scared. This movie has a 5.5 on IMDB. Shockingly, the villain didn’t have one speaking part throughout this whole movie. The acting is not terrible and gets the job done. This movie deserves more recognition than what it gets.

Directed By: Tom McLoughlin
Written By: Tom McLoughlin & Michael Hawes

Starring: Meg Tilly (Julie), Melissa Newman (Olivia), Robin Evans (Carol), Leslie Speights (Kitty), Donald Hotton (Samuel Dockstader), Elizabeth Daily (Leslie), David Daniels (Steve)

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