I have been waiting to watch The Midnight Hour since I first read about it in April of 2018. I have been patient. I have been waiting. But finally we are here, which means only one thing: it’s Made-for-TV March, kids!
Made-for-TV March is one of my favourite times of the year. These made-for-TV gems are always unusual and many of them stick with me in ways that many theatrically-released films do not.
The Midnight Hour is no exception. This campy, 80’s movie is pretty by-the-books, but it has such a fun, wacky atmosphere that it more than makes up for it.
In the town of Kingston Falls/Hill Valley, a group of teenagers get prepared to celebrate Halloween. Their town has a history of witches and witch hunters alike, many of their descendants still living in the town.
One of those descendants is Phil (Lee Montgomery), a “nerd” who is clearly only ‘not-hot’ because they put him in glasses. He pines after girls who ignore him. And his friends make fun of him behind his back. So when they suggest stealing clothes from the local history museum, Phil reluctantly goes along.
After raiding the museum, the kids head to the cemetery to look at the loot that they stole from the museum’s archives. They find a scroll inside a stolen chest. It has a wax seal, but they kids quickly open it up anyway. When Phil’s friend Melissa reads it aloud, they think it’s all fun. But unbeknownst to them, Melissa manages to raise the dead in the town.
The group all gather at Melissa’s house for a Halloween costume party. But there are a number of extra guests attending including many zombies and Melissa’s ancestor, Lucinda.
Lucinda was the original Bad Witch of the town. She cursed the town years ago, only to have her plans foiled by Phil’s ancestor, a witch hunter. But this Halloween, Lucinda isn’t up for playing any games. But she DOES have the time for a good dance number with Melissa.
Phil ends up leaving the party when it becomes a bit of a drag. He begins to head home, but catches the eye of a young woman in a 50s cheerleading outfit. The two quickly strike up a friendship. They even get attacked by a werewolf during a make-out session! But Sandy isn’t all she appears to be.
Meanwhile, at the party, Lucinda turns Melissa into a vampire. Melissa then proceeds to turn the entire party into ghouls.
Sandy, when she realises what Phil and his idiot friends have done, tells Phil that they need to break the curse before midnight. If they fail, Lucinda’s curse will become permanent – including the “changes” made to Phil’s friends. They work together to get the pieces together before midnight, but can they really save the town from its Halloween nightmare?
I mean, of course they do! There’s really no doubt about it.
The Midnight Hour has many of the hallmarks of an 80s movie: the intense 50s/60s inspiration, the pointless (but enjoyable) musical number, the unrealistic car choices for teens. It evokes many similar feelings to movies like The Monster Squad. You really know what you’re getting into with this one, but just because there are no surprises doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. Because it is.
Also, it’s got a pretty solid cast. Hello, LeVar Burton!
This is definitely a good one to add to your annual Halloween viewings. It might be March, but it’s never too early to plan, right?